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Three local nonprofit agencies were recognized today at the Innovation & Excellence Awards ceremony.
The Innovation Award was given to The Arts Commission of Greater Toledo; the small agency Excellence Award was presented to Toledo/Lucas County CareNet; and the large agency Excellence Award went to the East Toledo Family Center.
Each winning organization receives a $5,000 unrestricted grant from the Toledo Community Foundation, a $1,000 unrestricted grant from The Andersons; a full-page, full-color advertisement in The Blade; and a one-of-a-kind “glass creation” by local artist Shawn Messenger.
The Blade and Toledo Community Foundation partnered with The Center for Nonprofit Resources in 2011 to establish the awards, honoring agencies and their community contributions.
The Arts Commission of Greater Toledo received the award for its work on the You Are Here project.
Last year, 100 dots designed by local artists were placed on sidewalks around the city to showcase “the uniqueness of our community.”
A smartphone application was created by Hanson, Inc., that allowed users to go on a scavanger hunt to collect images of the dots with the potential to win prizes.
Marc Folk, executive director of The Arts Commission, said the project motivated people to explore parts of the city they hadn't before.
One couple, he recalled, had been planning an out-of-town weekend and, instead, stayed in Toledo to explore, looking for the dots, and visiting new-to-them businesses and restaurants citywide.
The project, which was recognized by a major design magazine, was “able to change perceptions,” he said.
The grant money the agency received will go toward a new project, Mr. Folk said.
Jan Ruma, executive director of CareNet, said her “small but mighty” staff works tirelessly to find medical services for low income and uninsured people and families across the county.
The clinic was established in 2003 and has partnerships with more than 220 volunteer specialists who provide free services to CareNet members.
Kim Parton, director of the East Toledo Family Center, said strong programming helps residents – primarily from East Toledo – of all ages access educational, recreational, and social programs.
The center is “committed to serving the community in any way we can,” she said.