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

TOLEDO, OH, October 15, 2019 – Greater Toledo Community Foundation and The Blade, in partnership with The Center for Nonprofit Resources, Buckeye Broadband and WTVG-13abc, are happy to announce the ninth annual Nonprofit Innovation & Excellence Award winners, recognizing local nonprofit organizations that stand out for their contributions to our community.

The 2019 Nonprofit Innovation & Excellence Awards breakfast and ceremony took place on Tuesday, October 15th at The Premier, 4480 Heatherdowns Blvd., Toledo. More than 290 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: Neighborhood Properties, Inc.
 Small agency Excellence award: Lucas County CASA-Citizen Review Board Volunteer Association, Inc.
 Large agency Excellence award: Habitat for Humanity – Maumee Valley

In addition to being recognized as a leader among northwest Ohio and southeast Michigan’s nonprofits, these winning organizations receive a $5,000 unrestricted grant from Greater Toledo Community Foundation; a $1,000 unrestricted grant from The Andersons; free half-page ad in The Blade; and a one-of-a-kind blown glass art creation by local glass artist Shawn Messenger.

About Our Winners

Neighborhood Properties, Inc. (NPI) was founded in 1988 with a mission to end homelessness for persons living with mental illness and/or addiction disorders by providing permanent supportive housing. NPI works to ensure these individuals have the support they need to remain stable, healthy and housed.
To that end, NPI introduced the Wellness and Recovery Center (WRC), the first program of its kind in the state of Ohio, serving solely the Lucas County community.
The WRC was created to provide a no cost to the guest community resource for people experiencing life’s stresses, so they may enjoy a better quality of life, learn different ways to cope with adversity, and reduce the public cost of behavioral health crisis care for all community members. Focused on evidence-based practices, NPI created a safe and comfortable environment where guests are supported 24/7 by peer employees who themselves have been through difficult life experiences and are now living a healthy life of recovery.
In 2018, Lucas County passed the Issue 11 levy so that non-medical mental health services like NPI’s could be integrated into our community’s system of behavioral health care. NPI staff uses personal life experiences with mental illness and substance use challenges to relate to each guest personally and help them to discover their own path to recovery.
WRC leadership has presented these cutting-edge services to a growing number of over 40 facilities such as hospitals, behavioral health agencies, law enforcement agencies and higher education universities. As more communities move toward incorporating peers into their system of care, The Wellness and Recovery Center has developed a unique, cost effective approach that currently stands on its own providing hope in a community full of challenges, adversity and hardship.


Lucas County CASA–Citizen Review Board Volunteer Association exists to serve the best interests of abused and neglected children in the juvenile court system. The Lucas County Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) volunteers provide quality advocacy for children so that they can have a safe, permanent home and the opportunity to thrive.
The Lucas County CASA program has an innovative governance structure based upon a unique partnership with members of our community and local government. The Lucas County Juvenile Court trains citizen volunteers to serve as CASA advocates, assigns them the monumental task of investigating the past and present circumstances of children and their families, and then carefully listens to what the CASA advocates feel is in the best interests of each child.


Lucas County Juvenile Court provides office space, staff salaries and supplies. Juvenile Court Administrative Judge Denise Navarre Cubbon oversees Lucas County CASA and is ultimately responsible for departmental funding and staff. The CASA/CRB Advisory Board of Trustees separately raises additional funds that pay most expenses to train and support the CASA volunteer advocates, fund a website, and recognize the exceptional work of the CASA volunteers.


The CASA/CRB Advisory Board’s philosophy is that it should not cost the CASA volunteer money or personal resources to volunteer to be a child’s advocate. To this end, the Advisory Board substantially funds the on-going training of CASA volunteers so that all Lucas County CASA training is free.


In 1992, the Lucas County CASA/CRB Advisory Board had approximately $2,000 in assets. Today, through the Board’s hard work and persistent efforts, the assets of the Board total over $180,000.00.


National research reveals that judges, attorneys, child welfare workers, and parents overwhelmingly agree that CASA volunteers make a difference in the lives of the children they serve. Because CASA volunteers handle only one or two cases at a time, they can give each child’s case the sustained, personal attention the child victim deserves. Research additionally shows that CASA volunteers spend most of their volunteer time in direct contact with the child victim. Children with a CASA volunteer are substantially less likely to spend time in long-term foster care. CASA volunteers are more likely to visit children in their homes monthly, and are more likely to ensure there are appropriate services for the child or the child’s family. A child with a CASA volunteer is less likely to reenter the child welfare system. The proportion of reentries is consistently reduced by half.


The community benefits because a three-year old has no voice in court and, without an advocate, he cannot let the judge know what he has endured. CASA volunteers relate the realities of these children’s lives to the court. Their involvement enhances public cognizance of child abuse and neglect in our community. Without this awareness, the community can do nothing to address the problem or improve its child victims’ lives.


Habitat for Humanity – Maumee Valley (MVHFH) envisions a world where everyone has a decent place to live. MVHFH’s mission is to put God’s love into action by bringing people together to build homes, communities and hope in Lucas County. MVHFH believes in changing lives by giving a hand up, not a hand out through its Homeownership and Home Repair programs.
Since its founding in 1988, MVHFH Board of Directors has been the strength and foundation of the organization. Being both a governance and working board, they have a deep understanding of the mission, community and people served.


Year after year, the organization has been able to grow its programs by at least 10% – 20% to meet the housing needs of our community. In the past four years, its home repair program has grown from serving 30 to 100 people, specifically to meet the critical need of roof replacements for the aging population of our community. This growth and strength has only been made possible through partnerships in the community and diverse sustainable funding strategies.


Sustainability and diversity are paramount for fundraising at MVHFH. Individuals, corporations, grantors, program income, and ReStore sales all contribute to the mission.


Over the past 31 years, MVHFH’s Homeownership Program has given over 200 low- to moderate-income families in our community a chance to purchase safe, decent, affordable homes through a 0% interest mortgage. Habitat homeowners complete 250 hours of “sweat equity” volunteer time and a 12-month homeownership class. Impact is measured through surveys at orientation, move in day, and after one year in the home.


The Home Repair Ministry, launched in 2008, helps low-income residents with health and safety related repairs. Like the homeownership program, repair program participants complete “sweat equity” and make affordable 0% interest payments over two years. At project completion, homeowners are surveyed to determine success.


Recently, MVHFH launched an initiative to tackle the roofing crisis in Toledo by doubling the number of planned roof repairs from 25 completed in 2017 to 50 in 2018. MVHFH will complete 50 roof replacements in 2019. MVHFH has the largest Habitat repair program in the state of Ohio.


MVHFH programs have a compounding positive impact for families and neighborhoods. Decent housing helps increase safety, improve health, improve neighborhood stability, improve real estate values, and increases respect for the community.


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.

In addition to Greater Toledo Community Foundation, The Blade, The Center for Nonprofit Resources, Buckeye Broadband and WTVG-13abc, the 2019 Northwest Ohio Nonprofit Innovation & Excellence Awards ceremony and breakfast were sponsored by The Andersons, Eidi Properties and Monroe Superstore Dodge/Chrysler/Jeep/Ram.


Greater Toledo Community Foundation 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 875funds with assets of approximately $304 million. The Foundation provides philanthropic services for individuals, families, businesses and corporations to meet their charitable giving needs. For more information about Greater Toledo Community Foundation, visit www.toledocf.org or follow us on Facebook or LinkedIn.


The mission of The Center for Nonprofit Resources is to ensure nonprofit organizations in our region have the information and resources required to operate in an efficient and effective manner. For further information about The Center, visit www.c4npr.org or contact Heather Bradley, Director, at Heather@c4npr.org.