Dillinger-McCabe "Putting Children First" Leadership Award

In January 2021, the Juvenile Welfare Board mourned the loss of long-standing Board Member, former Pinellas-Pasco State Attorney Bernie McCabe. During his 20 years of service, Mr. McCabe was a cornerstone of the JWB Board and long-serving Chair of the Board’s Finance Committee. A legend in the legal community, Mr. McCabe was steadfast in his commitment to always do what is best for children, and his litmus test was always, “Is it good for the kids?” His colleague and friend, Pinellas-Pasco Public Defender Bob Dillinger, was a fierce advocate for the underserved. He made it his life’s work to fight childhood hunger and meet basic needs of children and families to prevent them from entering deeper end services. Mr. Dillinger retired from public office, completing his 20-year term on the JWB Board in December 2020.


Both men were formidable leaders on the JWB Board, and their dedication to Pinellas County children is unparalleled. While they did not always agree, they found common ground when it came to putting children first. To honor their long-standing service, JWB’s Board created a leadership award in their names to be presented annually to a well-established leader and champion for Pinellas County children and families.

We are now accepting nominations for the Dillinger-McCabe Putting Children First Leadership Award. The deadline to submit is Friday, February 16, 2024, at 5:00 PM.  All nominations will be reviewed by the Selection Committee, comprised of one member each of the Dillinger and McCabe families, JWB Board Chair, JWB Immediate Past Board Chair, and JWB Legacy Board Member.

The recipient of the Dillinger-McCabe Putting Children First Leadership Award will be announced and honored at the JWB Annual KidsFirst Awards Luncheon on Friday, April 26, 2024, from 11:30 AM to 1:00 PM at The Coliseum, 535 4th Avenue North, St. Petersburg, FL. Each Nominator is asked to inform their Nominee of the event date/time/venue and request that they attend (if deceased, the Nominator is asked to help identify a family member or friend to attend to accept the award). All Nominees will be recognized at the awards luncheon, and the top award recipient will be named in a surprise announcement at the close of the event.

The award will be presented to an individual who has consistently demonstrated and proved:

  • Leadership in driving system change for Pinellas County children and families, specifically related to prevention;
  • Excellence in ensuring children have equitable opportunity to fulfill their potential and achieve meaningful, purposeful lives;
  • Advocacy and compassion for putting children first, especially those in underserved communities; and
  • Dedication and determination in improving the lives of Pinellas County children and their families.

Nominees Must:

  • Have demonstrated success and impact for Pinellas County children and/or their families based on the above criteria.
  • Not be a current JWB Board, Community Council, or Staff member, or current member of the Dillinger-McCabe Leadership Award Selection Committee.

Nominees May:

  • Be nominated by someone or nominate themselves.
  • Be a former JWB Board, Community Council, or Staff member.
  • Be living or deceased.