WEDU PBS Honors Area Nonprofits and Volunteers During 15th Annual WEDU Be More Awards

Tampa, FL (March 20, 2020) — WEDU PBS announced the winners of the 15th Annual WEDU Be More Awards on Thursday, February 27th at the Bryan Glazer Family JCC in Tampa. Continuing the tradition of honoring West Central Florida nonprofit organizations and volunteers, the annual event began at 11:00 a.m. with the Hall of Heroes and was followed by an inspiring luncheon and awards ceremony for more than 400 guests.

The WEDU Be More Awards was created by WEDU 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.

Utilizing a panel of impartial judges who spent weeks reviewing applications and nominations, WEDU recognized 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 (2019).

To help commemorate the 15th year of the community event, guest presenters included: Alissa Fischel, Bryan Glazer Family JCC; Paul Grove, WEDU PBS President and CEO; local hosts of WEDU PBS Dalia Colon, Ernest Hooper and Geoff Simon; WEDU CAB member Lissette Campos; Starting Right, Now! Executive Director Vicki Sokolik and Mason Dixon of Q105.

The winner of this year’s Be More Unstoppable Nonprofit of the Year Award will be featured on an upcoming episode of Up Close with Cathy Unruh and received a $2,500 Community Investment Grant from WEDU.

The winners 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. Sponsored by duPont Registry.

Julie Weintraub’s Hands Across the Bay

Florida Blue 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. Sponsored by Florida Blue.

Mrbubblez Inc.

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.

Academy Prep Foundation, Inc.

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. Sponsored by Nielsen.

K9 Partners for Patriots

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.

New Tampa Players

People’s Choice Award | This award is driven by an online poll with votes from the general public in the WEDU viewing area. The poll automatically includes a listing of all organizations that submitted an application. 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 the community.

Florida Cancer Specialists Foundation

Best Use of Video Award | Awarded to the organization that tells a compelling story through video that has the power to compel someone to seek services, volunteer time, or support an organization financially. The winner is chosen by majority vote.

Gigi’s Playhouse

Rising Star Award | This award will recognize an individual, under the age of 21, who has distinguished himself or herself 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. The top candidates that achieved the most votes via an online poll will be further researched by an impartial judging panel to decide the ultimate winner.

Giovanni Scanio, FOOT Foundation

Engaged Philanthropist Award | This award will recognize an individual who has distinguished himself or herself in the nonprofit community by engaging entrepreneurial skills to build a successful nonprofit endeavor. Examples may include: Utilizing a keen business sense to build a new nonprofit serving our community; providing the driving force for a unique and successful fundraising campaign to support an existing nonprofit organization’s initiative. The top candidates that 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.

Jonathan Benjamin, American Lung Association

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. Sponsored by Ultimate Medical Academy.

Bikes for Christ, 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.

Tom Cook, Children First, Inc.

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.

The Kind Mouse Productions, Inc.

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.

Mrbubblez, Inc.

This event is proudly supported by these community partners:

Community Partners - Neisel, Warren Averett, Tampa General Hospital, Florida Blue, American Marketing, JCC, The Bank of Tampa, Ultimate Medical Academy, DR Tampa Bay, Tampa Bay Times, Bernard F. and Mary Ann Powell Foundation, Community Foundation