2012 Touchstone Winners Announced

Duluth, Minnesota – Nine area nonprofit programs were honored today at the Touchstone Awards Ceremony for their commitment to enhancing the quality of life for all residents of the region through their leadership in fostering generosity, civic engagement and inclusiveness. 

The Duluth Superior Area Community Foundation awarded its 2012 Touchstone Award to the College of St. Scholastica’s Multicultural Leadership Orientation, Superior Business Improvement Districts’ Phantom Galleries and Northshore Area Partners’ Volunteer Support Program. 

St. Scholastica was honored in the category of inclusiveness for creating a more welcoming and respectful campus culture for students of color. Superior BID received the award for civic engagement for their program that brought together diverse members of the Twin Ports to enjoy public art displays, while sparking a conversation about downtown economic vitality. Northshore Area Partners were recognized in the category of generosity for their work to support home caregivers, working with loved ones who have physical or mental disabilities. 

The Community Foundation granted all three groups funds in 2010 for their impactful projects. As Touchstone Award winners, each will receive an additional $2,500. 

“This year we are recognizing outstanding nonprofit programs in the arts, economic development, education and human services,” said Holly C. Sampson, president of the Community Foundation. “All nine of our Touchstone Award finalists move our community forward by turning problems into opportunities through their commitment to generosity civic engagement and inclusiveness.” 

The winners and the six other nominees were recognized at the Touchstone Award luncheon at the Duluth Entertainment and Convention Center. Sponsors of this year’s luncheon were: 

Morgan Stanley Smith Barney, the Duluth News Tribune, BMO Harris Bank, U.S. Bank, Eikill & Schilling, Ltd., Enbridge Energy Company, Inc., Fryberger, Buchanan, Smith & Frederick, P.A., Hanft Fride, A Professional Association, Johnson Killen & Seiler, P.A., Attorneys-At-Law, maurices, Republic Bank, Wells Fargo Private Client Services, and Wheeler Associates. 

Additional information about the Touchstone Award winners: 
Generosity: Northshore Area Partners 
The NSAP Caregiver Support Program offers individual and family counseling, support groups, caregiver training and education services to those caring for loved ones at home. The program offers in-home volunteer respite care and service coordination. All services are provided in an effort to support family caregivers, so that their loved ones can stay in their homes for as long as possible. 

Civic Engagement: Superior Business Improvement District 
To encourage and contribute to a thriving downtown, Phantom Galleries, a second-year project of the Superior Business Improvement District and SPACES, placed 24/7 temporary art installations by established artists into vacant storefronts in Superior’s downtown, providing a unique public art opportunity for the artists and the community. 

Inclusiveness: College of St. Scholastica 
In order to retain diverse students in Duluth through and beyond graduation, CSS created a Multiculural Leadership Orientation program that focused on relationship-building and leadership skills development. As part of the orientation, students went on local field trips to help strengthen bonds and enhance awareness and appreciation of the region’s natural beauty. Through extensive collaboration with community resources and organizations, MLO participants forged meaningful relationships beyond the campus. CSS’s orientation program increased community support for students of color, leading to a more inclusive, respectful and pluralistic community and, through this, more satisfied students and higher retention of multicultural students on campus. 

Additional information about other award finalists: 

Generosity 
Junior Achievement Junior Achievement was founded for the purpose of educating and inspiring young people to value free enterprise, business and economic in order to improve the quality of their lives. JA fosters the future success and economic health of young people and the communities where they live by providing hands-on, K-12 learning programs that focus on the areas of financial literacy, college and work readiness, and entrepreneurship. During 2011, JA worked with 3,876 students in 27 schools. 

Western Lake Superior Habitat for Humanity Western Lake Superior Habitat for Humanity builds hope one home at a time. In response to the need for programs that address deferred maintenance and accessibility issues faced by homeowners with low-incomes, WLSHFH shifted focus in 2009 from constructing new homes to repairing existing housing stock. Through “A Brush with Kindness” they match businesses, schools and faith organizations with homeowners in projects that build confidence, increase accessibility and energy-efficiency. 

Duluth Festival Opera: Opera in the Park Opera in the Park - for the very first time - made high-quality professional opera accessible to all residents in the Twin Ports free of charge. The production, held on Sunday, August 22, 2010 at Leif Erickson Park, included singers (both chorus and soloists), dancers of the Minnesota Ballet, and an ensemble of DSSO musicians. 

Civic Engagement 
Kinship of Aitkin County: Youth Development Program Kinship of Aitkin County provides quality adult/youth mentoring services along with free after school programming, including life skills and leadership development. Through their programing, youth are taught to make good life choices that put them on the path to success. The program has grown substantially and in 2011 alone, Kinship mentoring served over 60 pairs, the Good Character Clubs had more than 600 students, and Youth Leadership Skill Building program worked with 15 students. 

Human Development Center: Look it in the Eye Northland To explore and raise community awareness of the causes and cures of mental illness, HDC produced a film called “Look it in the Eye Northland” to share throughout the community. The project created a team of “outreach leaders” who showed the film in various local community venues and then facilitated discussions with audience members about its impact. 

Inclusiveness 
YWCA of Duluth: GirlPower! GirlPower! provides enrichment activities that focus on academic success, leadership, community engagement and economic independence. Girls develop and apply skills that will help them become more confident and empowered. GirlPower! partners with schools, juvenile detention settings, and other community programs to ensure their mission of empowering women and girls is brought to females in a different life-circumstances. A total of 144 at-risk girls from three schools were able to participate in this impactful program.