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Philanthropy West Virginia conference held in Parkersburg

PARKERSBURG — Organizations and individuals were recognized for giving, leadership and service to the community Thursday during the final day of Philanthropy West Virginia’s 2019 state conference at the Blennerhassett Hotel.

The annual gathering organized by West Virginia’s philanthropic leadership association brought together board members, executives, staff and advisers for charitable foundations and corporations Wednesday and Thursday at the historic downtown Parkersburg hotel.

On Thursday, the West Virginia Spirit of Philanthropy Awards were announced during a luncheon. The honorees were:

* Inaugural Corporate Responsibility Leader Award: Dominion Energy.

The natural gas provider supports communities in the Mountain State through its DE Charitable Foundation, the Energizing Our Communities volunteerism program and a matching gift program for current and retired employees. Grant monies support education, conservation, community vitality and human needs. In 2018, Dominion was responsible for $750,000 in donations and 7,000 volunteer hours.

* Lifetime Volunteer Leadership Award: C.J. Kaiser, Wheeling.

Kaiser has served on the Community Foundation of the Ohio Valley’s Board of Directors for 28 years, a period during which the Wheeling-based foundation serving the Upper Ohio Valley grew from a $1.4 million organization to more than $60 million. He helped secure the grant that allowed the board to have its first full-time executive director and managed mergers between adjacent community foundations, according to Philanthropy West Virginia.

* Critical Impact Award: Foundation for the Tri-State and America’s Best Communities Huntington Collaborative.

The foundation partnered with the City of Huntington to develop a revitalization plan for Huntington, bringing in partners to create a comprehensive vision for growth and innovation. They successfully participated in the America’s Best Communities competition, winning $3 million to make their plans a reality.

* Volunteer Leadership Award: Jean Clark, Preston County.

Clark has held multiple volunteer roles with Your Community Foundation of North-Central West Virginia, from marketing to volunteer coordination to chairing the board. She has been instrumental in recruiting other volunteers and in securing funds for the foundation. In 2015, Clark became a founding member of the Women’s Giving Circle of North Central West Virginia.

* Staff Leadership Award: Tamara Mullins, Nicholas County Community Foundation.

While only a part-time executive director, Mullins has worked to secure Neighborhood Investment Program credits, bolster the foundation’s educational outreach program and raise public awareness of the foundation’s many roles, among other contributions.

* Lifetime Staff Leadership Award: Sheri Ryder, The Greater Kanawha Valley Foundation.

Ryder has worked with the foundation since 2002, exhibiting leadership and creativity in multiple capacities. She led the design and implementation of the Multi-Year Basic Needs Grant Program, supported affiliate foundations and mentored staffers. Ryder has also served on the boards of several nonprofits, including the West Virginia Nonprofit Association and the West Virginia Child Advocacy Network.

Awards are selected from nominations reviewed by an independent, objective selection committee. Each honoree receives an award created by a West Virginia artisan, and a mini-grant is awarded in their honor to a charity of their choice.

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