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TOLEDO, OH, October 20, 2022 – Greater Toledo Community Foundation and The Blade, in partnership with The Center for Nonprofit Resources, The Andersons, Waterford Bank, Buckeye Broadband and WTVG-13abc, are happy to announce the 12th Annual Northwest Ohio Nonprofit Excellence Award winners, recognizing local nonprofit organizations that stand out for their contributions to our community. 

The 2022 Northwest Ohio Nonprofit Excellence Awards presentation took place at The Premier Banquet Hall in Toledo on Thursday, October 20th.  

 A panel of judges selected the following three organizations to receive recognition at this year’s ceremony:

  • Excellence in Collaborative Programming: Connecting Kids to Meals
  • Excellence in Strategic Action: Children’s Theatre Workshop of Toledo
  • Excellence in Organizational Operations: Adopt America Network

In addition to being recognized as a leader among northwest Ohio and southeast Michigan’s nonprofits, these winning organizations receive a $7,500 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.


Pictured, l-r, Wendi Huntley, Esq., President, Connecting Kids to Meals; Wendy Spoerl, President, Adopt America Network; and Aimee Reid, Executive Artistic Director, Children’s Theatre Workshop of Toledo
Photo Credit: Jeremy Wadsworth/The Blade


About Our 2022 Nonprofit Excellence Award Winners

Excellence in Collaborative Programming

Connecting Kids To Meals' Summer and Afterschool Meal Program demonstrates collaboration in its community by connecting its expertise of Federal Child Nutrition Programs to partner with schools, libraries, afterschool programs, emergency shelters, community centers, summer programs and City parks/pools to increase access to healthy meals at no cost for kids ages 18 and under around the community. With over 19 years of history feeding kids, this agency is the largest provider of hot meals to kids during out-of-school time in northwest Ohio. The community program providers, which number well over 200, offer quality educational, enrichment, sports and fun activities, but if kids are hungry, they won't be able to learn or play at their maximum potential. Connecting Kids to Meals’ Afterschool and Summer Meal Program is designed to eliminate the barriers that kids face that prevent them from getting nutritious meals that their bodies and minds need for proper development. All of these collaborations are impactful and are the reason why Connecting Kids To Meals has been and expects to continue effectively combatting child food insecurity for years.
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Excellence in Organizational Operations

Adopt America Network’s board and president together maintain a high-performing, sustainable organization that consistently achieves excellent programmatic and operational results. Currently, seven board members and two advisory members are adoptive parents who bring lived experience to discussions and decisions. One board member is an adoptee and parent of a child from foster care. This inclusiveness, as well as racial and gender diversity on the board, reflects Adopt America’s service population, and brings continuous quality improvement and mission focus. Adopt America Network’s program of assisting families committed to parenting a child from foster care has been supported by contributed income throughout its 39-year history, never charging a family for training, home study, matching or placement services. This helps many children find permanency who would otherwise emancipate from foster care.

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Excellence in Strategic Action

Children’s Theatre Workshop of Toledo – Having outgrown its rented space in the Collingwood Arts Center, the Children’s Theatre Workshop collaborated with Leadership Toledo in 2019 to identify potential spaces and conduct needs assessments for a space of our own. With assistance from the Chamber of Commerce, they explored the historic Ohio Theatre, which had recently closed. Working with The Chamber, Lucas County Land Bank and others, they coordinated the sale of the Ohio Theatre which allowed for the purchase of the facility. Working with Marcy Kaptur and her team, Children’s Theatre Workshop was able to secure a sizeable grant to care for the Ohio landmark and provide a creative space for Children’s Theatre Workshop’s 400+ students. Part of the move to the Ohio Theatre involved acquiring a better understanding of the area and its needs. The Old North End, where the Ohio Theatre is located, is a low-to-moderate income neighborhood, as are the surrounding zip codes. Leadership began researching ways to change its model from a flat tuition rate to a sliding scale model, based on household income and size. Tuition only covers half of what it costs to run the organization; the rest is raised through grants, donations and ticket sales.  As a result of these successful asks and partnerships, Children’s Theatre Workshop is poised to move to a sliding scale model in its 2022-2023 season, making its programs more accessible for its new neighbors.

About Greater Toledo Community Foundation

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 900 funds with assets of approximately $354 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, follow us on Facebook and 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, click here or contact Milva Valenzuela Wagner, Director.

Background on Awards

Collaborative Programming: This award showcases a joint initiative that leverages the skills and resources of multiple nonprofit partners to deliver excellent service to residents of northwest Ohio or southeast Michigan.  Creative partnerships lead to greater impact in the community by reaching underserved audiences and avoiding duplication of service.

Organizational Operations: This award recognizes organizations for overall excellence. The strongest applications will demonstrate active involvement by staff, board members, volunteers and constituents in advancing the mission of the organization.  Eligible applicants must have 501(c)(3) nonprofit status for at least five years and have a local governance and management structure in place.

Strategic Action: This award highlights organizations that have strategically expanded programming or pivoted to a new service delivery model to better meet a community need.  Priority consideration will be given to projects that utilized data and metrics to identify a gap in service, aligned with community-wide planning efforts and successfully implemented and sustained the expansion.  It is anticipated that projects will still be active and have completed the strategic action within the past five years, but the committee will consider older initiatives as well. 

Past Award Recipients

Nonprofit Innovation                                                               Nonprofit Excellence – Large Organization
Unison Behavioral Health Group (2011)                              Hospice of Northwest Ohio (2011)                             
Bittersweet Farms (2012)                                                        Advocates for Basic Legal Equality, Inc. and
The Arts Commission of Greater Toledo (2013)                 Legal Aid of Western Ohio, Inc.  (2012)
Shared Lives Studio / Lott Industries (2014)                      East Toledo Family Center (2013)
Imagination Station (2015)                                                     Cherry Street Mission Ministries (2014)
Advocating Opportunity, Inc. (2016)                                    Family & Child Abuse Prevention Center (2015)
A Renewed Mind (2017)                                                          Catholic Club (2016)
Center of Hope Family Services (2018)                                Thomas M. Wernert Center (2017)
Neighborhood Properties (2019)                                           Boys & Girls Clubs of Toledo (2018)
Midstory (2020)                                                                        Habitat for Humanity-Maumee Valley (2019)
Valentine Theatre (2021)                                                         Bittersweet Farms (2020)
                                                                                                       The Victory Center (2021)

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)
Great Lakes Collaborative for Autism (2017)
Leadership Toledo (2018)
Lucas County CASA (2019)
Baby University (2020)
Friends of Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge (2021)

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