KENNEBUNK, Maine – November, 23, 2009 – After weeks of public voting and campaigning among 50 of America’s most inspiring and creative non-profits, Tom’s of Maine announces the five winners of its “50 States for Good” initiative. The program, which rewards non-profits that make a lasting difference in their local community, drew more than 280,000 online votes from across the country. The votes ultimately determined the five non-profit organizations to receive $20,000 each to fund important projects ranging from animal rescue and handicap access to community gardens.
The five winning non-profit organizations are:
The Corridor of Cruelty & Neglect, Houston Mobile Clinic, Houston, TX – Funding will be used to help an area of Houston dubbed the “Corridor of Cruelty & Neglect”, where animals are often abandoned, injured or ill. A mobile clinic will work with animal rescue to get animals to the clinic for health care, sterilization and ultimately to help find homes for them.
“Winning this contest allows us to help an area of Houston named The Corridor of Cruelty and Neglect in dire need of a way to stop the cycle of animal homelessness and abuse,” said Hazel Green, grants manager, Spay-Neuter Assistance Program, Inc. “It allows us to call public attention to the horror that results from human cruelty, carelessness, and lack of knowledge about what can and should be done to relieve and prevent animal suffering. Winning is also confirmation of our long-held belief that people who love animals are among the most dedicated and passionate people on the planet.”
Project Access, Rutherford Housing Partnership, Rutherford County, NC – Funding will aid Project Access, a ramp building project to provide handicap access to an estimated 15-20 low-income homeowners in the county who are unable to safely access their own homes.
“The Tom’s of Maine award gives RHP a source to draw from to build ramps making remaining limited funds available for other urgent projects like roofing, replacing unsafe floors, etc,” said Billy Honeycutt, RHP Board President. “It strengthens our ability to improve unsafe living conditions in Rutherford County.”
Free Fresh Produce: Gleaning for DC’s Poor, Bread for the City, Washington D.C. – Funding will support weekly trips that send volunteers into the fields of regional farms, where they’ll collect literally tons of fresh produce that would otherwise go to waste. A few hours of labor from a couple dozen volunteers can yield free produce that will feed a thousand or more families for a week.
“Glean for the City provides our poor and vulnerable clients with the fresh produce that is largely unavailable/unaffordable in the neighborhoods they live in – all by rescuing food that would otherwise go to waste,” said George A. Jones, executive director of Bread for the City. “Many thanks to Tom’s of Maine for supporting our efforts with this exciting new project.”
Butterflies and Boulders: A School Greening Project, Friends of Coeur d’Alene Elementary School, Venice, CA – Funding will be used to remove 8,000 sq feet of asphalt, and replace it with drought tolerant plants that allow the annual rainfall to percolate into the soil rather than flood the school. This special garden and its integrated curriculum will teach lasting lessons of conservation and promote awareness of the local watersheds.
“We are thrilled to be able to realize this project,” said Coeur d’Alene Elementary School principal Andrew Jenkins. “Many thanks to Tom’s of Maine and the amazing community of parents and teachers that make up our school. We can’t wait to turn our campus into an outdoor classroom.”
Grow Food, Grow Hope Garden Initiative, Wilmington, OH – Funding will create a community garden for low-income families, grow bulk produce for area food banks and coordinate grower co-ops and farmers markets to increase fresh food access for low-income families.
“Winning these funds will assist us in enhancing our anti-poverty focus through the Grow Food Grow Hope initiative. Our mission relies heavily on educating others, increase family confidence in the ability to put food on their tables and ultimately empowering them to develop a sustainable solution thus achieving lasting solutions to poverty,” said Tara Lydy, director, Center for Service and Civic Engagement at Wilmington College. “The Tom’s of Maine award enables us to build capacity and cultivate a deeper relationship with our community partners.”
“We’d like to thank everyone who took the time to vote and especially the 2,000 organizations who submitted applications,” said Rob Robinson, director of Goodness Programs at Tom’s of Maine.
“Our five winners are excellent examples of organizations all over the country that are having a lasting, positive impact in our communities every day.”
With this initiative, Tom’s of Maine is extending its ongoing commitment to doing good and supporting good in communities. After 40 years of donating profits back to community projects, this year the company left the decision to the public to decide what projects should receive the company’s financial support. Tom’s of Maine has a lengthy history of supporting critical issues such as clean waterways and greater access to quality, affordable dental care.
In September, more than 2,000 applications were narrowed down to 50 finalists by a panel of judges based on the positive impact, achievability and level of community involvement of the project submitted. The judging panel for the finalist phase was composed of key leaders of the non-profit community including Robert Egger, founder of the DC Central Kitchen and V3 Campaign director; Zach Frechette, editor in chief of GOOD Magazine; Darius Graham, author of Being the Difference: True Stories of Ordinary People Doing Extraordinary Things to Change the World; Sam Davidson, founder of CoolPeopleCare.org and Geri Weis Corbley, founder and editor/publisher of the Good News Network.
About Tom’s of Maine
Tom’s of Maine is a leader in natural personal care with a longstanding commitment to supporting people, communities and the living planet. For almost 40 years, the company has sponsored hundreds of non-profit efforts by giving 10% of its profits back to the community and encouraging employees to volunteer by giving 5% paid time off. Each day, Tom’s of Maine employees contribute to high sustainability standards and their ideas from wind power to recycled and recyclable packaging are critical to the company’s sensitive way of doing business. Tom’s of Maine enjoys partnering with its consumers, vendors and many community organizations to support lasting, positive change that is good for the earth and us all.