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Is Your Organization Eligible?

To be eligible for the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award, your organization must

  1. meet the general and one of the additional conditions described below
  2. meet requirements in one of six eligibility categories (manufacturing, service, small business, education, health care, and nonprofit)

General Eligibility Conditions

Your organization must meet all of these conditions:

  • It is headquartered in the United States. (U.S. subunits of foreign organizations may apply for the award if the subunit is headquartered in the United States. For eligibility purposes, overseas U.S. military installations and embassies don't constitute U.S. territories.)

  • It has existed for at least one year (i.e., at least since April 1, 2014)

  • It can respond to all seven categories of Baldrige Criteria and share information on related practices at the categories at your organization's U.S. facilities and at the Quest for Excellence® Conference.
  • The operational practices associated with all of its major organizational functions are available for examination  in the United States or its territories.

Additional Eligibility Conditions

Your organization must also meet one of the conditions in the first column below to apply for the Baldrige Award.



Yes

No

1. Your organization has won the Baldrige Award (prior to 2010).

 

Your organization is eligible (All Baldrige Award recipients are ineligible to apply for the award again for five years).

 

Continue with statement 2.

 

2. Between 2010 and 2014, your organization applied for the national Baldrige Award, and the total of the process and results band numbers (PDF) assigned in the feedback report was 8 or higher.

Your organization is eligible.

 

Continue with statement 3.

 

3. Between 2010 and 2014, your organization applied for the national Baldrige Award and received a site visit.

Your organization is eligible.

 

Continue with statement 4.

4. Between 2010 and 2014, your organization received the top award from an award program that is a member of the Alliance for Performance Excellence.

Your organization is eligible.

 

Continue with statement 5.

 

5. More than 25% of your organization's workforce is located outside the organization's home state.

Your organization is eligible.

 

Continue with statement 6.

 

6. There is no Alliance for Performance Excellence award program available for your organization.

Your organization is eligible.

 

Continue with statement 7.

 
7. Your organization will submit additional eligibility screening materials (i.e., a complete Organizational Profile and two results measures for each of the five Criteria results items). The Baldrige Program will use the materials to determine if your organization is eligible to apply for the award this year (as described in the Baldrige Eligibility FAQs (MS-Word)).After reviewing the materials, the Baldrige Program will notify your organization of its eligibility status.Call 877-237-9064, option 3.


Eligibility Categories

Eligible organizations fall into six categories:

  • three in business (manufacturing, service, and small business)

  • education

  • health care

  • nonprofit 

Business

Eligible for-profit businesses include publicly or privately owned corporations, joint ventures, sole proprietorships, partnerships, and holding companies.

Manufacturing organizations produce and sell manufactured products or manufacturing processes, or produce agricultural, mining, or construction products.

Service organizations provide or sell services. If your organization is a manufacturer and a service provider, choose your eligibility category based on the activity that provides the larger percentage of your sales.

Small businesses have 500 or fewer paid employees, are engaged in manufacturing and/or the provision of services, and are discrete, independent entities.

Education

Organizations eligible in this category are for-profit and nonprofit public, private, and government organizations that devote more than 50 percent of their faculty and staff members and/or budget to providing teaching and instructional services directly to students. Examples are   
  • elementary and secondary schools and school districts
  • colleges, universities, and university systems
  • schools or colleges within universities
  • professional schools
  • community colleges
  • technical schools

Educational departments within schools or colleges are ineligible.

Education organizations may apply in the education category, using the Education Criteria for Performance Excellence, or, as appropriate, in the service, small business, or nonprofit category, using the Criteria for Performance Excellence (the Business/Nonprofit Criteria).

Health Care

Organizations eligible in the health care category are for-profit and nonprofit public, private, and government organizations that devote more than 50 percent of their staff members and/or budget to providing health care services directly to people. Examples are 
  • health systems
  • hospitals
  • health maintenance organizations
  • long-term care facilities
  • health care practitioners’ offices
  • home health agencies
  • dialysis and ambulatory surgery centers

Organizations that don’t provide health care services directly, such as social service agencies, health insurance companies, or medical/dental laboratories, are ineligible in this category but may be eligible in the service, small business, or nonprofit category.

Health care organizations may apply in the health care category, using the Health Care Criteria for Performance Excellence, or, as appropriate, in the service, small business, or nonprofit category, using the Business/Nonprofit Criteria. If your organization is both an education organization and a provider of health care services, choose your eligibility category based on the activity that represents the larger percentage of your budget.

Nonprofit

Nonprofit and government organizations are eligible to apply in this category. Examples include

 

  • local, state, and federal government agencies
  • trade associations
  • charitable organizations
  • social service agencies
  • credit unions
  • professional societies

If your nonprofit organization provides direct education or direct health care services in addition to other nonprofit services, choose your eligibility category based on the activity that represents the larger percentage of the budget. For example, if a state department of education allocates 70 percent of its budget to certifying teachers and educational programs and 30 percent to directly educating students, it is eligible in the nonprofit category.

The U.S. Department of Commerce, the American Society for Quality, and their subunits aren’t eligible to apply for the Baldrige Award.

Eligibility of Subunits (Units or Divisions of Larger Organizations)

The larger organization that holds or has control of a subunit is the "parent"—the highest level of an organization that is eligible to apply for the award. In the nonprofit category, examples of parent organizations are
  • the U.S. Department of Defense (not the Department of the Army)

  • the State of Maryland (not the Maryland Department of Transportation)

  • the Montgomery County Government (not the Montgomery County Health Department)

  • Sutter Health (not Sutter Davis Hospital)

  • Lockheed Martin (not Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control)

There is no limit on the number of subunits of an organization that may apply for the Baldrige Award within the same year. A subunit and its parent may submit eligibility certification packages in the same year, but only one (subunit or parent) may apply for the award in that year.

Education and health care subunits. If the parent provides direct teaching and instructional services to students or direct health care services to people, a subunit that also provides these services is eligible.

Manufacturing, service, small business, and nonprofit subunits. To be eligible, a subunit in these categories must function independently, with substantial authority to make key administrative and operational decisions, but it may receive policy direction and oversight from the parent organization. A subunit in these categories must
  • be recognizable as a discrete entity;

  • be easily distinguishable from the parent and its other subunits (e.g., by location or customers served);

  • have a clear definition of "organization" reflected in its literature;

  • function as a business or operational entity, not as activities assembled to write an award application; and

  • be self-sufficient enough to be examined in all seven categories of the Criteria. Thus it must
    • have its own senior leaders;
    • plan and implement its own strategy;
    • serve identifiable customers either inside or outside the organization;
    • be responsible for measuring its performance and managing knowledge and information;
    • manage its own workforce;
    • manage its own work processes and other aspects of its operations; and
    • be able to report results related to these areas.

Eligibility of Baldrige Award Recipients

All Baldrige Award recipients are ineligible to apply for the award again for five years. For example, an organization that received the award in 2013 may not reapply until 2019.

However, during those five years, recipients may submit award applications annually to receive feedback reports outlining their strengths and opportunities for improvement based on the Criteria for Performance Excellence. After five years, award recipients may apply for the award or, if they wish, for feedback only.

Similarly, if a subunit receives the Baldrige Award, that subunit and all its subunits are ineligible to apply for the award for five years. They may also submit award applications to receive feedback only during those five years.

In addition, if a subunit with more than 50 percent of the total employees of the parent receives the Baldrige Award, the parent organization and all its subunits are ineligible to apply for the award for five years. They may submit award applications to receive feedback only during that time.

Eligibility of Baldrige Criteria Sponsors

An organization that sponsors the Criteria cannot apply for the award during the two years that the sponsored Criteria are published.

Eligibility of Participants in a Baldrige Collaborative Assessment

An organization that participates in a Baldrige Collaborative Assessment cannot apply for the award during the award cycle in which the assessment occurs.
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Award Process Hotline
1-877-237-9064, option 3