Jeff Erlanger

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, a lifelong quadriplegic due to complications from a spinal tumor discovered in infancy, died on June 10, 2007. He 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.

Jeff was recently honored when an accessible playground was named in his memory at Rennebohm Park on Madison’s Westside.

“Jeff was who he was because of what the Madison community is,” his father Howard said at the ribbon cutting for the playground. “We’re so glad we moved here, and so glad for the support and mentoring he got from so many people.”

“Over the past years we have honored residents who have built coalitions around diversity in housing, women’s health, mental health and community,” said Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway. “Jeff was a man who worked with others in a respectful manner, regardless of religious belief, race, age, sexual orientation or political affiliation. He did this in a quiet and unassuming manner, and I know there are many other Madisonians doing the same. I Iook forward to multiple nominations and another outstanding award winner later this year.”

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 accessible taxicab service, still available 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 and 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 October 30, 2023.

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 2023 award will be presented on Tuesday, December 5, 2023.