Area Nonprofits and Volunteers Announced as Finalists for 14th Annual WEDU Be More Awards

Tampa, FL — WEDU PBS announced today the finalists for the 2019 WEDU Be More Awards. The fourteenth annual WEDU Be More Awards will take place on Thursday, February 28, 2019 at the Bryan Glazer JCC in Tampa. The annual community event will begin at 11:00 a.m. with the Hall of Heroes followed by an inspiring luncheon and awards ceremony starting at 12:00 p.m. Tickets are available online at

Utilizing a panel of impartial judges who spent weeks reviewing applications and nominations, WEDU, West Central Florida’s PBS station, will recognize nonprofit organizations and individuals who applied or were nominated for honors in a variety of categories ‐ culminating with one organization being named the WEDU Be More Unstoppable, Nonprofit Organization of the Year (2018).

The WEDU Be More Awards was created by WEDU PBS to help raise awareness for local nonprofits and their service to West Central Florida. Annually, the program helps introduce new donors, volunteers, and those in need of services to the worthy nonprofit organizations. The finalists include:

Dupont Registry Tampa Bay Special Events Award | This award recognizes the uniqueness and effectiveness of a special event and the success in achieving outlined objectives. Examples may include: A related series of events, single original event, or fundraiser to recognize, salute, assist, celebrate people or businesses, brand your organization and/or build/strengthen relationships with supporters.

  • Brothers United Building Alliance, Inc.
  • Children’s Cancer Center
  • Julie Weintraub’s Hands Across the Bay
  • RCS Pinellas
  • The Florida Orchestra
  • Wheelchair 4 Kids

Innovation Award | This 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. Examples may include: Resourcefulness when challenged with a limited budget; superior utilization of collaborative community partnerships; or ingenious staffing options by mobilizing members and/or volunteer support.

  • Community Food Pantry
  • Crisis Center of Tampa Bay
  • Gulf Coast Jewish Family and Community Services, Inc.
  • K9 Partners for Patriots
  • Tampa Theatre
  • The Arc Tampa Bay Foundation

Bank of Tampa Educational Outreach Award | This award will recognize the organization that through a specific project offered guidance, knowledge, emotional or physical support, and/or a mentorship program aimed at improving specific aspects of community life. The project should introduce and/or conducting programs to enrich and empower the community. Examples may include: Outreach or educational programs that effectively raised awareness or brought a new audience to an organization or cause.

  • Children First, Inc.
  • Embracing Our Difference (Coexistence, Inc.)
  • Girl Scouts of West Central Florida
  • Pace Center for Girls
  • Ready for Life, Inc.
  • The Junior League of Tampa
  • University of South Florida College of Education

Nielsen Marketing Campaign Award | This award recognizes the execution of creative and results-driven original marketing campaigns using multimedia platforms including, but not limited to, broadcast, print, social media and/or grassroots awareness campaigns. The applicant should demonstrate direct impact to established goals. Examples may include: A support element or collection of elements developed to promote, publicize, introduce, or create an identity or brand for a specific organization, service, program, or idea.

  • League of Women Voters of St. Petersburg Area
  • The Arc Tampa Bay Foundation

Greenberg Traurig Arts & Culture Award | This award recognizes culturally-based organizations that contribute to the spirit of adventure and exploration through education in the arts and culture by creating an exciting and engaging museum experience to visitors. Examples may include: Programs or experiences related to the arts, performance, historic, or zoological; programs that provide cultural experiences to audiences who might not otherwise have opportunities to witness or be an active participant.

  • American Stage
  • Pyramid
  • Warehouse Arts District

Ultimate Medical Academy Small Nonprofit Award | This award will recognize the small nonprofit that best demonstrates the truth in statement that “big things come in small packages.” This award will recognize organizations with a budget under $500,000 and despite its modest size, has a major positive impact on our community. The top candidates have achieved the most votes via an online poll during the voting period will be further researched by an impartial judging panel to decide the ultimate winner.

  • Family Promise of Hillsborough County
  • FOOT Foundation
  • GiGi’s Playhouse Tampa
  • MEOW Now
  • Water Smart Tots, Inc.

Mason Dixon Award for Volunteerism | One person can make an extraordinary difference. These award finalists were culled from an online poll driven by votes from the general public in the WEDU viewing area. Local radio personality and philanthropist, Mason Dixon, will ultimately choose and present the award to the most-deserving recipient from nominees that receive the most online support during the voting period.

  • Cindy Grant
  • Deborah Humphrey
  • Delta Sigma Theta
  • Dino & Lisa Scanio
  • Julie Weintraub
  • Sydney Merritt

Engaged Philanthropist Award | This award recognizes an individual who has distinguished himself or herself in the nonprofit community by engaging entrepreneurial skills and expertise to build or support a successful nonprofit endeavor. Top candidates that received the most votes in an online poll during the voting period were further researched by an impartial judging panel to decide the ultimate winner.

  • JerJuan Green
  • Jonathan Moore
  • Julie Weintraub
  • Kyle Matthews
  • Pam Mosher

Rising Star Award | This award recognizes an individual, under the age of 21, who has distinguished themselves in the community directly accredited to their inspiration, dedication, motivation, or acts of kindness. Nominees represent up-and-comers whose accomplishments in, and contributions to, our community make them stand out among their peers and position them as future leaders. Top candidates that achieved the most votes via an online poll were further researched by an impartial judging panel to decide the ultimate winner.

  • Anne Bauer
  • Graci Tubbs
  • Harsh Bagdy
  • Sally Campbell

Best Use of Video Award | This award honors a video that tells a compelling story about an organization that has the power to compel someone to seek services, volunteer time, or support the organization financially. Top candidates that have achieved the most votes via an online poll are further reviewed by an impartial judging panel to decide the ultimate winner.

  • Academy Prep
  • Beat Nb
  • Crisis Center of Tampa Bay
  • Habitat for Humanity of Pinellas County

People’s Choice Award | This award is driven by an online poll with votes from the general public in the WEDU viewing area. This prestigious award exhibits the connection and relationship the organization has with the community and the people it serves by allowing area citizens to honor the nonprofit that they feel most exemplifies the spirit of community.

  • Community Food Pantry
  • Gulf Coast Jewish Family and Community Services, Inc.
  • K9 Partners for Patriots
  • Pace Center for Girls
  • The Arc Tampa Bay Foundation
  • Wheelchairs 4 Kids

ABC Action News Positively Tampa Bay Award | This honor will be bestowed upon an individual or group of people whose simple act of kindness made a tremendous impact on someone’s life. The winner will be selected based on the selfless giving of time, treasure or talents. Nominees and finalists will be selected by ABC Action News. The semi-finalists and ultimate winner will be chosen by ABC Action News’ Positively Tampa Bay and The Ryan Nece Foundation – the inspiration for this award.

  • Austin Azzarelli
  • Camden Grant
  • Delwyn Collins
  • Mike Hale

Judges’ Choice Award | The Judges’ Choice Award is given to an organization demonstrating an overall appeal due to its original and extraordinary approach to its respective. Not necessarily driven by an organization’s measurable results, this award is decided entirely by the WEDU Be More Award judges based on majority vote and consensus.

  • Academy Prep Centers of Education
  • Arts Conservatory for Teens
  • Hispanic Services Council
  • St. Petersburg Free Clinic
  • Starting Right, Now

Nonprofit of the Year Award | This award is the most coveted and is determined through extensive research. It is ultimately decided by an independent judging committee and given to one organization that, through a superior level of service, helps their constituency be more. Selected from all submitted applications, the criteria to win this award consists of overall organizational excellence; fulfillment of the Four Commitments to the Community, including service to the organizations’ constituency, level of community impact, financial viability and embodiment of overall community goodwill. In addition to many other benefits, the organization recognized with this award receives a $2,500 WEDU Community Investment Grant.

  • Children First, Inc.
  • Crisis Center of Tampa Bay
  • Brothers United Building Brothers Alliance, Inc.
  • Julie Weintraub’s Hands Across the Bay
  • Pace Center for Girls
  • Warehouse Arts District

This event is proudly supported by these community partners:

BMA 2019 Sponsors - ABC Action News, Tampa Bay Times, JCC, 200 Muslim Women Who Care, Nielsen, The Bank of Tampa, DR Tampa Bay, Ultimate Medical Academy, Greenberg Traurig, Florida Blue, Warren Averett, Tech Energy, American Marketing, Community Foundation, The Bernard F. and Mary Ann Powell Foundation