The hard work of a nonprofit organization is never ending, but there is determination and hope found in the trenches, and one Oklahoma nonprofit organization is committed to shining the spotlight on that commitment with a little Hollywood-style celebration. The Oklahoma Center for Nonprofits will hold their annual Oklahoma Nonprofit Excellence (ONE) Awards this April. The organization’s CEO and President, Marnie Taylor, discusses the mission and importance of the event.
Q: How does the ONE Awards event tie in with your overall mission at the Center for Nonprofits?
A: I really do think the word excellence is ingrained in everything we do, everything we teach and everything we want for the nonprofit community of Oklahoma, because the better each nonprofit can get at what they do, and there’s 18,500 and some odd nonprofits in Oklahoma, when you think of the collective impact those organizations have on the lives of Oklahomans everyday it’s just phenomenal. It changes who and what we are as a state, and so the best thing we can do is teach and train and promote and answer questions to make sure they have the tools in their hands for excellence.
Q: You modeled the awards on a similar effort in Colorado, how do the awards work?
A: We have a set of commissioners called our ONE commissioners. There are 12 of them. They are completely independent of the Center For Nonprofits, and I think that’s important in that they are not our board members, they’re not our employees, which I think makes it a wonderful process. The commissioners are very involved in the nonprofit community, and so they make nominations in each of our categories and then we go into a two-day meeting and go through the process of reviewing every nominee and we bring it down to three finalists in each of the categories.
Q: What are those categories?
A: Arts and humanities, community, education, health services- so that could be anything to do with health, self sufficiency- training people to be self sufficient, seniors, youth development, and then we had a change this year. We used to have sports and recreation, and what we figured out is that Colorado had thousands of nonprofits that were about sports and recreation, because we named these after the Colorado categories, and we thought we don’t have enough nominees each year, so this year we did an open category [for] things like animals or museums. One of our nominees this year is a beautification group, so I’m very excited about that, because I think it will probably continue over the years to bring in organizations that could be about technology or science or things that didn’t fit in our other categories.
The ONE awards
The ONE Awards will be April 12 at the Southern Hills Country Club in Tulsa. For more information and to purchase tickets, go to www.oklahomacenterfornonprofits.org or call: (800) 338-1798.