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Mayor Paul Soglin announced today that Nan Brien and Leslie Ann Howard are the recipients of the 2014 Jeffrey Clay Erlanger Civility in Public Discourse Award.

The award was created by the Common Council to honor Madison residents who exemplify Jeff Erlanger’s model of fairness, openness and civility in public discourse. Jeff, who passed away in 2007, was committed to public service. He understood that through civil debate and effective representation those with varying opinions could come together on how to solve issues within the community. Mr. Erlanger served on the City of Madison’s Economic Development Commission and chaired the Commission on People with Disabilities as well as the Board of Directors of the Community Living Alliance.

"It speaks well of our community that there were so many distinguished candidates nominated for the Jeff Erlanger Award that the committee ended up choosing two of them for recognition this year. We are very grateful to the Mayor and Common Council for continuing to honor civic leaders who exemplify the values and approach that Jeff stood for," said Pam Erlanger

Nan Brien’s professional career has been in the service of our children. She currently works for the Milwaukee, Southern and Western Child Welfare Training Partnerships, where she provides training for county child welfare workers on the effects of child maltreatment. From 1992–2004 Nan worked as the Associate Director of the statewide, nonprofit child advocacy organization, Wisconsin Council on Children and Families, Inc. During her time with the Council Nan directed their early childhood initiative.

Nan’s commitment to the residents of Madison is apparent through her years of dedicated service on numerous boards and committees including: Family Enhancement Board of Directors, Community Shares of Wisconsin Board of Directors, Community Care Incorporated Board of Directors, as well as serving as Board President of the Madison Board of Education for which she received multiple awards. Nan is currently serving on the Grandparents for Madison Public Schools and Eastside Progressives Committees.

Also receiving the 2014 award is Leslie Ann Howard. Leslie is currently the President and Chief Executive Officer of the United Way of Dane County. Her accomplishments with the United Way include growing the company from an annual campaign of $5.5 million to over $18 million, leading the advancement of the United Way of Dane County from a fundraising organization to a community impact organization and collaborating with other organizations to stabilize housing for over 2,000 Dane County Families in 2013.

Leslie was at the forefront of the Schools of Hope Initiative whose focus is closing the racial achievement gap within Madison public schools, and the Journey Home program, which works to provide ex-offenders with the resources that they need to reintegrate into the community successfully. The recidivism rate for Journey Home participants is below 6% in comparison to 19% for those not in the program.

Mayor Soglin said, "These two individuals are clearly outstanding role models, and they demonstrate a civility and civic commitment that is part of what makes our City a great place to live"

The Erlanger Award is an annual recognition and will be presented at the December 2, 2014 Common Council meeting, which is the closest meeting to Jeffrey Erlanger’s birthday of November 30.


  • Katie Crawley, 608-266-4611