National Philanthropy Day Award recipients announced

VERO BEACH — The Association of Fundraising Professionals Indian River Chapter (AFPIR) is pleased to announce the recipients of this year’s National Philanthropy Day awards.  An award presentation will take place Thursday, November 18 at the Vero Beach Museum of Art at 5:30 p.m., followed by light hors d’oeuvres and cocktails.

The announcement is a culmination of many months of the application and selection process, which included a kick-off workshop for the nonprofits in April, and mentor-mentee relationships between AFPIR members and the nominating organizations to help ensure the submission of strong applications which showcase the varied philanthropic efforts of the nominees. Judging was conducted this year by the Association of Fundraising Professionals, Southwest Chapter of Florida.

The local celebration will honor the Indian River County residents in four specific categories. This year’s award recipients are:

Outstanding Individual Philanthropist: Barbara Becker Hurley, nominated by Mental Health Association in Indian River, Vero Heritage, Inc., and Gifford Youth Activity Center.  A longtime advocate of the Mental Health Association, Hurley gives strategically to heighten the impact of her philanthropy. For instance, she gives to Habitat for Humanity, and the children who benefit are encouraged to participate in the Boys and Girls Clubs and Gifford Youth Activity Center. In addition, she gives to the Indian River Land Trust to protect open spaces, which then collaborates with Vero Heritage, Inc. to record and remember the citrus industry, the Hurley family legacy.

Outstanding Corporate Philanthropist: PNC Wealth Management, nominated by Vero Beach Museum of Art. During Kevin Grady’s tenure as President of PNC Wealth Management, he has served on the boards of no less than The Vero Beach Museum of Art, Atlantic Classical Orchestra, Riverside Theatre, Hibiscus Children’s Center, Indian River medical Center Foundation, Humane Society of Vero Beach as well as on the Habitat for Humanity Advisory Board. In addition to many employees taking leadership roles on boards such as Literacy Services, the American Red Cross and Dollars for Scholars, PNC also provides generous corporate gifts to arts, education, health and social service organizations as well as encourages employee giving through a matching gift program.

Outstanding Volunteer Fundraisers: Michael Schwartz, nominated by Indian River Habitat for Humanity. Because Schwartz only spends roughly four months each year at his home in Orchid Island, he hits the ground running when he returns each fall, rallying friends and neighbors to support Indian River Habitat for Humanity. In 2001, he built the Orchid Habitat Committee from scratch, which is responsible for recruiting construction volunteers, coordinating the annual appeal letter, and organizing the annual Spring Fling fundraiser, which is unique to the Orchid community. Thanks to his leadership, Orchid residents have raised over $550,000 for Habitat for Humanity, enough to build eleven homes.

Unsung Hero of the Year: Todd Heckman, nominated by Indian River Habitat for Humanity.

Heckman focuses the majority of his time on issues surrounding affordable housing in our community. He is the Chair of the Board of Directors for Indian River Habitat for Humanity, Treasurer for the Coalition for Attainable Homes, Vice Chairman of the Indian River Housing Authority and a trustee of the Vero Beach Museum of Art. Additionally, he is credited with improving communication and building a stronger relationship between the leading organizations that provide affordable housing in Indian River County.

Additional individual honorees being recognized for their contributions include: Reverend A.C. “Jack” Diehl III, nominated by Big Brothers Big Sisters of Indian River County; Glenn Ireland II, nominated by The Sun Up Center of Indian River County; Susan McKay Bromwell, nominated by Planned Parenthood of South Florida & the Treasure Coast; Joanna Meyers, nominated by Big Brothers Big Sisters of Indian River County; Warren and Virginia Schwerin, nominated by the Humane Society of Vero Beach; and Mary Beth Vallar, nominated by The Sun Up Center of Indian River County.

Additional corporate nominees being recognized include: Conrado Enterprises of Indian River County, nominated by Indian River State College Foundation; Marine Bank & Trust Co., nominated by Big Brothers Big Sisters of Indian River County; and Panera Bread, nominated by Hibiscus Children’s Center of Indian River County.

Tickets are $30 per person. Proceeds are reinvested locally in the AFPIR, supporting the profession of fundraising through chapter membership scholarships for new and current members to attend professional development workshops.

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