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Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award


Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award medallion with Award recipients photos in background.

How to Apply | Award Cycle Overview | Is Your Organization Eligible | Award Process Fees | The Feedback Report

Improve Performance and Get World-Class Results

The Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award® is the highest level of national recognition for performance excellence that a U.S. organization can receive. The award focuses on performance in five key areas:

  • Product and process outcomes
  • Customer outcomes
  • Workforce outcomes
  • Leadership and governance outcomes
  • Financial and market outcomes

Organizations don't receive the award for specific products or services. To receive the award, an organization must have a system that

  • ensures continuous improvement in overall performance in delivering products and/or services
  • provides an approach for satisfying and responding to customers and stakeholders

Benefits of Applying

Applicants for the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award (MBNQA)—those that have received the award and those that haven't—say the Baldrige evaluation process is one of the best, most cost-effective, most comprehensive performance assessments your organization can find. In annual surveys conducted by the Judges Panel of the MBNQA, applicants have noted many benefits of applying for the award.

About the Award

Up to 18 awards are given annually across six eligibility categories: manufacturing, service, small business, education, health care, and nonprofit. Award recipients that are nominated for a subsequent award are not included in the total cap of 18.

Award recipients must share information about their exceptional performance practices with other U.S. organizations, but they don't need to share proprietary information, even if they included this information in their award applications. The principal mechanisms for sharing information are the annual Quest for Excellence® Conference, and the Baldrige Fall Conference (held in collaboration with state local Baldrige-based programs). Sharing beyond the Quest for Excellence Conference is voluntary.

Site-visited organizations that are not recommended for the award may be recognized for category best practices. Best practices identified by the Judges Panel in the Baldrige Criteria process categories are eligible for recognition. To receive this recognition, an applicant's overall organizational performance in the identified category must demonstrate mature processes that are linked to the appropriate organizational results, demonstrating favorable levels and trends. Also, the applicant organization must have credible performance across all categories. An applicant may be recognized for more than one category best practice or for none at all. Organizations receiving such category recognition will present at the Quest for Excellence Conference following their recognition. Such organizations are recognized in the annual award ceremony program, but not on stage, and the Baldrige Program highlights them on our website and in a press release.

The Baldrige Program keeps the identity of all applicant organizations confidential unless they receive the award or category best-practice recognition. We treat all information submitted by applicants as strictly confidential, and we have numerous protocols and processes in place to protect applicants and ensure the integrity of the award.

What Organizations Are Saying

best comprehensive audit you can get

Arnold Weimerskirch, Former Chair, Baldrige Award Panel of Judges, and Vice President of Quality, Honeywell, Inc.

The application and review process for the award is the best, most cost-effective, and comprehensive business health audit you can get.


Purchase Baldrige Excellence Framework Business/Nonprofit, Education, Health Care 
Baldrige Process Calendar
Changes and Reminders
Application Content and Format
Baldrige Process Integrity

Related Links

Baldrige Award Recipient Listing
Baldrige Impacts
Self-Assessing Your Organization
Baldrige Improvement Tools
Baldrige FAQs



  • Baldrige Customer Service
    (301) 975-2036
    100 Bureau Drive, M/S 1020
    Gaithersburg, MD 20899-1020
Created February 18, 2010, Updated October 6, 2021