Children's Village earns 'Impact' award

March 22, 2006|by TIFFANY ARNOLD


The chorus from the Academy Award-winning song "It's Hard Out Here for a Pimp" inspired the keynote speaker's address and set the tone for the rest of the morning.

There was one key revision, though.

"Mine would be more like, 'It's hard out here for a development professional of a nonprofit,'" Martin Conover said during the 5th annual "Focus on Philanthropy" awards ceremony Tuesday.

The Hagerstown-Washington County Chamber of Commerce hosted the event at the Four Points Sheraton on Dual Highway. Six local nonprofits were honored for their efforts in the community.


Children's Village of Washington County received the "Impact" award, a $1,000 gift from the Community Foundation of Washington County.

"We appreciate the opportunity to be recognized," said the organization's executive director, Rochelle Morrell.

Children's Village, which has been operating for 15 years, specializes in fire and personal safety education for youths, Morrell said.

Most second-grade students in Washington County spend at least two school days at Children's Village.

"A lot of people think we'll always be around," she said. "Some people think we're funded by the schools, but we must really raise our own funds."

Other organizations honored included Habitat for Humanity, Arc of Washington County, Washington County Commission on Aging, Boys & Girls Club of Washington County and Food Resources. Each of those organizations received a plaque.

Conover is president of Conover-Kirkwood LLC, a Baltimore consulting firm that works with nonprofits.

He said the purpose of the event wasn't to discuss who made the most money or to offer suggestions on how small nonprofits in Washington County can grow.

"I'm not here to give the 'How to Survive Fundraising 101' talk," Conover said.

He said, generally, a nonprofit's impact is improperly measured in dollars and not in how much it helped a community, calling it a "bring in da money" mentality.

Instead, nonprofits should focus on positive energy, Conover said.

"That capital campaign, that was wonderful, but did you feed 1,000 people?" Conover asked.

Nonprofit employees made up about 10 percent of the 64,960 workers in Washington County in 2003, the most recent figure available, said Bradley N. Sell, executive director of the Community Foundation.

"I'm not sure that people really know the true impact of what local nonprofits do," Conover said.

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