National Philanthropy Day 2020: Big Bend philanthropists recognized for community support

WCTV’s Walton was also honored as the 2020 Outstanding Media Outlet or Personality of the Year.
WCTV’s Walton was also honored as the 2020 Outstanding Media Outlet or Personality of the Year.(WCTV)
Published: Nov. 19, 2020 at 4:32 PM EST
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) - In 1986, President Ronald Reagan signed a proclamation making Nov. 15, “National Philanthropy Day,” with a purpose to recognize people and organizations who are working to make our communities a better place to live.

Each year on this day, the Big Bend Chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals gives out awards to recognize the best in philanthropy in our community.

Due to COVID-19, this year’s awards ceremony was hosted virtually Thursday by WCTV’s Abby Walton.

Walton was also honored as the 2020 Outstanding Media Outlet or Personality of the Year.

This award is given to a member of the media or marketing community who has shown overwhelming support for nonprofits.

Walton is involved with many community events including the Salvation Army, Walk to End Alzheimer’s, Making Strides Against Breast Cancer and is a champion for local mental health nonprofits.

Below is a list of this year’s recipients.

Walton was able to talk with each one about their award, what philanthropy means to them and their advice on how you can get involved in your community.

  • Gayla Parks, 2020 Philanthropist of the Year: This award is given to a community member who has shown exceptional commitment to personal philanthropy by direct gifts and leadership to area non-profits.
  • Red Eye Coffee, 2020 Outstanding Community Organization or Business of the Year: This award is for Red Eye’s support of the community and many non-profits through contributions to local events and by opening their doors to foster and enhance philanthropy.
  • Rick Kearney, COVID-19 Hero Award: This is presented to a person whose philanthropic contributions are unique and impactful. The group choosing Mr. Kearney for going above and beyond with innovative support for nonprofits during the pandemic.
  • Sherrill Ragans, Lifetime Achievement in Philanthropy: This award recognizes a person who serves as a role model for philanthropy through their history of volunteerism and financial giving. The group said Mrs. Ragans is also active in passing along the value of philanthropy to future generations.
  • Holly Bernardo, 2020 Outstanding Fundraising Professional of the Year: This award goes to her leadership and mentoring in fundraising. The group said Ms. Bernardo demonstrates fundraising expertise, professionalism and dedication in her role as the Director of Development at CESC, Inc.

Watch their interviews below.

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