SARASOTA/BRADENTON, FL – In recognition of April as National Volunteer Month and as a prelude to the upcoming Goodwill Week observance May 7-13, Goodwill Manasota held its fifth annual Ambassador Recognition Luncheon on April 28. This event recognizes those who make a commitment to share the mission of Goodwill with the greater community by volunteering at events, speaking on the organization’s behalf, creating new fundraisers, and introducing their friends, family and colleagues to Goodwill.
A crowd of more than 250 watched as nearly 50 awards were given, honoring individuals, local businesses, nonprofits, and vendors who go over and above in service to the organization. The event opened with the emcee, Goodwill vice president Veronica Brandon Miller, acknowledging the sponsor of the event, Bouchard Insurance.
“We feel there is no better way to wind down our event season than to recognize the many ways our corporate partners and individual donors and volunteers contribute to our success,” said Miller. “Our Ambassadors recognize and understand the importance of what we do to give people a hand up and get them on their way to self-sufficiency; we could not succeed in our mission of changing lives through the power of work without their commitment, passion and generosity.”
To celebrate the fifth anniversary of the Ambassador Program, a number of individuals and companies were honored with the Presidential Volunteer Service Award. Honorees were: Bronze, Adams & Reese LLP; Silver, Fred Lopez; Gold, Children’s World, Ben Knisely, and Mary LeMay, and, for the first time, three Youth Ambassadors were recognized: Faith Holliday, Brianna Moss and Drew Taylor. Receiving the Presidential Lifetime Achievement Award was Jo Rita Stevens for her 10,000 hours of volunteer service to Goodwill.
The big award winner was Stella McDaniel, who received the Volunteer of the Year award. “I love Goodwill. I love its mission and what they do for our community,” said McDaniel. “I am truly blessed to be a part of an amazing group and know that I am contributing to changing lives.”
Over the past five and a half years, the Goodwill Ambassador program has attracted nearly 1,500 participants and grown into a successful partnership that connects volunteers to the philanthropic community. To learn more about the Goodwill Ambassador program, call (941) 355-2721.
About Goodwill Manasota
Goodwill Manasota is an industry-leading, 501(c)(3), not-for-profit organization that changes lives through the power of work. With the sales of donated goods and philanthropic donations, Goodwill is able to assist people with disabilities and other barriers to employment by providing job skills training and employment opportunities. In 2016, Goodwill Manasota served 28,207 people, placed 755 people in jobs and assisted 240 veterans as they reintegrated back into the civilian workforce. Goodwill Manasota’s economic impact back to the community is worth $92.1 million. Goodwill is one of the pioneers of the reduce-reuse-recycle movement and this past year diverted more than 40 million pounds out of the landfill. We accomplish our mission through a network of Good Neighbor Centers in Sarasota, Manatee, Hardee and DeSoto counties and our Mission Development Services (MDS) around North America. Goodwill Manasota is accountable to a local Board of Directors. Goodwill Manasota, in essence, belongs to this community and is not owned by any individual or company. For more information, visit www.experiencegoodwill.org.