• Sub Slide 1
Toledo Community Foundation

Toledo Community Foundation and The Blade Announce the Seventh Annual Northwest Ohio Nonprofit Innovation & Excellence Award Winners

Published on 10/10/2017 10:30 am by Joanne M Olnhausen

TOLEDO, OH, October 10, 2017 – Toledo Community Foundation and The Blade, in partnership with The Center for Nonprofit Resources, Buckeye Broadband and WTVG-13abc, are happy to announce the winners of the seventh annual Nonprofit Innovation & Excellence Awards, which recognize local nonprofit organizations that stand out for their contributions to our community. The 2017 Nonprofit Innovation & Excellence Awards breakfast and ceremony took place on Tuesday, October 10th at The Premier, 4480 Heatherdowns Blvd., Toledo. More than 265 individuals from our area nonprofit and business communities came together to honor this year’s winners.
A panel of judges selected the following three organizations to receive recognition at this year’s ceremony:
  • Innovation award: A Renewed Mind
  • Small agency Excellence award: Great Lakes Collaborative for Autism
  • Large agency Excellence award: Thomas M. Wernert Center

These winning organizations receive a $5,000 unrestricted grant from Toledo Community Foundation; a $500 unrestricted grant from The Andersons; free full-page ad in The Blade; and a one-of-a-kind blown glass creation by local glass artist Shawn Messenger.

About Our Winners

A Renewed Mind provides quality behavioral healthcare when and where individuals need it. Serving children, adolescents, adults and families, the organization provides services in Lucas, Wood and Hancock counties and in the Four County region (Fulton, Williams, Henry and Defiance counties) in nine outpatient offices, one residential center, 12 school locations, and in two recovery houses. Their services and programs are centered on individualized client care and serving people as unique individuals. 

The organization developed Project Direct Link in partnership with Sheriff John Tharp and the Lucas County Corrections Center as a service for individuals returning to society from jail. The program was designed to reduce barriers to successful reintegration into society. Individuals are screened for opiate addiction upon detention and, based on personal commitment to sobriety and recovery, they are referred for medical evaluation and recovery treatment while still incarcerated. Intensive case management is provided upon release to ensure support for ongoing addiction treatment.

Project Direct Link has seen success in this program as is evidenced by the increased number of inmates that receive linkage to treatment and treatment retention over the years. The program is unique as it was the first treatment model in Ohio to provide a close integration of care between several agencies to establish safe medical and operational protocols to stop the damaging effects of opiate abuse. The program has proven to save lives while building a stronger community.


Great Lakes Collaborative for Autism (GLCA) was created in 2004 by Bob and Suzy Tyner, a Toledo couple with a son who has autism.  Their vision was to create a place where families dealing with autism could easily access services and support. The GLCA’s overall mission is to inspire the growth of opportunities that will create a limitless future for all touched by autism. As insurance often does not cover most of autism services, GLCA’s fundraising efforts go directly to support programs and families.

Some of the organizations early successes include assisting in creating two early intervention programs, an afterschool program for 13-22 year old students, Venture Bound which is a transition to employment program, and social programs. As a result of working with community leaders to establish communication, collaboration and ultimately better care for families, ProMedica committed to being a community partner and created a community autism center which now houses the Toledo Children’s Hospital Autism Early Learning Program along with five other community organizations including the GLCA.


The Thomas M. Wernert Center (TMWC) works to improve the quality of life for persons living with mental illness through programs of education, peer support and advocacy. The majority of Wernert Center’s staff is on a journey of mental health recovery, with the belief that no one can understand the challenges of living with mental health issues better than someone who has walked down that road.  This unique peer-to-peer support helps end the feelings of isolation and stigma that is often experienced by those with mental health challenges. The Wernert Center offers support in a safe, welcoming and encouraging environment.

TMWC has seen results!  Over 70% of those attending TMWC have had a decrease in mental health hospitalizations; 83% feel there are opportunities to learn and grow in their lives, leading to improved relationships in their families; and 77% feel more independent and better prepared to volunteer and become employed in the community.


In addition to Toledo Community Foundation, The Blade, The Center for Nonprofit Resources, Buckeye Broadband and WTVG-13abc, the 2017 Northwest Ohio Nonprofit Innovation & Excellence Awards ceremony and breakfast were sponsored by The Andersons and USI.

Background on Awards

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.


Past Award Recipients

Nonprofit Innovation
Unison Behavioral Health Group (2011)
Bittersweet Farms (2012)
The Arts Commission of Greater Toledo (2013)
Shared Lives Studio / Lott Industries (2014)
Imagination Station (2015)
Advocating Opportunity, Inc. (2016)

Nonprofit Excellence – Small Organization
Read for Literacy, Inc. (2011)
Beach House Family Shelter (2012)
Toledo/Lucas County CareNet (2013)
Water for Ishmael (2014)
Black Swamp Conservancy (2015)
Diabetes Youth Services (2016)

Nonprofit Excellence – Large Organization
Hospice of Northwest Ohio (2011)
Advocates for Basic Legal Equality, Inc. and Legal Aid of Western Ohio, Inc.  (2012)
East Toledo Family Center (2013)
Cherry Street Mission Ministries (2014)
Family & Child Abuse Prevention Center (2015)
Catholic Club (2016)

# # #

Contact Us

300 Madison Avenue
Suite 1300
Toledo, OH 43604
P     419.241.5049

Connect With Us

Find Us On Facebook Watch Us On YouTube

Receive Our Newsletter

CF Standards