THE ORIGINAL Marian Anderson Award was created by the contralto herself, in 1943, repurposing the $10,000 Bok Prize she was given by the city.
Her goal was to support gifted young classical singers. Her last award was given in 1976, after which the prize money ran dry.
In 1990, a Marian Anderson Award was established by the Marian Anderson Award Foundation, in conjunction with the Kennedy Center, in Washington, to support singers who had already achieved some success. In 2002, the Kennedy Center joined with the Fairfield County, Conn., Community Foundation to present an award every other year. (Anderson lived much of her later life in Connecticut.)