Governor, OneStar Foundation To Honor Texas Volunteers

Two East Texas organizations will receive the Governor's Volunteer Awards.  Recently, OneStar Foundation announced the winners of the 25th annual Governor's Volunteer Awards.  The award recipients will be honored by Texas State Comptroller Susan Combs, friends and families in Austin, Texas at 5:00 PM on June 4 at the Driskill Hotel.

The Governor's Volunteer Awards recognize exceptional individuals and organizations committed to creating positive, long-lasting change. After a three tiered selection process that ended with voting by a committee appointed by the Governor, the following individuals, organizations and companies were selected at the award winners.

Fourth Partner Foundation of Tyler, will receive the Community Capacity Builder award (private sector/business). Fourth Partner's three areas of focus are building the capacity of nonprofits in the Tyler area, addressing education at the secondary level and college bound preparation and building the capacity of the philanthropic community.

"Nothing encourages us more about the future of our community and our own work as a foundation than the competence, vision and leadership of our nonprofit community," says Fred Smith, President of Fourth Partner Foundation.  "We are grateful for this award and the friendship of those we have had the privilege to support."

"To be nominated for this award by members of the Tyler nonprofit community is wonderful and unexpected," says Dawn Franks, Program Officer of Fourth Partner Foundation.  "We believe strongly in the work of our local nonprofits and are honored to be able to support their many different endeavors."

"The East Texas Food Bank along with Bethesda Health Clinic, East Texas Crisis Center, Leadership Tyler, PATH, Tyler Civic Theatre, and Tyler Museum of Art chose to nominate Fourth Partner Foundation for their work that supports our organizations ability to improve the lives of thousands of East Texans," says Robert L. Bush, Executive Director of the East Texas Food Bank.

The Community Motivator award (community) will go to Bennett Chapel Family Outreach Ministries of Center, an agency of the East Texas Food Bank.  The ministry reaches out to the adopted children and other community youth through various projects providing after-school programs, summer programs, family support, food distribution, tutoring and mentoring in partnership with other churches and the Deep East Texas Council of Governments.

"We are honored to receive the Governor's Volunteer Award," says Bishop W.C. Martin, Bennett Chapel Family Outreach Ministries.  "We feel we have worked hard enough to achieve such and honor."

Other Texans to Receive Awards:

Dr. John Richardson of Fort Worth will receive the Governor's Lonestar Achievement Award for his lifetime of service. Richardson was the driving force behind the Baby Moses Law.  First adopted as Texas law, The Baby Moses Law has now been adopted in 47 other states.

Teenager Nicole Castro of Keller was selected at the First Lady's Rising Star. Her achievements include the creation of a lending library for low-income families through her volunteer work with the Community Storehouse.

The individual Community Motivator award will go to Kelley Pledger of Colleyville for her promotion of an ethic of service and true compassion for others.  Ms. Pledger's compassion for people has led her to capacity building involvement with over 33 charitable nonprofit and civic organizations. The Mosaic Center of Lufkin will receive the Community Motivator award (private sector/business). This ministry was launched to serve area women in need of a second chance.

Naval Station Ingleside of Ingleside will receive the Community Motivator award (public/government).  This unique and dedicated naval station is home to Navy men and women as well as civilians who work proactively in the surrounding communities to support numerous projects and efforts.

The Community Connector award goes to business and individuals who work to bring about change through forging diverse partnerships or collaborations.  The individual award will be received by Stacey Campbell of Lewisville.  Ms. Campbell created Greater Lewisville Cares, a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing information and resources to those who are looking to volunteer in the Lewisville area.

Bates Custom & Collision of Baytown will be presented with the Community Connector award (private sector/business).  Each year, Bates Custom & Collision gives two refurbished cars to single mothers who demonstrate qualities of growth as being actively involved and responsible parents at the Harris County Department of Education's Head Start Centers.

The Community Connector award (community) will be given to Sure B.E.T. Team, Victoria Chamber Foundation and Victoria Business and Education of Victoria.  Sure B.E.T. was created locally with the goal of increasing the educational attainment level of the community and decreasing the drop-out rate.

Lovejoy Middle School, Lake Lavon Service Learning Project of Allen will receive the Community Connector award (public/government).  The school partnered with Heard Natural Science Museum Wildlife Center, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Trinity Trails Preservation Association and Blackland Prairie Raptor Center to create the Lake Lavon Service Learning Project to increase public awareness and environmental stewardship at Lake Lavon.

The Community Capacity Builder Award recognizes who have worked strategically to bring about sustainable change to increase the capacity of an organization or community to serve others. The Community Capacity Builder award (individual) will be given to Cynthia Parker Robertson of Washington.  Through Cynthia's dedication to addressing Grimes County and Brazos Valley needs, the areas are improving access to care and resources needed by elderly populations.

The Community Capacity Builder award (community) will be given to the Alliance of Community Assistance Ministries (ACAM) of Greater Houston.  From its inception, ACAM has developed the capabilities of local social purpose ministries and other community-based groups in the areas of leadership development, organizational infrastructure, enhanced revenue-generation and grass roots engagement.

The McCombs School of Business, University of Texas at Austin, Tax Practicum Community Tax Center will be presented with the Community Capacity Builder award (public/government).  Through a tax practicum course offered in the Accounting department at the UT McCombs School of Business, more than 400 students have prepared income tax forms for thousands of economically disadvantaged families through Foundation Communities' Community Tax Centers programs.

Each award recipient will receive two Southwest Airlines vouchers, courtesy of OneStar travel sponsor, Southwest Airlines.

By executive order of the Governor, OneStar Foundation was charged with upholding the tradition of the Governor's Volunteer Awards. OneStar Foundation's mission is to create an environment that stimulates organizational excellence, social innovation and investment in Texas' social sector for the purpose of increasing social impact.