Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Official websites use .gov
A .gov website belongs to an official government organization in the United States.

Secure .gov websites use HTTPS
A lock ( ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .gov website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

New Business Plan, New Funding Help Baldrige Program Move Forward

The Baldrige Performance Excellence Program (BPEP), managed for 25 years by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) in collaboration with the private sector, has announced that it is transitioning to a new business model that will move the program from federal government funding to a self-sustaining operation. NIST will continue its leadership role in managing the program, but it will be funded through a combination of new fees together with expanded support from the private sector.

The Foundation for the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award—the private 501(c) 3 organization that has supported BPEP for more than 20 years with contributions from the private sector— recently announced that it will fund the BPEP through fiscal year 2015 as the transition to the new business model takes place. The foundation will review the gift annually to determine any appropriate adjustments during the three-year period. The foundation also has initiated a new endowment fundraising campaign to ensure long-term sustainability.

"The Baldrige Program and the Baldrige Criteria for Performance Excellence that it promotes offer our business, health care, nonprofit and educational institutions a proven path to becoming more competitive, more efficient and more successful in generating and sustaining positive outcomes," says Thomas Schamberger, executive director of the foundation. "The need is greater now than ever to make Baldrige more accessible to the organizations and communities that need it throughout the country."

The new business model focuses on expanding markets, strategic partners and customer relationships, with the goal of long-term sustainability and growth for the Baldrige Program and its partner, the newly formed Baldrige Enterprise which includes the Baldrige foundation, the Alliance for Performance Excellence—a body made up of the 35-plus state, local, regional and sector-specific Baldrige-based programs serving nearly all 50 states—and the American Society for Quality (ASQ).

New products, services and strategies will generate fee-based income and grow the customer base for the Baldrige Program and the Baldrige Enterprise. These include educational offerings for international quality experts and others, such as the in-depth Baldrige training currently provided only to Baldrige Award examiners; a fee-based alternative assessment that will provide organizations not eligible for a Baldrige Award with the high-quality organizational review given to Baldrige Award applicants; and sponsorships of exhibits and activities at Baldrige events such as the annual Quest for Excellence conference.

Additionally, the BPEP plans to reduce costs through the elimination of operations that fall outside its core mission, streamlining the rest and shifting some activities to the Baldrige Enterprise partners. More coordination and integration among these partners' activities will achieve greater efficiency and effectiveness, with the first step being new Baldrige Award eligibility rules that encourage potential applicants to first seek their state or regional award.

The BPEP raises awareness about the importance of performance excellence in driving the U.S. and global economy; provides organizational assessment tools and criteria; educates leaders in businesses, schools, health care organizations, and government and nonprofit organizations about the practices of national role models; and recognizes them by honoring them with the only Presidential Award for performance excellence.

Named after Malcolm Baldrige, the 26th Secretary of Commerce, the Baldrige Award was established by Congress in 1987. The award promotes excellence in organizational performance, recognizes the achievements and results of U.S. organizations, and publicizes successful performance strategies. The award is not given for specific products or services. Since 1988, 90 organizations have received Baldrige Awards.

More information on the BPEP transition plan is available online.

Released April 13, 2012, Updated January 17, 2023