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Six local nonprofits honored for community work

Six local nonprofit organizations have won Minnesota Nonprofit Awards, sponsored by the Minnesota Council of Nonprofits (MCN) and MAP for Nonprofits.

The six organizations will receive the awards in two categories during the Nov. 5-6 Joint Annual Conference of MCN and the Minnesota Council on Foundations in St. Paul.

The Nonprofit Mission Awards recipients are nominated by the nonprofit community. The field of nominees is narrowed to the three most exemplary candidates in each category, and recipients are selected by vote of MCN members. Here's a brief look at the winners:

  • Nonprofit Mission Award for Innovation: CaringBridge. It offers free personalized websites that allow people to stay in touch with family and friends during a serious health event, treatment or recovery. CaringBridge now provides its services in English and Spanish.
  • Nonprofit Mission Award for Responsive Philanthropy: Carl and Eloise Pohlad Family Foundation. In the midst of the recent economic crisis, the Pohlad Family Foundation has stepped up in an unprecedented way, while many other foundations have retrenched. As a result, the Pohlad Family Foundation is providing much needed assistance to those who are most affected by the economic downturn.
  • Nonprofit Mission Award for Anti-Racism Initiative: Clayton Jackson McGhie Memorial. On June 15, 1920, three African-American laborers from a traveling circus were hanged by a mob of thousands after being falsely accused of raping a white woman in Duluth. For nearly 80 years these men were forgotten, until 2003, when a group of citizens sought to recognize these murders and began the process of healing and reconciliation. CJMM offers public presentations, media statements and educational DVDs it produces to educate the community on systemic racism and white privilege.
  • Nonprofit Mission Award for Advocacy: National Alliance on Mental Illness of Minnesota. The group works to improve the lives of children and adults with mental illness, as well as their family members. Over the past five years, NAMI has begun to advocate on behalf of people with mental illnesses and also to encourage them to advocate for themselves.

The Minnesota Nonprofit Excellence Awards recognize excellence as defined by the MCN Principles and Practices for Nonprofit Excellence. Nonprofits and their boards of directors apply for the award. Recipients are reviewed and selected by a blue ribbon panel of nonprofit leaders.

  • Excellence Award for Small Organizations: Dakota Woodlands in Eagan. It is the only short-term housing facility specifically for homeless women and children in Dakota County. During their time there, they are provided with a variety of supportive and educational services that address the issues related to homelessness and help residents to successfully obtain and maintain permanent housing.
  • Excellence Award for Large Organizations: Simpson Housing Services. The organization provides shelter for single adults and provides affordable housing with support services for both homeless families and single adults in Hennepin County. The mission of Simpson Housing is to house, support and advocate for people experiencing homelessness.

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