2013 Make A Difference Day Awards To Recognize 13 Life-Changing Volunteer Initiatives

Grassroots efforts to be honored for truly making a difference in local communities across America

Apr 23, 2013, 11:15 ET from USA WEEKEND Magazine

MCLEAN, Va., April 23, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Thirteen volunteer initiatives will be recognized with the 2013 Make A Difference Day Awards at a ceremony in Washington, D.C., on April 25. Make A Difference Day, the nation's largest day of service, was created in 1992 by Gannett Co., Inc.'s USA WEEKEND Magazine along with partners, Newman's Own and Points of Light.  Newman's Own will donate a total of $130,000, awarding 10 volunteer initiatives $10,000 each and presenting three cities $10,000 each for their local projects.

The winners were chosen from thousands of grassroots volunteer efforts that took place during last October's Make A Difference Day. Millions of Americans served their communities and made positive change as a result of the volunteer action encouraged by the nationwide annual event. 

"The overwhelming response from millions to take up the invitation to help others within their communities is not only uplifting, but inspirational," said Larry Kramer, president and publisher of USA WEEKEND.  "Make A Difference Day — the largest day of community service each year — touches the lives of so many people. It is a collective effort and we are grateful to the volunteers and our partners for helping to make it all happen." 

"Make A Difference Day was always important to Paul Newman and Newman's Own is proud to continue its dedication to this initiative.  We hope that by providing the awards each year they will serve as inspiration for others to join in, answer a need, and keep a great thing going," said Tom Indoe, president and COO of Newman's Own, Inc.

"The 2013 Make A Difference Day honorees provide moving examples of the power of people to use their time and talents to create change," said Michelle Nunn, CEO, Points of Light. "From the men aiming to sponsor the largest food drive ever held in a retirement community to the preschool teacher who collected 2,100 toys for children who would otherwise have had to do without, we continue to be inspired by the many ways people reach out to make life better for their neighbors. Each small act contributes to stronger communities and a stronger America."

In addition, one past national honoree will be recognized for continuing excellence with the All-Star Award of $10,000 from the Gannett Foundation, a corporate foundation sponsored by Gannett Co., Inc. that supports nonprofits in communities which Gannett serves. The All-Star Award goes to a charity of the winner's choice.

Tony Danza, actor, author and education advocate, will serve as the event's keynote speaker and CBS News' Nancy Cordes will be master of ceremonies.

The ten 2013 Make A Difference Day Award honorees are: 

  • Alabama Rural Ministry, Opelika, Ala.
  • The Sundial Men's Club, Sun City, Ariz.
  • National Assistance League, Burbank, Calif.
  • Wen Marcec and Project SANTA, Geneva, Ill.
  • Lions Club – District 22 W, Thurmont, Md.
  • C&S Wholesale Grocers, Keene, N.H.
  • FIRST Robotics Competition, Teams 340 & 511, Rochester, N.Y.
  • Nicholas Lowinger, Cranston, R.I.
  • Shaquawana Wester, Cookeville, Tenn.
  • The Red Cross, Ellensburg, Wash.

The three 2013 City Award honorees are:

  • The City of Fremont, Calif.
  • The City of Albuquerque, N.M.
  • The City of Kettering, Ohio

The All-Star Award goes to:

  • Melbourne Central Catholic High, St. Joseph Catholic School, West Shore Junior/Senior High, Lake Washington Fellowship, Melbourne and Palm Bay, Fla.

Make A Difference Day 2013 will be held on Saturday, Oct. 26. For more information, please go to www.makeadifferenceday.com.

About USA WEEKEND Magazine
USA WEEKEND Magazine is the national weekly that empowers America to start taking action every weekend, with 22.6 million circulation and 50 million readers in print and online. Awarded for its journalism and design, USA WEEKEND is an action based news source for people throughout the country who look for real stories behind change and a source for American families to find food, health, family and celebrity information. USA WEEKEND is a Gannett Co., Inc. (NYSE: GCI), publication. Find us on Twitter and Facebook and visit usaweekend.com.

About Newman's Own, Inc. Newman's Own, Inc., founded by Paul Newman in 1982, offers more than 100 varieties of great tasting, all-natural food and beverage products, including salad dressings, pasta sauces, salsa, frozen pizza, frozen skillet meals, microwave popcorn, and refrigerated lemonades. Newman's Own Foundation continues Paul Newman's commitment to donate all profits to charity. More than $370 million has been given to thousands of charities since 1982. Learn more at newmansown.com.

About Points of Light Points of Light — the world's largest organization dedicated to volunteer service — mobilizes millions of people to take action that is changing the world. Through affiliates in 250 cities and partnerships with thousands of nonprofits and corporations, Points of Light engages 4 million volunteers in 30 million hours of service each year. We bring the power of volunteers where it's needed most. For more information, go to www.pointsoflight.org