The Philanthropist of the Year award began in 2008 to recognize individuals for their volunteer efforts to support local organizations. To be nominated, organizations were asked to submit a narrative describing how long the person has volunteered, the type of work done at the organization and what qualities make this person a philanthropist.
Past recipients and nominating organizations are: Jim Loving, McPherson Family YMCA; Patsy Magelssen, Trash to Treasures; Jeff and Sue Odermann, McPherson Outreach; and Jim & Barbara Greischar, Community Thanksgiving Dinners, with Verla Thomason, McPherson Scottish Society and Bill Roth, The Associated Churches of Lindsborg as runner up.
Sixteen nominations were received for the 2012 award. After careful review, the MCCF Public Relations committee selected three candidates.
The nominee selected as the 2012 Philanthropist of the Year and nominating organization are LaVon Ediger and the ReUse It Center. LaVon is a visionary looking to solve entrenched environmental and social problems. He had an inspiration for starting a nonprofit business that would receive building material donations, sell the products and give the proceeds to local and global charities.
The nominating organization states on the application, “He worked on all parts of the development of this stewardship project. He had the inspiration, a trusting creative intuition, good management skills, the ability to find highly qualified volunteers, and a need to achieve goals. His success has come from balancing his intuition with caution and being a very careful steward of time, volunteer help and financial resources. In recognition for his work, the ReUse It Center will receive a $1000 grant.
The nominee selected for the first runner up and nominating organization are Sondra Frank and the McPherson County Resource Council. Sondra was instrumental in forming the Resource Council nearly 20 years ago to provide financial assistance for those who fell through the cracks. The council has adjusted and realigned over the years to partner with other organizations in an effort to avoid duplication of services while making the most of every dollar for those in need, all with Sondra’s guidance.
Sondra was instrumental in developing a program we’re all familiar with – the Angel Tree. Children from birth to 8th grade may register to receive Christmas gifts of clothing. Many of us have stopped each year to pick up our names for gifts to help the children. Last year alone the project provided clothing gifts to over 600 McPherson County children. In recognition for her work, the McPherson Resource Council will receive a $500 grant. Please help me in congratulating Sondra Frank and the McPherson County Resource Council.
The nominee selected for the second runner up and nominating organization are David Nigh and the McPherson Opera House. In 1996, David began to assist with the renovation of the Opera House. He helped tear down apartment rooms, carried out materials, help to paint the annex and worked in other areas as needed. David gave early tours before it was completely renovated. A favorite was the Bat tour during the Halloween season.
Once the restoration was complete, David continued his service as a Docent by giving tours, serving as an usher or as a ticket taker. He is also a Foundation level giver and continues to maintain an annual membership with the Opera House. In recognition for his work, the McPherson Opera House will receive a $250 grant.