I'm back home after attending the CLASSY Awards, which bills itself as "the largest philanthropic awards ceremony in the country, recognizing the most outstanding philanthropic achievements by charities, businesses and individuals nationwide." The event, produced by Stay Classy, a for-profit social enterprise that provides nonprofits with a social fundraising platform, was held in the San Diego Civic Theatre and attended primariy by a very well-dressed Gen X and Gen Y crowd.
Classy Awards were given out in 12 categories: Charity of the Year (The Soldiers Project), Small Charity of the Year (Long Way Home), Best New Charity (Marley's Mission), Most Creative Fundraiser by a Charity (Alex's Lemonade Stand Foundation), Most Effective Awareness Campaign by a Charity (Invisible Children), Most Innovative Use of Social Media by a Charity (I'm Too Young for This! Cancer Foundation), Volunteer of the Year (Troy Yocum), Young Nonprofit Leader of the Year (Faith Huckel), Most Successful Fundraiser by an Individual or Group (Blanchard Memorial School's 6th Grade Class), Most Influential College Student or College Organization (Northwestern University Dance Marathon), Philanthropic Business of the Year (Panera Bread), and Philanthropic Small Business of the Year (NIKA Water). Nominations (including self-nominations) were solicited online, vetted, qualified, subjected to public vote (over 250,000), and reviewed by a panel of judges, including representatives from Guidestar, Net Impact, several YNPN chapters, Volunteer San Diego, and some commercial event sponsors.
I love the idea of this event but hope it continues to work on its execution. As an attendee who did not get a chance to read the program in advance of the event, I was unfamiliar with the vast majority of the nominees and winners. So, while I did get some brief snippets of what inspirational and incredible work is being carried out by some of the presenters (e.g., Yael Cohen and Fuck Cancer) and winners, I wanted so much more. Please click on the links to the winners to see some of these stories.
And one final thought from the Classy's that stuck with me came from Adam Garone, CEO and co-founder of Movember. What started as a bunch of college friends growing mustaches in the month of November as a goof developed into a movement of nearly 450,000 "Mo Bros" raising over $80 million in 2010 for men's health issues, particularly prostate cancer. Anyone can start a movement.