The award honours the late Melbourne champion and president Jim Stynes and will be bestowed upon the player who most demonstrates Stynes' commitment to the community.
It will be presented at the Brownlow Medal count on Monday night, with the winner to receive $20,000 from the AFL to donate to a charity or community program of their choice.
Maxwell is a founding director of the Collingwood Football Club Foundation, established The Michael Carmody Foundation to honour the memory of a former Geelong schoolmate who was killed in a camping accident in 2008, and is an ambassador for both the Make-A-Wish Australia and the World Society for the Protection of Animals.
Smith is the Suns' Domestic Violence Awareness ambassador, has contributed to the One Punch Can Kill program, the No Boundaries program that helps indigenous communities, and the White Christmas Charity Event.
Ten years ago, Minson became a founding member of Red Dust Role Models, through which he has helped educate underprivileged children in indigenous Australia, Fiji and India on health, sanitation and life opportunities.
AFL chief Andrew Demetriou said the AFL was proud of the trio's contribution to the community, with each "demonstrating true leadership and initiative".
Richmond midfielder Daniel Jackson last year became the inaugural winner of the award for his commitment to the mental health and wellbeing of young people, and for promoting strategies to avoid street violence.
Collingwood captain Nick Maxwell has shown outstanding leadership and excellence over a number of years in making a very significant contribution to a wide range of community groups, charitable organisations and social programs. Nick is a founding Director of the Collingwood Football Club Foundation. He established The Michael Carmody Foundation to honour the memory of one of his Geelong schoolmates who was killed in a camping accident in 2008. Nick is an ambassador for Make-A-Wish Australia which grants wishes to children with life-threatening medical conditions. He is also an ambassador to the World Society for the Protection of Animals which exists to tackle animal cruelty across the globe. Nick is pro-active in creating new initiatives and leveraging his profile in the media to further promote these activities.
Gold Coast's Zac Smith joined the club as a foundation player five years ago and in this time, through his relentless work within the community and sacrifice of his spare time, Zac has made a significant difference. As the Suns' Domestic Violence Awareness ambassador, Zac has been a leader of Gold Coast's Horizons program, which focuses on ruling out domestic violence and youth homelessness. Zac is also a passionate White Ribbon ambassador and has gone above and beyond to seek out how he and his fellow teammates can support the cause and deliver key messages, such as encouraging the Suns playing group to train in white jumpers to raise awareness of the issue of domestic violence on White Ribbon Day. The Suns ruckman has also contributed significantly to the wider community, including supporting the youth through the One Punch Can Kill program, indigenous communities through the No Boundaries partnership program and families in need through the White Christmas Charity Event.
A founding member of Red Dust Role Models, Will Minson has volunteered for the program since its inception in 2003 delivering clinics and healthy messages to youth to inspire them to live a balanced lifestyle. Will has travelled several times with the group to help educate underprivileged children in Indigenous Australia, Fiji and India on health, sanitation and life opportunities. He is a great role model for emerging players in the industry, encouraging them to play their part in using their own platform to support and help others and to inspire young people, not only to play footy but to also lead healthier, more active lives.