MINNEAPOLIS, Oct. 17, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Global professional services company ARAMARK today announced that Marsha Edwards, President and CEO of Nashville's Martha O'Bryan Center, is being honored with the 2013 Peter B. Goldberg ARAMARK Building Community Executive Leadership Award in recognition of her innovative and inspirational work on behalf of community centers and her commitment to neighborhood revitalization. The recognition includes a $40,000 grant to Martha O'Bryan Center.
The award was announced by ARAMARK and its partners, United Neighborhood Centers of America, (UNCA), and the Alliance for Children and Families, (Alliance), during the Alliance National Conference in Minneapolis.
"Through ARAMARK Building Community, we partner with community centers to help families and communities succeed. By recognizing outstanding leadership throughout the community center movement, we foster greater awareness of the incredibly important work they do each and every day," said Bev Dribin, Vice President of Community Relations, ARAMARK. "This award acknowledges and supports leadership excellence by showcasing outstanding executives like Marsha Edwards, and the work of the Martha O'Bryan Center."
"Our judges selected an incredible leader in Marsha," Dribin added. "Her ability to build collaborative relationships and the passion she demonstrates as she advocates for families has made a significant impact in Nashville and nationally."
"I am truly honored to be recognized and accept this wonderful award with the full understanding that it is only with the incredible work of the Center's whole family – staff, residents, and board members -- that this is possible," Edwards said. "At Martha O'Bryan Center, we truly believe that relationships and fellowship fuel change and our greatest asset is being located in the middle of Cayce Place Homes. Thank you to ARAMARK, UNCA and the Alliance for this award and their national leadership and investment."
Edwards joined Martha O'Bryan Center in 2001 and under her leadership the organization has grown nearly five-fold, and today offers comprehensive services to thousands of children and adults to help them with education, employment, parenting, crisis services and youth development. An inspirational leader and strong advocate for those in need, Edwards has formed partnerships in major sectors of Nashville to bring voice, opportunity and hope to children and families.
In 2011, Martha O'Bryan Center was one of only 15 organizations nationwide to receive a federal Department of Education Promise Neighborhood Planning Grant to help revitalize Nashville's underserved neighborhoods. The Promise Neighborhoods program aims to address significant challenges faced by students and families living in high-poverty communities by providing resources to plan and implement a continuum of services from early learning to college and career. Plans include a range of services from improving a neighborhood's health, safety, and stability to expanding access to learning technology and Internet connectivity, and boosting family engagement in student learning.
Edwards and the Martha O'Bryan Center are leading the Promise Neighborhood initiative in Nashville, collaborating with 20 other organizations, including the Nashville Public Schools, the Metro Police Department, the Metropolitan Development and Housing Authority, Vanderbilt Children's Hospital, and United Way of Metropolitan Nashville.
The Peter B. Goldberg ARAMARK Building Community Executive Leadership Award, now in its third year, was named in memory of Peter Goldberg, who served as president and CEO of the Alliance for Children and Families and CEO of United Neighborhood Community Centers of America until his death in 2011. Goldberg was passionate about the role of leadership in the non profit sector and instrumental in the creation of the award. More than two dozen Alliance and UNCA organizations submitted applications for the 2013 awards. An external panel of judges with expertise and leadership in the neighborhood revitalization movement, higher education, corporations, and foundations selected the winner.
"ARAMARK and the Alliance for Children and Families are pleased to recognize leadership that truly raises the bar and stands as an example to the nonprofit, human-serving sector," said Susan Dreyfus, President and CEO of the Alliance for Children and Families. "This award is for a person who embodies not only excellent executive leadership, but also the passion and drive for the work that Peter Goldberg displayed each day."
In 2011, Angela Blanchard, president and CEO of Neighborhood Centers Inc. in Houston, Texas was recognized as the first ARAMARK Building Community Executive Leadership Award honoree. In 2012, Randal Rucker, CEO of Family Service of Greater Boston in Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts, received the award.
ARAMARK Building Community enriches lives by helping families improve their health, secure jobs and move out of poverty. In partnership with community centers around the world, employee volunteers lend their nutrition, culinary, job readiness and facilities management expertise to ensure children, adults and families succeed. ARAMARK provides a range of resources, and since 2008 has invested more than $8 million in volunteer expertise, cash and in-kind resources. Nearly 4 million individuals and families served by community centers in nearly 52 cities have been aided by the program.
ARAMARK has partnered with Families International Inc., (FI), along with UNCA and the Alliance, for more than five years to help strengthen and elevate the work of local community centers in building strong families and neighborhoods. ARAMARK and FI have the mutual goal to help improve the quality of life for families and in communities by increasing the number of people living safe and healthy lives, by putting more people onto pathways for educational and employment success, and ultimately decreasing the number of people living in poverty.
About Martha O'Bryan Community Center
The Martha O'Bryan Center is a multi-faceted family resource center that provides programs to join families, the community, and schools to support better education and employment opportunities for Nashville's most at-risk individuals. It serves nearly 9,000 people each year. Currently Martha O'Bryan Center serves primarily children, youth, and families living in and around Cayce Place, Nashville's oldest, largest, and poorest public housing development. It also serves families from the CWA Plaza Apartments, a development that houses 803 residents, 55% of whom are under the age of 18, and a large number of single-parent, female heads of households.
About United Neighborhood Centers of America (UNCA) and Alliance for Children and Families
UNCA is a national advocate for social justice, progress, and community building that is inclusive, asset-based, and rooted in the rich tradition of the settlement house movement. UNCA's members comprise a voluntary network of community-building institutions. UNCA builds neighborhoods with neighbors. Learn more at UNCA.org.
The Alliance for Children and Families is a nonprofit national membership association of private, nonprofit human service providers in the United States and Canada. The more than 350 members of the Alliance serve close to 3.4 million people each year. The Alliance is accredited by the Council on Accreditation. More information is available at alliance1.org.
ARAMARK delivers experiences that enrich and nourish people's lives through innovative food, facility, and uniform services. Our more than 250,000 employees around the world demonstrate our corporate responsibility values every day, and we are recognized among the Most Admired Companies by Fortune and World's Most Ethical Companies by the Ethisphere Institute. Learn more at www.aramark.com or connect with us on Facebook and Twitter.
Contact: Mary Rucci, ARAMARK
Edwin Acevedo, Martha O'Bryan Center