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KENNEBUNK, Maine, Sept. 24 /PRNewswire/ -- After tallying nearly 100,000 consumer votes from around the country, Tom's of Maine announced today the five non-profit organizations that will each receive new volunteer support and $20,000 through its annual "50 States for Good" initiative. The program, designed to spotlight local nonprofit projects and volunteer needs, drew submissions from all 50 states.
KENNEBUNK, Maine, Sept. 24 /PRNewswire/ -- After tallying nearly 100,000 consumer votes from around the country, Tom's of Maine announced today the five non-profit organizations that will each receive new volunteer support and $20,000 through its annual "50 States for Good" initiative. The program, designed to spotlight local nonprofit projects and volunteer needs, drew submissions from all 50 states. From greening urban spaces and protecting natural resources to animal rights and youth-focused projects, applications from qualified 501(c)(3) organizations were narrowed to 41 by a panel of non-profit experts. Online voting by the public then determined the winners.
The 2010 winning non-profit organizations are:
The Bloomington Community Orchard (Bloomington, IN): Funding will support the publicly-owned, volunteer-maintained orchard in Indiana. The orchard contributes to local food security, inspires joyful community engagement, and educates citizens while making sustainability delicious.
"Winning the grant will allow us to make our vision of a publicly-owned volunteer-run orchard a reality. Specifically with this money, we're going to make all of our pathways wheelchair accessible, so everyone can enjoy. Additionally, we'll be purchasing more fruit trees, filling out the entire orchard. With a full orchard, we'll be able to contribute to increased food security within our local community and we'll be able to educate people on the importance of organic food and how can grow it in their own backyard. Thank you to everyone at Tom's of Maine and our entire community who voted for our cause." - Amy Countryman, Treasurer, The Bloomington Community Orchard.
IMPACT Alabama: A Student Service Initiative (Birmingham, AL): Funding will be used to fund IMPACT Alabama's FocusFirst: An Alabama Student Vision Initiative, which trains college students to provide vision screenings for low-income pre-school children. The organization, which reaches nearly one thousand daycare centers a year, will help pay for transportation across Alabama, screenings and follow-up appointments.
"The reality in our state and in others is that very few children receive quality vision care before entering public school, even though children have eye problems that manifest by age 2. There is a generation of 4 and 5 year olds that can't see well enough to learn how to read. 11% of children we screen have a previously undiagnosed eye problem. The support from Tom's of Maine will directly equate to 1,000 children being able to start school ready and able to learn." - Stephen Black, President/Founder, IMPACT Alabama.
Kappa Delta Pi Educational Foundation (Indianapolis, IN ): The organization, made up of teachers, professors and college students studying to be teachers, will fund its Literacy Alive! Program, which encourages lifelong learning through literacy for not only K-12 students but also adults.
"Receiving the award makes a huge difference for KDP's Literacy Alive! National service initiative and the thousands of students it serves. We are very grateful for Tom's of Maine support and our strong base of skilled collegiate and professional educators who organize and deliver the local programs. Being volunteer-driven means that each $100 invested in Literacy Alive! supports direct interaction with 250 students." - Barbara Richardson, Educational Foundation Director, Kappa Delta Pi Educational Foundation.
Palmetto Animal League (Bluffton, SC): Funding will help build the organization's "dog lifestyle room" with the goal of helping dogs acquaint themselves to living in a home with a kitchen, couch, television and other items they'll encounter once adopted. The room will allow them to retain the training they received from their volunteer foster care handlers.
"Our dogs become socialized and trained thanks to our foster-care volunteers. They learn how to interact with people and we learn if they get along with children or cats, making each adoption more successful. This training lowers the odds that the animal will be returned to us after it's adopted. This grant from Tom's of Maine is absolutely essential in recreating that foster care experience in our new building and allows us to make sure the dogs have everything they need to find a permanent home." - Amy Campanini, Executive Director, Palmetto Animal League.
Philadelphia Animal Welfare Society (PAWS) (Philadelphia, PA): PAWS Spay/Neuter and Wellness Clinic will use the funding to provide free spay/neuter surgery to pets of low-income residents, as well as basic veterinary care to dogs and cats who would not otherwise receive it over a six month period in the Philadelphia area.
"At our low-cost Spay/Neuter and Wellness Clinic, we serve pet owners who have difficulty affording veterinary care. However, many Philadelphians cannot afford even our reduced costs. We are deeply grateful to Tom's of Maine for providing this grant, which will allow us to help hundreds of the truly neediest pets and the people who love them. As a result, we will enable pets to remain as cherished family members, reduce the number of animals surrendered to city shelters, and bring Philadelphia one step closer to becoming a no-kill city." - Melissa Levy, Executive Director, Philadelphia Animal Welfare Society.
This year's applicants were also asked to share their volunteer needs as part of their application. VolunteerMatch, the Web's most popular volunteer recruitment network, will help the winning organizations, as well as any non-profit in need, secure local volunteers for their projects. VolunteerMatch matches volunteers based on location and personal interest. For those who aren't close to a winner's locality, they can find volunteer opportunities at Tom's of Maine's Volunteer Match page here: tomsofmaine.volunteermatch.org.
"The health of our communities depends on individuals and organizations committed to goodness every day," said Susan Dewhirst, Goodness Programs Manager at Tom's of Maine. "This year's winners and all those who applied share a spirited commitment to doing good work, a network of supporters that is inspiring and a reminder that each of us can make a difference. We look forward to following the progress and seeing the results of all five projects."
Tom's of Maine is a longtime supporter of community involvement programs including clean waterways and greater access to affordable dental care, among many other programs. In addition, the company donates 10% of its profits back to the community and offers employees 5% paid time off, up to 12 days a year, to volunteer in their local community.