Mrs.VanR_The Van Rensselaer Award for Distinguished Service (“VRA”) is named in honor of one of the CDA’s principal founders of the Society, Maria Demming “May” King Van Rensselaer (Mrs. John King Van Rensselaer) and will be bestowed upon a member of The Colonial Dames of America for distinguished service to her chapter, to the Society, and to her community.
A chapter may recommend a member in good standing to the CDA National Board of Managers for consideration to receive this honor. Dames may also be proposed posthumously. Should your chapter wish to recommend a member for the inaugural year of the award, please forward your proposal no later than February 1, 2015 to be considered by the Board of Managers. The Society may honor as many as one member from each chapter in any given year. The award will be ongoing after our 125th celebration year.

The submission form and rules for the VRA are set forth below. Along with the submission, please include a check for $250 made payable to “The Colonial Dames of America.” The $250 contribution will become part of the permanent endowment of the Society.

Submission Instructions

1. Submissions may be prepared in one of two formats that are available for download from the members only section of the CDA website: (i) Microsoft Word; or (ii) a Fillable PDF form.
2. The submissions may be sent by: (i) regular mail to the CDA Headquarters office to the CDA Executive Director, The Colonial Dames of America, 417 East 61st Street, New York, NY 10065; or, (ii) email to
3. If you are mailing your submission, please include a $250 check made payable to “The Colonial Dames of America”. If you are emailing your submission, please mail your check to the CDA Headquarters and include a cover note with your name, your Chapter name and the name of the member you are proposing for the VRA. In either case, please write in the memo section of the check “Van Rensselaer Award – Chapter ____”.


1. The deadline for submissions is February 1 of each fiscal year.
2. Submissions received after the deadline will not be considered.
3. Members being proposed must have been members in the CDA for at least five (5) years.
4. The final selection of the member to receive the VRA award will be made by The Colonial Dames of America Board of Managers.
5. A chapter may not propose more than one nominee per year for the VRA.
6. A member may only be selected once for the VRA.