The Wawa Foundation continues its commitment to local organizations with the return of one of its biggest community grants. The third annual Wawa Foundation Hero Award is down to four finalists, and voting is open to the public through June 15.
One of the four organizations will receive a $50,000 grant courtesy of The Wawa Foundation. The three runners up will receive a $10,000 grant each. The winner will be announced at an award presentation on July 4 at 10 a.m., broadcast live on NBC10 and streamed live on NBC10.com.
Take a look at the finalists' in consideration for this year's award and cast your vote! (Listed in alphabetical order):
The group consisting of full-time staff, volunteers, and donors has worked hard to help young people in Philadelphia learn and grow outside of the classroom. Boys & Girls Clubs of Philadelphia is a non-profit organization that aims to enable young people to reach their full potential as productive, caring, responsible citizens. With over 8,900 children involved, the BGCP is one of the largest youth-development organization in Philadelphia. Students are exposed to opportunities and experiences that would not be possible without the help of the foundation. BGCP includes numerous programs such as STEM Learning Labs, Literacy Initiative, and Educational & Career Development. While many public schools have cut their physical education programs, several BGCP clubs host sport leagues and fitness opportunities to kids across the city. The staff and volunteers teach kids leadership values and the importance of giving back during their time in the program so that they can help tomorrow’s youth and continue the work of the Boys & Girls Club in the future. Find out more here.
This Philadelphia based organization provides a wide variety of educational opportunities to over 12,000 children and young adults annually. EducationWorks is a nonprofit that provides high quality academic support, career readiness and enrichment programming for the young people involved in the program. They provide educational support in existing schools, through after school programs, and in the summer with unique summer camps. The organization works with topics such as literacy, science, technology, engineering, art, mathematics, and social emotional learning. EducationWorks focuses on communicating with community and school leaders to identify problems and create specialized programs based on these needs. These customized programs are aimed at reengaging young adults who may have been disconnected due to poor education early in life. Their goal is to create confident and empowered students who are not afraid to dream big and reach their full potential. Find out more here.
Since being founded in 1981, Inn Dwelling has provided young adults with educational support while also stressing community service and leadership development. Their overall goal is to break the cycle of poverty by proving the next generation with the right tools to inspire, thrive, and lead. Their approach combines aspects of public speaking, test preparation, community service, leadership development, and many other programs. Their tutoring and enrichment is available after school, on weekends and during the summer months. Inn Dwelling serves at-risk, low-income, and gifted young adults age 11-18. Their organization has 100 percent success rates in both high school graduation and college matriculation. During the 2017-2018 school year, they served 84 students from numerous different local high schools. Students involved in the program have access to several academic trips including national landmarks, and summer programs at a number of universities. Inn Dwelling has graduated about 150 students already, and hopes to continue its positive impact in the future. Find out more here.
Philadelphia Fire Explorers is a program designed to introduce young adults age 14-20 into fire service through hands on training and experience. The young men and women are introduced to public safety initiatives, emergency preparedness, and all-hazard safety. In addition, the fire department stresses giving back through community outreach initiatives and events. Emergency medical services, disaster relief, and military-related training are also included in the youth program. Their mission is to teach young adults the knowledge and values needed to succeed in a fire service career. This is done through classroom instruction, mentoring from current firefighters, and training exercises. The program takes place at the Fire Training Academy along the Delaware River. Since being implemented in April 2014, Philadelphia Fire Explorers has prepared many young men and women for a future in fire science. Find out more here.
Applicants for this grant were tasked with creating video or story about their impact on the Philadelphia community. These four organizations were selected for having the most compelling stories out of the non-profit organizations who submitted the application. One of groups will be presented the award during the Independence Day morning ceremony at the 2018 Wawa Welcome America Festival.
"All of us at Wawa were truly inspired to hear about the work that so many area non-profits are doing to help others and improve their communities," said The Wawa Foundation President, Jared Culotta.
"We can’t wait to celebrate these four non-profits during the Wawa Welcome America! festivities as they tell their stories of what it means to be a hero. We invite all who applied to stay connected with The Wawa Foundation to find out more about the support The Wawa Foundation offers to non-profit organizations in Wawa’s operating area."