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Chamber, Community Partnership create award to honor nonprofit

July 25, 2003|by MARLO BARNHART

marlob@herald-mail.com

There are more than 330 nonprofit agencies in Washington County, and the Hagerstown-Washington County Chamber of Commerce plans to honor one of them for its work.

The chamber is partnering with the Community Foundation of Washington County to single out one agency as the NonProfit of the Year during the annual Focus on Philanthropy Forum in November.

The winner will receive a $1,000 grant.

"We are trying to raise the awareness of philanthropy in this county," said United Way Executive Director James Taylor, who spearheaded the contest. "The goal is to highlight an organization that is really doing something."

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Brad Sell, executive director of the Community Foundation, said the impact of nonprofits goes beyond economic contributions made by the people who work for those agencies and pay taxes.

Taylor said many nonprofits, like Goodwill, employ large numbers of people in jobs throughout the county or bring services to hundreds of youths, like the Boys & Girls Club.

Sell said all nonprofits that are registered with the Internal Revenue Service as a 501(c)(3) agency are eligible and have access to a two-page entry form that must be filled out and returned to the Chamber by Sept. 5.

"Those agencies range from booster clubs on up," Sell said.

It is expected that the nomination process will be driven by the nonprofits themselves, but they can be suggested by people whose lives were affected by the agency's impact on them, Sell said.

"Such a person could then work with the agency and help it put together its application or be an example," Taylor said.

In addition to mandatory verification of their nonprofit status, the agencies have the option of enclosing up to 10 pages of additional material such as media clippings or financial reports to further illustrate their work.

For the past two years, the Chamber has sponsored a philanthropy forum with a speaker, an event that was modestly attended, Sell said. This year, with the addition of the competition, the hope is that attendance will improve.

The keynote speaker at the Nov. 18 event at the Four Points Sheraton is to be J. Lewis Saylor, director of staff and planning at the Centreville (Va.) United Methodist Church. He also is president of Saylor Solutions Unlimited Inc.

Questions about the contest may be directed to Chamber Executive Director Fred Teeter at 301-739-2015, ext. 102, or to Fred@Hagerstown.org.

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