The California Awards for Performance Excellence (CAPE), administered by the California Council for Excellence, helps organizations in all sectors continuously improve. The program has been in existence since 1994 and has helped hundreds of organizations improve performance. 


CAPE offers organizations forums to share best practices during the annual CCE Best Practices and Awards Conference. The CAPE program allows organizations to apply for state-level awards and to receive feedback about their current performance and their opportunities for improvement using the nationally recognized Baldrige Criteria for Performance Excellence. In order to be eligible to apply for the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award, organizations must apply for and receive our highest level of recognition, the CAPE Eureka Gold Award.

CAPE supports individuals by offering training in the Criteria for Performance Excellence, developing state examiners, and providing opportunities for networking. Hundreds of individuals representing a wide-range of backgrounds and professional experience work together each year to make California organizations even better.

CAPE is proud to offer four levels of Baldrige-based assessments for organizations at any stage of their performance excellence journey: 


  • California Team Excellence Award (CTEA)

    • This recognition level is designed to assess your organization's project-based or process improvement teams and provide recognition for their best practices.​

  • Explorer Recognition

    • Organizations beginning their excellence journey can take advantage of this assessment of a single​ Baldrige Criteria item. These items include Leadership; Strategic Planning; Customers; Measurement, Analysis, and Knowledge Management; Workforce; and Operations.

  • Prospector Recognition

    • This is an excellent stepping stone for organizations that plan to apply for the Eureka Award, but want to practice application writing. The Prospector uses the criteria of the Baldrige Builder, which is an abbreviated version of the full Baldrige Framework.​

  • Eureka Award for Performance Excellence

    • This assessment follows the same application and evaluation process as the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award (MBNQA), the nation's highest presidential recognition for performance excellence. Applicants respond to the full Baldrige Criteria and host the examination team for a week-long site visit. Organizations that receive the Eureka Gold-Level Award are eligible to compete for the national MBNQA.

California Council for Excellence is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization (Tax ID: 33-0542335)

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