Be More


Each year, this multifaceted program celebrates the human spirit and showcases the best work by nonprofit organizations in West Central Florida and the individuals that support them.

WEDU PBS invites you to join us for the 13th Annual WEDU Be More Awards as we highlight the best works from area nonprofits as part of an award winning, nationally-recognized, and multi-media supported event.

America's Test Kitchen Event Buy Tickets


until the 2018 WEDU Be More Awards Luncheon & Ceremony

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Follow along and join the conversation on social media!





Innovation Award

Recognizes initiatives, projects, and/or services that are unique, creative, or innovative and will be presented to the organization responsible for the development, coordination, delivery, and results of the project.


  • ACTS (Agency for Community Treatment and Services) and Gracepoint
  • Beat Nb
  • Coexistence, Inc.
  • Pinellas Education Foundation
  • Seniors in Service, Inc.
  • Suncoast Hospice / Empath Health


Small Nonprofit Award

Recognizes an organization with a budget under $500,000 and despite its modest size, has a major positive impact on our community.


  • Family Promise of Hillsborough County, Inc.
  • FOOT Foundation
  • Inspire Equine Therapy Program
  • Sun City Center Security Patrol, Inc.
  • Water Smart Tots


Judges’ Choice Award

Recognizes an organization demonstrating an overall appeal due to its original and extraordinary approach to its respective project.


  • CASA (Community Action Stops Abuse, Inc.)
  • Crisis Center of Tampa Bay
  • Project Prosper, Inc.
  • Ritchie Hockey Foundation
  • The Junior League of Tampa, Inc.


Greenberg Traurig Arts & Culture Award

Recognizes culturally-based organizations that contribute to the spirit of adventure and exploration through education in the arts and culture.


  • American Stage
  • Pinellas Education Foundation
  • Wheels on Wheels, Dunedin Fine Art Center


duPont Registry Tampa Bay Special Events Award

Recognizes the uniqueness and effectiveness of a special event and the success in achieving outlined objectives.


  • Academy Prep Center of Tampa
  • Children’s Cancer Center
  • Early Learning Coalition of Pasco and Hernando Counties, Inc.
  • Pyramid, Inc.
  • The Arc Tampa Bay Foundation


Engaged Philanthropist Award

Recognizes an individual who has distinguished himself or herself in the nonprofit community by engaging entrepreneurial skills and expertise.


  • Anita Treiser and Robin Warren, The Florida Holocaust Museum
  • Julie Weintraub, Hands Across the Bay
  • Keli Mondello and Kim Kuruzovich, LiFT (Learning Independence for Tomorrow)
  • Vinnie Vaughn, Girl Scouts of West Central Florida


People’s Choice Award

Exhibits the connection and relationship the organization has with the community and the people it serves.


  • Early Learning Coalition of Pasco and Hernando Counties, Inc.
  • Community Food Pantry
  • Gulf Coast Jewish Family and Community Services, Inc.
  • Humane Society of Pinellas
  • University of South Florida St. Petersburg College of Education


Nielsen Marketing Campaign Award

Recognizes the execution of creative and results-driven original marketing campaigns using multimedia platforms.


  • Girl Scouts of West Central Florida
  • The Florida Holocaust Museum


Rising Star Award

Recognizes an individual, under the age of 21, who has distinguished himself or herself in the community.


  • Savannah Billet, Beat Nb
  • Riley Desin, Shriners Hospitals for Children
  • Lily Schneider, The Kind Mouse Productions, Inc.


Mason Dixon Award for Volunteerism

Bestowed upon the individual, family or group that has lent a unique voice to bring awareness, credence, support, or action to an issue or cause.


  • Edwina Kraemer, Canine Companions & GFWC
  • Kari Bahour, Water Smart Tots
  • Lisa Rooker, The Dysautonomia Project
  • Mary Lynne Hawkins, The Arc Tampa Bay Foundation
  • Melonie Hall, Family Promise of Hillsborough County, Inc.
  • Paul Freidlander, Pasco Kids First


The Bank of Tampa Educational Outreach Award

Recognizes an organization that through a specific project offered guidance, knowledge, emotional or physical support, and/or a mentorship program.


  • Firehouse Cultural Center, Inc.
  • Gulf Coast Jewish & Family Services, Inc.
  • Lake Wales Care Center
  • PACE Center for Girls
  • Starting Right, Now!
  • University of South Florida St. Petersburg College of Education


ABC Action News Award

Bestowed upon an individual or group of people whose simple act of kindness made a tremendous impact on someone’s life.


  • Judy Cornett
  • Bill and Lisa Gray
  • Michael Ploch
  • Officer Jason Tkach


Best Use of Video Award

Recognizes an organization with the best short video that has the power to compel someone to seek services, volunteer time, or support the organization financially.


  • Girl Scouts of West Central Florida
  • Great Explorations Children’s Museum
  • Humane Society of Pinellas
  • Jaylens Challenge Foundation, Inc.
  • LiFT (Learning Independence for Tomorrow)
  • The Kind Mouse Productions, Inc.


Nonprofit Organization of the Year

Awarded to one organization that, through a superior level of service, helps their constituency be more.


  • ACTS (Agency for Community Treatment and Services) and Gracepoint
  • Early Learning Coalition of Pasco and Hernando Counties, Inc.
  • PACE Center for Girls
  • Starting Right, Now!
  • University of South Florida St. Petersburg College of Education
  • Wheels on Wheels, Dunedin Fine Art Center


The WEDU Be More Awards are open to all nonprofit organizations located in the WEDU PBS viewing area.

This includes: Hillsborough, Pinellas, Manatee, Sarasota, Charlotte, Desoto, Highlands, Hardee, Polk, Osceola, Orange, Lake, Sumter, Citrus, Hernando, and Pasco Counties.

The submission of an application or nomination is free of charge to all nonprofit organizations.

  • Organizations may apply in more than one category by submitting a separate and distinct application packet.
  • All campaigns, events, projects, and programs must have occurred between September 1, 2016 and August 31, 2017.
  • Application packets must be submitted in an organized and cohesive manner using the official 2018 WEDU Be More Awards application available for download. Submissions not meeting this condition will not be eligible for an award.
  • All submissions become the property of WEDU PBS and will not be returned.

The winning organizations and individuals will be announced during the WEDU Be More Awards luncheon on Thursday, February 22, 2018 at Bryan Glazer Family Jewish Community Center. (Tickets are required to attend.)


The WEDU Be More Awards consist of a variety of categories. Please review the categories to determine the format of your submission. Some categories will require a completed, printed and signed application with supporting materials, while other categories require an online nomination.

If the category you are applying for requires a completed, printed and signed application, all requested information must be included or the applying organization will not be eligible for an award.

For application categories:

  • Include 2-4 examples of materials supporting your application that demonstrates why your organization is the most deserving of a WEDU Be More Award.
  • Applications must include a current copy of organization IRS determination letter indicating 501(c)(3) status.
  • Submitting organizations must include six (6) identical submission packets including your 2-4 examples to be distributed for judging. Copies of your WEDU Be More Awards application must be included with each packet. Applications and supporting materials will not be returned.

Award applications must be postmarked by November 6, 2017. WEDU is located at 1300 N Boulevard, Tampa, FL 33607. Applications may be delivered to WEDU Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Hand-delivered applications must arrive by 5 p.m. on November 6, 2017. Late submissions will not be accepted.


Final judging for the 13th Annual WEDU Be More Awards will take place from November 7, 2017 to December 11, 2017. The WEDU Be More Awards judges are impartial business, philanthropic and civic leaders from the WEDU viewing area. Judges will not review any organization’s application with which they have a personal or professional affiliation. All applications will be screened by WEDU staff members to ensure application criteria are met. Judges will not review incomplete applications. All judging is based on a point system. Top nominees in each category will be notified via telephone and a letter from WEDU no later than January 12, 2018. All decisions are final.


Best Practices & Tips for Applying

Over the years, we have collected a number of great ideas and suggestions from our WEDU Be More Awards judges. We hope you will take a few moments and review these helpful hints in order to make the most of your application submission. Good luck!

Tell us a great story:

“We want to not only hear about the overall success and outcomes, but we want to hear the stories of impact. Tell us how your project, event, outreach, or overall organization made a difference.”


Dot your i’s and cross your t’s:

“It’s heartbreaking for any organization to be disqualified because they overlooked including their IRS form or budget information for example. Double check to make sure everything that is required has been included before your application heads out the door.”


Keep it local:

“There are some great local chapters of National Organizations in our area going above and beyond. They need to share their local chapter story of how they are serving our local community.”


Thank the important people:

“Once you have taken the time to complete your application, take an extra minute or two to go online and nominate a volunteer or individual that helped you achieve the success you just described in your application. They’ll be honored you thought of them and they’ll keep coming back.”


Don’t lose focus:

“Focus each answer directly to the category in which you’re applying. So often, organizations will complete the application based on their organization as a whole instead of sharing the attributes of a great Special Event or Marketing Campaign.”

“Make sure if you are applying in multiple categories that your applications are unique and directly relate to the category.”


Play nicely with others:

“Especially in this day and age, nonprofits can’t exist without partners. Tell us about unique ways you collaborated with not only local companies but also with other nonprofit organizations. How did these partners support your outcome?”

“With budgets and staffs shrinking, we want to hear about how organizations have re-engaged, motivated, and mobilized volunteers and members in unique, fun, and effective ways.”


Toot your own horn:

“Just because you’ve been nominated in an online category, don’t stop there. Let your supporters know you need them to vote for you. Build a campaign around it. Shout it from the rooftops. It’s a great way to leverage awareness for your organization and even get lapsed supporters re-engaged. Don’t miss that opportunity.”



The 2018 WEDU Be More Awards are made possible by:

ABC Action News
Tampa Bay Times
Greenberg Traurig
duPont REGISTRY Tampa Bay
Bank of Tampa
Bryan Glazer Jewish Community Center
American Marketing
Community Foundation of Tampa Bay, strategic partner
Bernard F. and Mary Anne Powell Foundation
Interested in sponsoring the 2018 WEDU Be More Awards? Check out our sponsor packages (.PDF)
Follow and join the converstaion using #WEDUBeMore
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