In 2003, Rainbow History Project established the Community Pioneer Award to recognize people whose contributions to the LGBTQ communities of greater metropolitan Washington DC merited special commendation. The recipients of this award are chosen for their pioneering work to establish the lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, and queer communities of today's DMV.
Awards have been announced in 2003, 2005, 2007, 2009, 2012, 2015, and, most recently 2021.
In December, 2021, Rainbow History Project honored its newest class of Community Pioneers. Due to pandemic conditions, no physical celebration occurred, but a special video presentation was created. It can be viewed on the RHP YouTube page.