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 through Friday, October 1, 2021 at 5:00 PM.  All nominations will be reviewed by the Selection Committee, comprised of the JWB Board Chair, JWB Immediate Past Board Chair, Former JWB Board Member, and members of the McCabe and Dillinger families. The recipient (or if deceased, recipient’s family member) will be honored during the JWB 75th Anniversary Awards Luncheon, which has been postponed to Spring 2022.

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