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Award Winners Featured on Mainebiz Sunday

by Annie Sutton

The winners of the 2010 Governor’s Award for Nonprofit Excellence were the featured guests on Mainebiz Sunday, a weekly business news program. Noah Nesin, Medical Director of Health Access Network, Ari Solotoff, Executive Director of Portland Symphony Orchestra, and Megan Williams, Executive Director of Hardy Girls Healthy Women share their thoughts on what they are doing to stay viable in the wake of a global recession. Watch online here: http://www.mainebiz.biz/mainebizsunday.html

About the award winners:

Based in Lincoln, this year’s large division award winner, Health Access Network, is dedicated to making a difference in the lives of their patients and community by providing compassionate, high quality healthcare services focusing on the whole person, without financial or social discrimination. Due to its extensive involvement in emergency preparedness planning, Health Access Network was well prepared to respond to the emergence of the H1N1 flu epidemic. Because of its effectiveness in engaging various community entities, HAN received more vaccine than most other health providers in the state resulting in a remarkably “flu free” winter season. The organization’s CEO Dawn Cook said the award is “a great validation of all we’ve worked for” and added that the application process was “rewarding and fun.”

Portland Symphony Orchestra was awarded the medium division nonprofit award for its bold approach to tackling significant financial and demographic challenges in moving the organization towards financial sustainability in a challenging economic environment. In an effort to create a culture-shift within the organization, the leadership introduced a new line of thinking regarding financial and artistic decision-making. This shift moved them away from the hope that their optimistic fundraising goals would be met and guided them toward more realistic and conservative programmatic goals. They now “focus on how to thrive instead of how to simply survive” says Executive Director Ari Solotoff at Thursday’s award ceremony.

Waterville’s own Hardy Girls Healthy Women, a rapidly growing organization dedicated to creating opportunities, developing programs, and providing services that empower girls and women received the award in the small division. They have demonstrated their commitment to leadership development among both the girls they serve and their board members. Their work of fostering a new generation of leaders as well as ensuring their board of directors has the tools necessary to advocate on the organization’s behalf is what makes this organization stand out. Executive Director Megan Williams says she is “thrilled to have our programs and practices honored this way” and looks to Hardy Girls’ success as what “happens when you stop and listen to girls.”

The runner-up in the large division was Woodfords Family Services located in Westbrook. Spruce Run Association, located in Bangor, received second place in the medium nonprofit division and Camden-based Youth Arts received the honor in the small nonprofit division. Organizations that received Honorable Mention were SeniorsPlus in Bangor, The Children’s Center in Augusta, and Friends of Midcoast Maine in Camden.

About the awards:

The Governor’s Awards for Nonprofit Excellence program, launched in 2007, is built upon a series of assessment and capacity building tools, called the Guiding Principles and Practices of Nonprofit Excellence in Maine, that were developed by MANP. The awards program seeks to reward and encourage the nonprofit organizations that are continually innovating, experimenting and improving their operations to better accomplish their social missions.

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