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The City of Madison invites you to submit nominations for its annual JEFFREY CLAY ERLANGER CIVILITY IN PUBLIC DISCOURSE AWARD. This award honors Jeffrey Clay Erlanger, who was an individual of integrity, passion, intelligence, and civility. Jeff understood that thoughtful and caring people could have very different views on how to best address our community's many complex issues and problems. Jeff, who died on June 10, 2007, spent a significant part of his life committed to public service, focusing on constructive advocacy and civil debate, fairness, openness, and effective representation. He embraced the similarities that unite us.

Our world and our City today are gripped with not only a COVID-19 pandemic but also the aftermath of the murder of George Floyd and other violence against Black residents in our country. Our ability to gather in a safe manner is limited as we try to protect each other and our families from COVID-19. It is even more important this year that we reach out and take a stand, as Jeff did, for civil conversations and lead by example, to show others how to disagree without raised voices, name-calling and open hostility.

Our nation continues to be divided; neighbors, coworkers and even family members do not speak to one another during this politically charged time. This is a wonderful opportunity to honor Jeff’s legacy - the legacy of an individual who worked with others in an honorable and respectful manner regardless of political affiliation, religious belief, age, race, sexual orientation or any of the many other differences that contribute to our growing lack of civility. Over the past several months, we have seen amazing examples of residents of Madison working to bring people together. This award is a way to honor and thank those individuals.

Jeff served on the City of Madison's Economic Development Commission; he was chair of the Commission on People with Disabilities; chair of the Board of Directors of the Community Living Alliance; and ran for the Madison Common Council in 2002. He also held a number of other significant positions in the community. One of his greatest accomplishments was his successful push for the accessible taxicab service in Madison today.

The Jeffrey Clay Erlanger Civility in Public Discourse Award recognizes City of Madison residents who share Jeff Erlanger's dedication to, and passion for, public policy, civility, individual and human rights. The recipient will be an individual who conducts their daily life with these values and who has made a significant impact on the Madison community.

The recipient of the Erlanger Award, and the person who nominated them, will each be able to designate a non-profit charity to receive $250.


  • Nominees must be an adult.
  • Nominees must be residents of the City of Madison whose work, program, project, policy decisions or actions have made a positive contribution to the community and its residents.
  • Nominees must have demonstrated leadership in public advocacy, focusing on constructive civil debate, fairness and openness resulting in effective outcomes in the City of Madison.
  • Nominees must have demonstrated a dedication and commitment to treating people with civility, respect and dignity.
  • Nominees may have been compensated for their work, as long as they exemplify the values represented by the award.
  • Current members of the Common Council, the award committee, City staff and contractors with the City are not eligible to be nominated for this award.

Nominations should contain detailed information regarding the nominee sufficient to allow the award committee to determine that the candidate meets the award criteria. The award committee will not conduct additional research. Nominations must be submitted on the nomination application and returned to:
Mayor’s Office
Attn: Jeffrey Clay Erlanger Award Nomination Committee
210 Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd., Room 403
Madison, WI 53703

Nomination forms may be submitted by e-mail at or via fax at 608-267-8671. Please include "Erlanger Award" in the subject line of email communications.

All nominations must be received no later than November 01, 2020.

Questions or requests for additional application forms should be directed to the Mayor’s Office at 608-266-4611. Information is also available on the City’s website at

A committee to select the award recipient has been appointed by the Mayor and is composed of five (5) individuals, including a member or representative of the Erlanger family; a representative of the Mayor; the Common Council President; and two (2) resident members.

The award is presented annually at a Common Council meeting close to the November 30 birthday of Jeff Erlanger. The 2020 award will be presented on Tuesday, December 1, 2020.


  • Katie Crawley, 608-266-4611
Vision & Awards