Honoring Innovation & Excellence

Thanks for helping us celebrate!

From left Excellence in Collaborative Programming winner Wendi Huntley, Esq., President of Connecting Kids to Meals, Excellence in Organizational Operations winner Wendy Spoerl, Adopt America Network President, and Excellence in Strategic Action winner, Aimee Reid, Executive Artistic Director of the Children’s Theatre Workshop of Toledo. Photo Credit: The Blade/Jeremy Wadsworth


To see all past recipients, click here.

Local nonprofit organizations nominated themselves for these awards, and winners were chosen by a committee comprised of sponsor representatives and a past recipient of the awards. Winners receive a one-of-a-kind glass award, $7,500 in unrestricted grant money from Greater Toledo Community Foundation and $1,000 in unrestricted grant money from The Andersons, plus a half-page ad in The Blade.

About the Awards

The Northwest Ohio Nonprofit Excellence Awards were designed to honor and recognize outstanding nonprofit organizations and their achievements in our community. Awards are given to three nonprofit organizations, one in each of the following categories:

Excellence in Collaborative Programming

Connecting Kids To Meals‘ Summer and Afterschool Meal Program demonstrates collaboration in its community by connecting its expertise of Federal Child Nutrition Programs to partner with schools, libraries, afterschool programs, emergency shelters, community centers, summer programs and City parks/pools to increase access to healthy meals at no cost for kids ages 18 and under around the community. With over 19 years of history feeding kids, this agency is the largest provider of hot meals to kids during out-of-school time in northwest Ohio. The community program providers, which number well over 200, offer quality educational, enrichment, sports and fun activities, but if kids are hungry, they won’t be able to learn or play at their maximum potential. Connecting Kids to Meals’ Afterschool and Summer Meal Program is designed to eliminate the barriers that kids face that prevent them from getting nutritious meals that their bodies and minds need for proper development. All of these collaborations are impactful and are the reason why Connecting Kids To Meals has been and expects to continue effectively combatting child food insecurity for years.

Excellence in Organizational Operations

Adopt America Network’s board and president together maintain a high-performing, sustainable organization that consistently achieves excellent programmatic and operational results. Currently, seven board members and two advisory members are adoptive parents who bring lived experience to discussions and decisions. One board member is an adoptee and parent of a child from foster care. This inclusiveness, as well as racial and gender diversity on the board, reflects Adopt America’s service population, and brings continuous quality improvement and mission focus. Adopt America Network’s program of assisting families committed to parenting a child from foster care has been supported by contributed income throughout its 39-year history, never charging a family for training, home study, matching or placement services. This helps many children find permanency who would otherwise emancipate from foster care.

Excellence in Strategic Action

Children’s Theatre Workshop of Toledo – Having outgrown its rented space in the Collingwood Arts Center, the Children’s Theatre Workshop collaborated with Leadership Toledo in 2019 to identify potential spaces and conduct needs assessments for a space of our own. With assistance from the Chamber of Commerce, they explored the historic Ohio Theatre, which had recently closed. Working with The Chamber, Lucas County Land Bank and others, they coordinated the sale of the Ohio Theatre which allowed for the purchase of the facility. Working with Marcy Kaptur and her team, Children’s Theatre Workshop was able to secure a sizeable grant to care for the Ohio landmark and provide a creative space for Children’s Theatre Workshop’s 400+ students. Part of the move to the Ohio Theatre involved acquiring a better understanding of the area and its needs. The Old North End, where the Ohio Theatre is located, is a low-to-moderate income neighborhood, as are the surrounding zip codes. Leadership began researching ways to change its model from a flat tuition rate to a sliding scale model, based on household income and size. Tuition only covers half of what it costs to run the organization; the rest is raised through grants, donations and ticket sales.  As a result of these successful asks and partnerships, Children’s Theatre Workshop is poised to move to a sliding scale model in its 2022-2023 season, making its programs more accessible for its new neighbors.