MARQUETTE - Volunteers from across the Upper Peninsula were recognized Friday for their charitable work during the 8th annual U.P. Nonprofit Conference.
The conference was held inside the Great Lakes Rooms in the Northern Michigan University University Center and offered its more than 160 participants from across the U.P. as well as Wisconsin a chance to learn how to bring their non-profits to the next level.
"There's no local training like this in the U.P.," said Amy Quinn, president-elect of the Great Lakes Center for Youth Development, which hosted the event. "This is the one time of year when non-profits can get high quality training without having to travel outside the U.P."
Participants in the 8th annual U.P. Nonprofit Conference wait for this year’s service award winners to be announced. More than 160 people attended the event. (Journal photo by Jackie Stark)
Quinn said the message of the morning's keynote speaker, Matthew Downey, was simple: it's all about sending a powerful narrative of your nonprofit out into the world.
"(He talked about) how we tell our story, about the value we're providing," Quinn said.
Downey has more than 20 years in the nonprofit world and is currently the program director of nonprofit services at the Dorothy A. Johnson center for Philanthropy.
The conference was broken down into three breakout sessions with a total of 15 workshops for the participants to choose from, including workshops on ways to save money, strategic planning and better fundraising techniques.
Individuals and groups who exhibited outstanding volunteerism were also recognized, earning U.P. Service Awards.
Holly Thoune, 19, of Felch, won the service award in the youth category. Thoune has volunteered for many different organizations in her area, including in schools, where she organized a Valentine's dance for middle schoolers. She also volunteered at the Habitat for Humanity ReStore, assisted with a blood drive and a flu clinic and made and delivered holiday cards for patients at a veterans' hospital in Iron Mountain.
Loren Smith, of Sault St. Marie, won the adult service award for his continued work as the volunteer transportation coordinator with the Chippewa County Department of Human Services. Smith averages more than 20 hours of service per week and has provided more than 10,400 hours of service since he began volunteering with DHS in 2001.
Will Carne, of Escanaba, was the recipient of the senior service award for is commitment to economic and workforce development. As chairman of the Job Force Board, he provides strategic leadership for workforce development and six Michigan Works! Service Centers in the central U.P. Carne also serves on a number of other public service boards, some of which he has served on for decades.
The Volunteer Program Award was granted to the Lake Superior Hospice, a nonprofit that serves Marquette and Alger counties. The hospice has an extensive volunteer program that sends its volunteers into the homes of people requiring hospice care to either provide companionship for the patient or simply to lend support to a patient's family.
The Business Community Leader Award was given to Autore Oil, of Cedarville, for its continued commitment to helping needy families. Most recently, the business sent trucks to Lansing to pick up food and deliver it to needy families at no cost after the Community Action Agency's commodity food program was left without transportation. The company has also donated to many charitable causes.
Dr. Larry Skendzel, of the Lake Superior Hospice, was on hand to accept the award for a volunteer program on behalf of his organization.
"It's a great honor (to win) because there are so many great volunteer programs throughout the non-profits," Skendzel said. "What it tells me is that we're serving our community in a way that's appreciated, and that volunteers are being recognized as part of the healing. They are just as important as the doctor or the nurse or the social worker in our organization, that they're part of a team, and that's being recognized in getting an award like this, and that's beautiful."
Jackie Stark can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 242. Her email address is jstark@miningjournal. net.