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Toledo Community Foundation

2019 Nonprofit Innovation & Excellence Awards - Open for Applications

Published on 05/01/2019 8:00 am by Joanne M Olnhausen

About the Awards

The Blade and Toledo Community Foundation, in partnership with The Center for Nonprofit Resources, are pleased to announce the Annual Nonprofit Innovation & Excellence Awards.  The Awards are designed to honor and recognize outstanding nonprofit organizations and their achievements in our community.

Awards will be given to three nonprofit organizations, one in each of the following categories:

  • Nonprofit Innovation Award
  • Nonprofit Excellence Award – Small Organization (Budget less than $500,000)
  • Nonprofit Excellence Award – Large Organization (Budget more than $500,000)  

Awards Eligibility and Criteria

In each category, applicant organizations should meet the following general eligibility criteria: 

  • Applicant must be a nonprofit organization under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Service Code and based in northwest Ohio or southeast Michigan.
  • Organizations may apply for, and are eligible to win in, more than one award category, but must submit a separate application for each category and must address the criteria specific to each award.
  • Once an organization has received an award, that organization will become ineligible for that same award for the following three years.

All organizations are required to submit due diligence documentation with their online application to Toledo Community Foundation.  Documentation includes: 

  • A copy of the organizational budget for the current fiscal year;
  • A copy of the audited financial statements for the most recent year available – if unavailable, the unaudited income and expense statement and balance sheet must be provided;
  • A list of board members with affiliations; and
  • A copy of the applicant’s tax exemption letter from the Internal Revenue Service.

The submission must include:

  • A high quality electronic version of the organization’s logo, and 
  • Three original electronic high resolution photos (300 DPI or higher) that depict the organization’s mission and services.

These items will be used as part of the award ceremony for organizations selected as finalists. Winners will not be announced in advance of the ceremony. As part of the review process, any applicant may be requested to submit additional supplemental information.


Nonprofit Innovation Award Criteria

This award is intended to honor and showcase a project, program or initiative that demonstrates an innovative and effective response to community challenges. The organization's innovative project, program or initiative should have taken place or been completed within the past 18-24 months.  The strongest applications will be from organizations that can demonstrate effective and efficient use of human and financial resources, and involve the collaboration of other nonprofit organizations, businesses and/or governmental agencies in their efforts. 

Address each of the following sections in the application and clearly identify each section with a descriptive heading, indicated in bold below. 

  • Description- Provide a description of the specific project, program or initiative for which the application is being made. Include details about how the project, program or initiative represents an innovative and creative solution to community opportunities and/or challenges.
  • Results- Provide a description of what measurable, positive results have ensued.
  • Uniqueness/Model of Inspiration- Explain within the context of the field in which the organization operates how the identified innovation is cutting edge and unique as well as how it is or could be a model of inspiration for other organizations.

Applications for the Nonprofit Innovation Award will be accepted here until midnight on June 30, 2019.  Apply here


Nonprofit Excellence Award – Large and Small Organization Criteria

This award is intended to recognize an organization for overall excellence. The application is designed to give considerable flexibility for an organization to tell its excellence story.  The strongest applications will be from those organizations that demonstrate active involvement by staff, board members, volunteers, constituents and other stakeholders in advancing the mission of the organization.  Additionally, it is expected that applications will highlight impact and results, not only process.

Applicants must have been a nonprofit organization under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Service Code for at least five years and have a local governance and management structure in place.  In the application, the applicant should:

Cite concrete examples of best practices within the organization that demonstrate excellence and achievements that distinguish the organization’s work in the areas identified below:

  • Governance
  • Financial Management
  • Fundraising
  • Evaluation / Community Impact


As a result of the exemplary practice(s) and/or achievement(s) mentioned above, how has the organization progressed in achieving its mission?  How has this impacted our community?

Print a copy of these Grant Guidelines here.

Applications for Nonprofit Excellence Awards for Small Organizations will be accepted here until midnight on June 30, 2019.  Apply here

Applications for Nonprofit Excellence Awards for Large Organizations will be accepted here until midnight on June 30, 2019.  Apply here


Awards Selection Process & Timeline

The award application deadline is Sunday, June 30, 2019.  Award applications must be submitted through Toledo Community Foundation’s online application process.  Award applications must be received by midnight of the application deadline.

Selection Committee

A TCF selection committee comprised of past winners and community members with knowledge of area nonprofits will review the applications and select award winners in each category. 

Recipient Prizes

All Award Recipients will receive: 

  • The honor and distinction of being recognized as a leader among northwest Ohio and southeast Michigan’s nonprofits;
  • A one-of-a-kind glass art award engraved with the organization’s name;
  • An unrestricted grant from Toledo Community Foundation in the amount of $5,000;
  • An unrestricted grant in the amount of $1,000 from The Andersons;
  • A half-page ad in The Blade;
  • A feature article highlighting the winning organizations in Toledo Community Foundation‘s newsletter, and sharing of award winners via The Center for Nonprofit Resources’ e-newsletter and website; and
  • One table for ten (at no charge) to the recognition event to be held in October.


Awards Ceremony Information

Awards will be presented to winning organizations at the Annual Northwest Ohio Nonprofit Innovation & Excellence Awards breakfast on Tuesday, October 15, 2019.  Questions about the ceremony should be directed to Laura Sams at laura@toledocf.org.

      Presented By:          


      Breakfast Sponsors:                        


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