Six philanthropy awards given to Story County people, organizations, businesses
When the Story County Alliance for Philanthropy prepared to show appreciation to generous locals during its 16th annual Philanthropy Day awards, the group decided to issue one new award this year — the Rising Star Philanthropist.
Philanthropy Day is a time for the community to “honor individuals, businesses and organizations that provide essential services to county residents.”
The awards are being announced Thursday and among the winners is Sia Agnihotri, honored with the inaugural Rising Star award.
“Sia Agnihotri is a 12-year-old young lady who did fundraising to send money back to India during the second wave of COVID,” said Charlie Weber, volunteer marketing chair for the alliance. “It’s the first time we’ve had this award, and we might not have this award every year. It depends on who’s nominated in future years.”
Agnihotri, who lives in Ames with her parents and younger sister, was nominated for the award by Able Up Iowa.
Often referred to as a “kind soul” by people who know her, Agnihotri’s Jars of Hope fundraising campaign sold more than 500 cheesecake jars.
According to the alliance, when Agnihotri was asked what keeps her motivated for philanthropic work, she responded by quoting Aesop: No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted.
Read more about Sia Agnihotri:With 'Jars of Hope,' Ames 11-year-old raises over $3,700 for COVID relief in India
“We are confident this extraordinary young woman will continue to pursue her philanthropic passion well into the future,” SCAP wrote in its event program.
The Philanthropy Day awards video is viewable at SCAP’s website, www.storycountyphilanthropy.org.
“We believe we have a duty to give back and make the community a better place for everyone. Life is short; invest in things that matter,” said Tim Gartin at Hastings, Gartin & Boettger, one of the sponsors of the event.
Johnne Syverson, executive director of ChildServe, also one of the sponsors, said, “Our philosophy revolves around the concept that ‘all boats rise with the tide.’ So to the extent we can support a cause that helps to raise the tide of generosity in Story County we are pleased to be a part of it.”
Virtual awards show will be online Thursday
Jeff Iles, chair of Iowa State’s Department of Horticulture, is the award presenter of Agnihotri’s Rising Star award and five others.
“Another interesting aspect of this whole effort is that each award winner gets a piece of art developed by a local artist,” Weber said. “This year, the artist is Art Ciccotti,” a glassblower with a studio southwest of Ames.
The Outstanding Philanthropist Award goes to Sarah and Ben Buck, who “have dedicated their lives to quietly serving others and are true philanthropists in every sense of the word. They make every effort to promote love of humankind and exemplify what we could use more of in this world,” SCAP wrote in the program.
The Bucks have contributed financial support and served more than a dozen Story County nonprofits, including the Mary Greeley Foundation, Friendship Ark, Ames Miracle Park and Field in conjunction with the Rotary Club of Ames, Mid-Iowa Community Action, St. Andrew’s Lutheran Church, Rotary Foundation and United Way of Story County.
“There are many generous people in Story County, so we are deeply humbled to be nominated and chosen to receive this award,” Ben and Sarah Buck wrote in a statement to the Ames Tribune. “We hope this will bring greater awareness and increased giving for the important work of the exceptional organizations that we support.”
The Outstanding Volunteer Fundraiser award goes to the Georges Niang Golf Outing, which was nominated by the Mary Greeley Medical Center Foundation. Since 2017, Lyndsey Fennelly and Betsy Waite have partnered with Georges Niang, Iowa State men’s basketball alum and current player on the Philadelphia 76ers, “to plan, market, execute and host the annual Georges Niang Golf Outing which benefits local nonprofit organizations.”
The golf outing is an all-day event for 150 participants that has raised tens of thousands of dollars to support a variety of causes, including mental health services at Mary Greeley Medical Center, a Habitat for Humanity home, a new van for YSS and programs, homes and services for Friendship Ark.
The SHOP Food Pantry earns the award for Outstanding Youth Group in Philanthropy. Founded in 2011, the SHOP (Students Helping Our Peers) Food Pantry is run by a group of students from the Food Science and Human Nutrition department.
The mission of SHOP is to “engage with anti-hunger advocates and serve the student population by increasing hunger awareness and food security.”
“SHOP served an average of 35 students per week during spring 2021. Over the same period, a total of more than 6,800 pounds of food was provided by SHOP, far more than any other semester. SHOP’s operations are supported by both financial donations and direct food donations from many entities throughout Story County. In 2020, they raised nearly $25,000 in their efforts to combat food insecurity on ISU’s campus. SHOP Food Pantry volunteers exemplify the attributes of the Outstanding Youth in Philanthropy and are very deserving of this honor,” SCAP wrote in the program.
Nominated by the United Way of Story County, Ames Ford Lincoln has been named Outstanding Business Philanthropist. According to the Philanthropy Day program, Ames Ford Lincoln has a long list of charitable endeavors, including United Way of Story County and the Wheels for Work program, Boys & Girls Clubs of Story County, Mary Greeley Foundation, Ames Chamber of Commerce and the Ames Chamber Steak Fry, InterCity Trip, Leadership Ames, LIVE UNITED, Ames Foundation, Ames Main Street Farmers’ Market, Ames Public Library, Iowa State University, Able Up Iowa Foundation, Story County Medical Center, Friendship Ark, ACPC, and Ames Municipal Airport Terminal Project.
“The desire to effect change and have a positive and meaningful impact on the people in our community. To make a difference in the lives of as many people as we can,” said Nick Johnson at Ames Ford Lincoln.
The residents at Northcrest Community will receive the award for Outstanding Group Philanthropist. Jan Beran and Dee Matthews nominated Northcrest residents for the award because each year, residents identify a local nonprofit to support. In the past six years, donations collected have totaled nearly $195,000 and have benefitted six organizations.
Story County Alliance for Philanthropy members
- Able Up Iowa, Anna Magnusson
- Boys & Girls Clubs of Story County, Kaitlin Binnebose
- ChildServe, Rachelle Flory
- Friendship Ark, Jennifer Ellis
- Good Neighbor Emergency Assistance, Charlie Weber
- Iowa State Memorial Union, Kevin Merrill
- ISU College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, Lisa Stephany
- ISU Foundation, Jodi Knox
- Mary Greeley Medical Center Foundation, Rita Gilbertson
- Story County Community Foundation, Liz Zuercher
- The Arc of Story County, Tricia Crain
- The Bridge Home, Lynn Owens-Hill
- United Way of Story County, Emily Randall and Jean Kresse
- Youth and Shelter Services, Jill Niswander