Philanthropists honored for helping othersWritten by Brandi Barhite | Community Ombudsman | firstname.lastname@example.org
Two new awards will be given at the National Philanthropy Day luncheon scheduled for Nov. 13 at the Francisan Center on the campus of Lourdes College.
The young philanthropist and media awards were added to the lineup at the recommendation of the Association of the Fundraising Professionals (AFP). AFP of Northwest Ohio is presenting the luncheon and distributing its annual awards.
A second-year medical student at UT, Brooke Johnson of Bryan, is receiving the first-ever Outstanding Youth in Philanthropy Award, ages 18 to 23. Johnson helped establish a new medical scholarship endowment for Ohio students named for Dr. Jerri Nielson, an inspiration for Johnson since she was a young girl.
Nielson recently spoke to future doctors at the UT Health Science Campus. She received worldwide attention when she was air-rescued from Antarctica after treating her self for breast cancer.
“I had always been intrigued by her story,” Johnson said. “It was one of those stories that I continually come back to in rough times.”
Concerned about the rising cost of medical school and Ohio’s pending shortage of physicians, Johnson approached the development office for guidance on how to establish a scholarship. Andrew Nyberg, a medical student, was also involved in the scholarship formation.
“At first, we thought the project was going to be a long shot, but she took it and went with it,” said Jennifer Schaefer, director of development, who nominated Johnson.
Schaefer lauds Johnson for volunteering her time, soliciting gifts and helping raise awareness on the financial challenges for medical students. Johnson said the average medical student is $150,000 in debt after graduating.
“Brooke is certainly going to go places with her passion and dedication,” Schaefer said.
The annual scholarship will be awarded to an Ohio student who intends to spend her or his medical career serving an Ohio community, in particular for students growing up in rural communities with an interest in working in an emergency room. Johnson said the scholarship will be $3,000 and could eventually go to more than one student.
2008 Outstanding Media Outlet/Best Nonprofit Media Coverage: The Sentinel-Tribune
The Sentinel-Tribune of Bowling Green was nominated by BGSU in recognition of its strong, consistent community support with regard to media coverage and financial contributions to organizations in its service area.
Under the leadership of Richard “Dick” Morris, vice president and general manager, The Sentinel-Tribune supports BGSU, the annual Wood County Spelling Bee, The Black Swamp Arts Festival, the Wood County Humanitarian Awards and numerous other organizations and events. The paper’s contributions to BGSU total $147,835 in direct support.
“For years, we have had extensive coverage on nonprofits,” said editor David C. Miller.
The paper covers fundraisers, but that is more likely to end up on page two, he said. The paper is more interested in what the nonprofit does for the community with the money it receives, which could get front-page coverage.
The Sentinel-Tribune regularly devotes space to announcements, stories and photos related to local service organizations. Twice per month, the paper features columns devoted to issues of community mental health. The paper has also received state and national recognition for employing individuals with disabilities.
Miller said about one dozen years ago, big stories about nonprofits ripping off people and not living up to their promises dominated the news. Some charities were using a lot of money to get the word out and not a lot of money to help people. The media continues to serve as a watchdog, but usually the media just won’t really go out of their way to cover nonprofits that have red flags, he said.
Miller said the rough economy is not a problem for charities trying to raise money.
“What I am seeing is that there are so many more nonprofits competing for the donations and that is a neat thing and problematic thing,” he said.
2008 Outstanding Foundation: David C. and Lura M. Lovell Foundation
The David C. and Lura “Lu” M. Lovell Foundation has used its resources to fund programs in mental illness, integrative medicine and education in the greater Toledo area.
The Lovell Foundation has awarded more than $3.5 million in grants to organizations, including Hospice of Northwest Ohio, which nominated the foundation for this award, Lutheran Social Services Planned Lifetime, Assistance Network of NW Ohio, National Alliance for the Mentally Ill of Greater Toledo, Neighborhood Properties Inc., Toledo Public Schools’ Partners In Education, Toledo Symphony and Corpus Christi Parish.
In addition to the foundation’s financial support, Lu Lovell and her family have given generously of their time. She was also instrumental in finding funding to open Neighborhood Properties, Inc. Lovell has been involved with and supportive of Hospice of Northwest Ohio for three decades.
In the 1980s, she was chairwoman of the Mental Health Board when Hospice received grant funding to begin services in the community.
“We are honored and thrilled,” Lovell said of the award. “It is a great thing to do what you love to do and get an award for it.”
The foundation was formed after her husband died in 1993.
“We have been funding in Toledo and in Tucson and we fund where some of the trustees live. It is a wonderful endeavor. We get back more than we give out.
“Our mission is to try to support education about mental illness and support the advancement of integrated medicine and support in cultural or spiritual advancement,” she said. “There are so many needy groups, you have to make those tough decisions.”
2008 Outstanding Philanthropist: James R. Findlay Sr.
Businessman Jim Findlay, Sr. has touched countless lives across Northwest Ohio through his involvement with UT, Lourdes College, Flower Hospital, Big Brothers and Sisters of Northwest Ohio, Lutheran Social Services and numerous other charities.
He has held leadership positions with these organizations, given his time to direct service, shared his business expertise and made significant financial contributions to organizations across the region. Findlay was nominated by UT in recognition of his generous support and commitment to the community.
“Yes, I was very surprised,” Findlay said of the award. “There are so many great individuals out there doing great things, and I am just another guy.”
“Jim Findlay’s philanthropy touches almost every area of the University of Toledo,” said UT president Lloyd Jacobs in a statement. “His generosity has a significant positive impact on all of our students. He is Mr. UT.”
Findlay said when growing up, his family was not in the position to give much, so when he was, he wanted to give. When he sold his business, Impact Products, the employees got 85 percent of it — like a bonus, he said.
2008 Outstanding Volunteer Fundraiser: Rita Mansour
Rita Mansour’s commitment to the community is reflected by three nominations — from the Arts Commission of Greater Toledo, Chicks for Charity and Toledo Opera — that she received for this award. Rita is a Toledo native, an alumna of UT and serves as the senior managing director at Thomas McDonald Partners.
“I give on my own because I am not going to ask if I am not going to give on my own,” she said.
Mansour is the chairwoman of the Development Committee for the Arts Commission of Greater Toledo and chairwoman of the Development Committee for the Toledo Opera, a role that included helping to bring to completion the organization’s $2 million endowment campaign. Mansour was also one of the original “Chicks in Charge” who helped launch Chicks for Charity, a socially conscious group of women who assist nonprofits.
“Rita leads by example and commitment. She is one of the first to stand up and support an organization and to share her understanding and concern with others in the community,” according to the nomination form.
“I help the arts commission and the opera and children’s hospital,” Mansour said.
She said cultural arts are important to the economic viability of the community. When people consider moving to an area, they look at the schools, the arts and the health care available.
“I see Toledo as an unrealized gem,” Mansour said. “We are actually very fortunate — we have so much depth and breadth here. When you grow up here, you tend to not know what we have here.”