Civic Leadership Awards and Scholarships

Bill Kraus Award for Lifetime Achievement in Civic Leadership

In celebration of  our tenth anniversary in 2018, WIPPS established a lifetime achievement award to acknowledge and honor the accomplishments of an individual whose life and work demonstrate the highest qualities of civic leadership.

The WIPPS Advisory Board unanimously decided to honor Bill Kraus, political strategist and co-chair of Common Cause Wisconsin, as the first recipient of the “Bill Kraus Award for Lifetime Achievement in Civic Leadership.” Board members agreed that Bill’s exemplary life should serve as a model and legacy for all future recipients. Bill passed away in December 2018, just eight months after receiving the award. According to the official language of the award:

Kraus Award winners embody the principals of positive change, civil dialogue, civic leadership and commitment to working toward intelligent solutions for the common good of citizens and communities in Wisconsin. WIPPS selects recipients for the award in recognition of an individual who, like the award’s namesake, has performed truly extraordinary service and created a positive and lasting legacy. The award recognizes the entirety of the recipient’s career, rather than a single contribution.

The award is given annually. Nominations are accepted throughout the year, with a deadline of March 1 for the recipient of the current year. Nominations should consist of a letter outlining an individual’s achievements in civic leadership. They may be sent to


WIPPS Young Adult Civic Engagement Award

One $500, non-renewable scholarship will be awarded.
Application deadline March 19

One $500, non-renewable scholarship will be awarded to a young person who demonstrates leadership abilities including initiative, integrity and service to others. The review committee will also be looking for demonstration of a commitment to civic engagement through building relationships throughout the community and working toward positive change.

The scholarship is funded by former Wisconsin Congressman David R. Obey, who served central and northern Wisconsin as a representative from 1969 to 2011. Eligibility for the scholarship requires that the recipient be a resident of or be enrolled in an educational institution located within the district that Congressman Obey served. (See below for specific counties.)

To be considered, the applicant must:

  • Be a college, technical college or university student, aged 18 to 25, either residing in or attending an educational institution within one of the following Wisconsin counties: Ashland, Barron, Bayfield, Burnett, Chippewa, Clark, Douglas, Iron, Langlade, Lincoln, Marathon, Oneida, Polk, Portage, Price, Rusk, Sawyer, Taylor, Washburn, Wood
  • Be enrolled in an associate’s degree or bachelor’s degree program during the 2020-2021 academic year and the 2021-22 academic year
  • Submit an essay of no more than 500 words explaining why they deserve this award
  • Submit a letter of recommendation from an adult (a non-family member)
  • The selected applicant will be asked to submit a school transcript which includes information on coursework during the 2020-2021 academic year, as well as proof of enrollment for fall of 2021

Application deadline is March 19. Apply online by clicking here.
For any questions, email