Four Philadelphia nonprofits are vying for the Wawa Foundation's "Hero Award," and you can vote for the winner this month.
The winning nonprofit will be selected during the Wawa Welcome America! festivities as part of the Independence Day morning ceremony on the Fourth of July in front of Independence Hall. The winning organization will receive a $50,000 grant, while each of the three runners up will receive $10,000 grants.
The four finalists are:
- Veterans Multi-Service Center Philadelphia, an organization that helps more than 3,500 local veterans each year transition back to civilian life after serving our country. It is the only nonprofit agency in the area that provides a comprehensive resource center for veterans, including offering meals six days a week, job training and placement, case management and other assistance.
- Special People in Northeast, or SPIN, provides services for children and adults who face intellectual, developmental and autism spectrum disabilities. The organization currently supports more than 3,500 babies, kids and adults in the area with recreational and educational activities.
- Beat the Streets Wrestling Program of Philadelphia establishes youth wrestling programs throughout the Philadelphia region to help student-athletes develop their skills both in the classroom and on the mat. The organization currently serves more than 1,200 students in 22 programs in the area, mostly located in impoverished neighborhoods where kids don't have many recreational options.
- Philadelphia READS aims to "raise a city of readers" -- its core mission -- via programs outside school to help kids read at or above grade level by the time they reach fourth grade. The nonprofit helps hundreds of students throughout the city receive one-on-one tutoring and mentoring on a weekly basis, and has distributed more than 100,000 books to teachers each year since its establishment.
For more information about the "Hero Award" contest, and to vote for the winner, visit the Wawa Foundation's website here. Voting will be open June 20 through 29.