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Seattle King County First Citizen Award

The Seattle-King County First Citizen Award salutes “giving back” whether by “time, treasure or talent” and civic engagement that enhances the region’s quality of life. Past recipients hail from both the public and private sectors, ranging from humanitarian groups, corporations, charitable, health and educational institutions, to various arts, environmental, and civic organizations.

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Seattle's Oldest Civic Recognition

Since its inception in 1939, the First Citizen Award, believed to be this region’s oldest such recognition, continues to celebrate community leadership, volunteerism, and public service. The civic banquet to honor the annual recipients is a not-for-profit celebration of civic engagement presented by Seattle King County Realtors® and partners from the real estate community.

History of the Award

In 1939, years of economic hardship during the Great Depression had taken a toll on the spirit and morale of the people of Seattle. In response, REALTORS® sought to boost public sentiment and brighten our outlook by drawing attention to the positive community and civic work taking place throughout the region.

To that end, REALTORS® commissioned Seattle artist Dudley Pratt to sculpt an expression of the great work that can be accomplished by those who support the needs of the people, a work emblematic of “those who seek first to serve our citizens.” Each year since, the Seattle King County REALTORS® have presented the First Citizen Award as an expression of gratitude to those who devote themselves to the well-being and prosperity of our community.


Past Recipients

First Citizens hail from humanitarian organizations, charitable and educational institutions, art groups, environmental causes, and other civic endeavors.

2023 Award

The 85th Annual Seattle First Citizen Award Celebration honoring Sue Bird, retired Seattle Storm player and community advocate, was held at the Sheraton Grand Seattle on May 18, 2023. Read more.

2022 Award

The 84th Annual Seattle First Citizen Award Celebration honoring Mary's Place, a non-profit organization serving homeless families, was held at the Seattle Aquarium on July 27, 2022. Read more.

2021 Award

The 83th Annual Seattle First Citizen Award Celebration honoring Benjamin S. Danielson MD, beloved local pediatrician, was held at the Seattle Art Museum on October 28, 2021. Read more.

1939 Richard Eugene Fuller

1940 Dr. Wendell Fifield

1941 William O. McKay

1942 Kenneth Colman

1943 Phil Johnson

1944 Children’s Orthopedic Hospital

1945 W. Walter Williams

1946 Royal Brougham

1947 John H. Reid

1948 Ernest Skeel

1949 Dr. Raymond Allen

1950 Thomas M. Pelly

1951 George Gunn, Jr.

1952 Henry Broderick

1953 Frank E. Holman

1954 William M. Allen

1955 Deitrich Schmitz

1956 Rev. A.A. Lemieux

1957 Gordon N. Scott

1958 Nat S. Rogers

1959 Dorothy Bullitt

1960 Michael Dederer

1961 Ben E. Ehrlichman

1962 Joseph E. Gandy

1963 George F. Kachlein, Jr.

1964 H.W. McCurdy

1965 Edward E. Carlson

1966 Milton Katims

1967 Frances P. Owen

1968 James R. Ellis

1969 William B. Woods

1970 Norton Clapp

1971 Glynn Ross

1972 John D. Ehrlichman

1973 Dr. Dixy Lee Ray

1974 Ned and Kayla Skinner

1975 Dr. Wm. B. Hutchinson

1976 Rabbi Raphael Levine

1977 W.J. “Jerry” Pennington

1978 John M. Fluke

1979 Gordon H. Sweany

1980 James M. Ryan

1981 C.M. “Mike” Berry

1982 Dr. Dale E. Turner

1983 T.A. Wilson

1984 Victor Rosellini

1985 Fredric A. Danz

1986 Robert W. Graham

1987 John W. Ellis

1988 Samuel Stroum

1989 R.C. “Torchy” Torrance

1990 The Rev. William. J. Sullivan, S.J.

1991 Buster and Nancy Alvord

1992 Lester R. Sauvage, M.D.

1993 Constance W. Rice, Ph.D.

1994 Phil M. Smart, Sr.

1995 Mary Gates & Family

1996 Stanley O. McNaughton

1997 Walter B. Williams

1998 Jack A. Benaroya

1999 Paul Brainerd

2000 The Bullitt Family

2001 Herb M. Bridge

2002 Scott and Laurie Oki

2003 Dan and Nancy Evans

2004 The McCaw Family

2005 Jeffrey and Susan Brotman

2006 Dale Chihuly

2007 James and Sherry Raisbeck

2008 Paul G. Allen

2009 Gerard Schwarz

2010 Hon. Slade Gorton

2011 Jamie and Karen Moyer

2012 Rotary International District 5030

2013 Lenny Wilkens

2014 Norman B. Rice

2015 Theodor “Ted” Baseler

2016 Phyllis Campbell

2017 Bill & Jill Ruckelshaus

2018 The Pigott Family

2019 Father Stephen V. Sundborg, S.J.

2020 Tomio Moriguchi & Family

2021 Benjamin S. Danielson, MD

2022 Mary’s Place

2023 Sue Bird

The First Citizen Award is presented in partnership with

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