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Toledo Community Foundation

TCF and The Blade Announce Northwest Ohio Nonprofit Innovation & Excellence Award Winners

Fifth Annual Event Draws Over 340 From Area Nonprofit and Business Communities

Published on 10/13/2015 by Joanne Olnhausen

Toledo Community Foundation and The Blade, in partnership with The Center for Nonprofit Resources, Buckeye CableSystem and WTVG-13abc, are happy to announce the fifth annual Nonprofit Innovation & Excellence Awards, to recognize local nonprofit organizations that stand out for their contributions to our community.  The 2015 Nonprofit Innovation & Excellence Awards breakfast and ceremony took place on Tuesday, October 13th at The Premier, 4480 Heatherdowns Blvd., Toledo.  More than 340 individuals from our area nonprofit and business communities came together to honor this year’s winners. 

Accepting awards on behalf of their organizations are:
Christie Jenkins, Family & Child Abuse Prevention Center;
Clint Mauk and Rob Krain, Black Swamp Conservancy;
and Lori Hauser, Imagination Station

A panel of judges selected the following three organizations to receive recognition at this year’s ceremony. They are: 
  •  Innovation award: Imagination Station 
  •  Small agency Excellence award: Black Swamp Conservancy
  •  Large agency Excellence award: Family & Child Abuse Prevention Center

These winning organizations receive a $5,000 unrestricted grant from Toledo Community Foundation; a $1,000 unrestricted grant from The Andersons; free full page ad in The Blade; a public service announcement video and air time from Buckeye CableSystem; and a one-of-a-kind blown glass creation by local glass artist Shawn Messenger.
About Our Winners
Imagination Station is a hands-on science museum located in downtown Toledo.  Its programming provides interactive science experiences for young and old alike.  Since 2013, Imagination Station has partnered with Lucas County Children Services (LCCS) and local funder Lockrey Manufacturing to create a program that applies interactive Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) education in a unique way.  The goal is to help parents who are separated from their children due to safety concerns improve their relationship with, and ability to relate to, their kids as they work toward reunification. 

The program is the only program of its kind in the country, which unites two organizations that do not traditionally work together to strengthen families. Imagination Station has combined a child’s natural curiosity with inquiry-based teaching and learning to help parents overcome communication barriers with their children. And they have accomplished this while also engaging families in critical science topics.

The participants in the program are families that are involved in the county child welfare system due to child abuse or neglect. The parents are given the opportunity to reunify with their children by working through a case plan that is supervised by LCCS.  For each family, there are multiple stages in the reunification process, and the partnership between Imagination Station and LCCS begins with supervised time visiting with their children at LCCS.  

This program is unique in that it stretched the programming of Imagination Station to include a partner; thus, creating a partnership that serves the mission of each organization and one that the two organizations wouldn’t be able to offer on their own. Through this partnership, a local funder was also able to positively impact more than one community organization through the same program. 

For 22 years, Black Swamp Conservancy has worked to preserve natural habitats and agricultural lands in northwest Ohio for the benefit of future generations. The organization has grown to be a respected regional institution and a recognized leader in the broader land trust community.

Black Swamp Conservancy recently achieved the milestone of having protected more than 15,000 acres of land in northwest Ohio.  The Conservancy’s properties include farmland to supply food and fiber for a growing global population, wetlands and streamside forests that contribute to water quality, and biodiversity retention and spaces that support healthy outdoor recreation and the region’s expanding ecotourism industry. 

The Conservancy’s acumen in conservation real estate is regionally recognized and, as such, other organizations and agencies seek partnership to get difficult deals done. Through such partnerships, the Conservancy has facilitated the establishment of 13 public parks and nature preserves with partners including Metroparks of the Toledo Area, Danbury and Catawba Island townships, the City of Port Clinton, and Wood County Park Districts – to name a few. 

In recognition of the recent water quality issues facing northwest Ohio, the Conservancy began a new program focus in 2013, working in earnest on habitat restoration projects that will result in the greatest reductions in nutrient loading to our waterways. 

Black Swamp Conservancy’s community impact is both meaningful and lasting. Every resident of northwest Ohio benefits from their work.  Protecting and restoring wetlands and streamside forests help safeguard drinking water and provide natural defenses against flooding. Further, in light of last year’s water crisis, watershed protection is undeniably one of our community’s greatest needs. 
The Children’s Advocacy Center (CAC) opened its doors in 1997 as a result of a partnership between the Lucas County Child Abuse Task Force and the Family & Child Abuse Prevention Center.  Toledo’s CAC was among the first Children’s Advocacy Center’s in the state of Ohio and is accredited by the National Children’s Alliance. 
The CAC is a program that works to solve an important community issue, making sure those children who have been sexually abused or who have witnessed violence in the home are able to get the help they need with a coordinated, multidisciplinary and sensitive approach.  The CAC addresses this community problem by bringing together professionals and agencies that present a child-focused approach to child abuse cases and ensure the coordination of investigation and intervention services.

The CAC works to eliminate unnecessary repetition of child interviews, to address the emotional needs of the traumatized child, to support families as they work to help their child cope and heal emotionally, and to navigate a complex justice system. During 2014, the CAC served 421 children and families.

In addition to Toledo Community Foundation, The Blade, The Center for Nonprofit Resources, Buckeye CableSystem and WTVG-13abc, the 2015 Northwest Ohio Nonprofit Innovation and Excellence Awards ceremony and breakfast were sponsored by The Andersons and Brooks Insurance.

Toledo Community Foundation, Inc. is a public charitable organization created by citizens of our community to enrich the quality of life for individuals and families in our area.  In existence since 1973, the Foundation has more than 685 funds with assets of approximately $227 million.  The Foundation provides philanthropic services for individuals, families, businesses and corporations to meet their charitable giving needs. For more information about Toledo Community Foundation, visit www.toledocf.org or follow us on Facebook. 

For further information about The Center for Nonprofit Resources, visit www.c4npr.org or contact Michelle Klinger, director, at 419.241.9513 or michelle@c4npr.org.

Background on Awards / Past Recipients

Innovation:   This award honors a program or initiative that demonstrates an innovative and effective response to community challenges. Award finalists also demonstrated effective and efficient use of human and financial resources, and involved the collaboration of other nonprofit organizations, businesses and/or governmental agencies in their efforts.

Excellence:   This award recognizes an organization for overall excellence. Award finalists are organizations that demonstrate active involvement by staff, board members, volunteers, constituents and other stakeholders in advancing the mission of the organization and that focus on community impact and results.

Click here to see past recipients of the awards. 

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