Published On: Wed, Sep 25th, 2019

Hats Off Nonprofit Awards to Honor 113 Nominees on October 1st

Emcees Suzanne Boyd and Eric Roby

Boca Raton, FL – Nonprofits First, Inc. has announced 113 nominees, representing 90 local nonprofit organizations and community partners, who will be recognized at its third annual Hats Off Nonprofit Awards ceremony.

The event, a spirited, hat-themed cocktail reception, will take place on Tuesday, October 1, 5:30 – 7:30 p.m. at the Harriett Himmel Theatre in West Palm Beach.  Well-known former TV personalities Suzanne Boyd and Eric Roby, who host the Rise+Live morning talk show, will emcee the evening.  In keeping with supporting the nonprofit community, hors d’oeuvres will be catered by Joshua Catering from The Lord’s Place.

Awards will be given in nine categories, including awards for organizations and individuals. New this year is the Lifetime Achievement Award, honoring an individual who, over the years, has effected noteworthy change in Palm Beach County and is held in high esteem by the community. The winners in each category will be kept a secret until they are announced on stage during the ceremony.

A blue-ribbon panel of 50 community leaders in the public and private sectors selected. Two live awards will also be announced at the event. Guests will be invited to vote on the People’s Choice Award, which will acknowledge the nominee receiving the most votes.  Also, judges will be scouting for creativity when selecting a winner of the Best Hat Award.

“This event sold out last year, so we encourage people to buy their tickets early,” said Jessica Cecere, CEO of Nonprofits First, which is hosting the event. “We anticipate another exciting evening of cheerful celebration for those in the business of doing good.”

Funds raised from this unique event benefit Nonprofits First Education Programs. These programs focus on the professional development, leadership and training the nonprofit community volunteers and employees need to lead and succeed.

To view the nominees, visit To purchase tickets, go online to or call Nonprofits First at 561-214-7435.

For more than 12 years, Nonprofits First, Inc. has been the leading resource for strengthening the administrative and operational capacity of nonprofit organizations in the community. Comprised of experienced professionals, consultants and volunteers, the vision of Nonprofits First is a community in which all nonprofits achieve their highest level of success.

2019 Hats Off Nonprofit Awards Nominees

Nonprofit of the Year – Small – (Operating budget less than $500,000)

Chasin A Dream Foundation

Eat Better Live Better

Encore Palm Beach County

Florida Fishing Academy

Forgotten Soldiers Outreach

Friends of Palm Beach

Funding Working Families

Holy Ground Shelter of Palm Beach County

Ladies of Futurity

Piper’s Angels Foundation

Princesses Against Cancer

Restoration Bridge International

Sea Turtle Adventures

The Reef Institute


Nonprofit of the Year – Medium – (Operating budget $500,001-$2.49 million)

Busch Wildlife Sanctuary

Christians Reaching Out to Society (CROS Ministries)

Coalition for Independent Living Options

Compass LGBTQ Community Center

First Serve

NAMI Palm Beach County

Susan G. Komen Florida

Unicorn Children’s Foundation

Village of Hope of Palm Beach County

Nonprofit of the Year – Large – (Operating budget more than $2.5 million)

Achievement Centers for Children and Families

Big Dog Ranch Rescue

Community Partners of South Florida

Drug Abuse Foundation of Palm Beach County

Place of Hope

Redlands Christian Migrant Association

The Arc of Palm Beach County

Lifetime Achievement 

Nancy G. Brinker

Jan Cairnes

Gregory Demetriades

John A. Foley

Liz Lieber

Jane Robinson

Lauree Simmons

Julie Swindler

Monique D. Brown Wellons

Dan West

Tenna Wiles

Nonprofit Executive of the Year 

Sharon Alexander, Unicorn Children’s Foundation

Jervonte Edmonds, Suits for Seniors

Tracey Godin, Feeling Fine Canine and Equine Rescue

Scott Hansel, Community Partners of South Florida

Elizabeth Harrigan, The Reef Institute

Karen Hilo, Center for Family Services of Palm Beach County

Lisa Johnson, Girl Scouts of Southeast Florida

Laura Kallus, Caridad Center

Sharon L’Herrou, 211 Helpline

Coleen LaCosta, Speak Up for Kids

Lizabeth Olszewski, Horses Healing Hearts

Rhonda Rogers, Lake Worth West Resident Planning Group

Wil Romelus, Digital Vibez

Edna Runner, Edna W. Runner Tutorial Center

Colleen Smith, Ballet Palm Beach

Dr. Chase St. James, Operation Wounded Warriors

Valerie Staggs, Pandora’s Kids

Nancy Stellway, Take Stock in Children Palm Beach

Travis Suit, Piper’s Angels Foundation

Julie Swindler, Families First of Palm Beach County

Debra Tendrich, Eat Better Live Better

Chris Tress, Urban Youth Impact

Nonprofit Professional of the Year

Stephanie De La Cruz, Center for Child Counseling

Kathryn Grace, Hanley Foundation

Nickie Hennevelt, West Palm Beach Library Foundation

Josh Hirsch, Susan G. Komen Florida

Amy Mann, Unicorn Children’s Foundation

Katherine Murphy, NAMI Palm Beach County

Berthanie A. Pierre, Achievement Center for Children and Families

Kelly Powell, Community Partners of South Florida

Chloe Rits, Be Like Brit

Barbara Scarlata, Pediatric Oncology Support Team

Lauren Scirrotto, Center for Child Counseling

Carolyn Williams-Smith, YWCA of Palm Beach County

Melissa Wise, United Way of Palm Beach County

Nonprofit MVP of the Year

Tara Hails, Pathways to Prosperity

Wilbert Jean-Baptiste, Digital Vibez

Robbriannia “Annia” Johnson, YWCA of Palm Beach County

Tracy Speranza, Community Partners of South Florida

Nonprofit Volunteer of the Year

Michael T. Bayer, Redlands Christian Migrant Association

Melissa Bilodeau, Big Dog Ranch Rescue

Robert Cataldo, Big Dog Ranch Rescue

Evan C. Deoul, Philanthropy Tank

Dana Finegan, Restoration Bridge International

Angela Fisher, Unicorn Children’s Foundation

Keely Gideon-Taylor, Pace Center for Girls Palm Beach

Brian Kappen, Peggy Adams Animal Rescue League

Thomas M. Kirchhoff, Historical Society of Palm Beach County

Wayne Lefkowitz, Compass LGBT Community Center

Theresa LePore, YWCA of Palm Beach County

Bill Lynch, Center for Child Counseling

Denise Mariani, No Kid Hungry, Habitat for Humanity of Palm Beach County, Executive Women of the Palm Beaches Foundation, Palm Beach North Chamber of Commerce, Friends of Jupiter Beach, Leadership Palm Beach County

Fr. Seamus Murtagh, Holy Ground Shelter for Homeless

Adam Narkier, Community Partners of South Florida

Judy O’Malley, Historical Society of Palm Beach County

John Tedesco, Police Athletic League of West Palm Beach

Shaw Thomas, Speak Up for Kids of Palm Beach County

Melissa Wise, Feed the Hungry Pantry of Palm Beach County

Community Collaborators Award

Feeding 150 Children and Families Over Summer Weekends Through the Distribution of Over 1200 Bags Of Food 

Achievement Centers for Children and Families, Palm Beach County Food Bank, Volunteers of the Palm Beaches, and the Polo Club of Boca Raton

Empowering Foster Care Youth in Palm Beach County to Realize and Achieve Their Dreams by Graduating from High School and Leading Successful, Productive Lives

Best Foot Forward Foundation, Inc., ChildNet, and AT&T

Engaging the Youth of Palm Beach County while out of School for the Summer, Winter, and Spring Break

Boynton Beach Police Department, Delray Beach Police Department, Stuart & Shelby Development CEO Chuck Halberg, and GBDC Entrepreneurship Institute

Delivering Medical and Behavioral Health Services to the Chronically Homeless and Other Underserved Adult Patients Across Palm Beach County

  1. L. Brumback Primary Care Clinics – Mobile Clinic, City of West Palm Beach, The Lord’s Place, St. Ann Place, St. George’s Center

Locally-Led Solutions for Community Wellness, Including Healthier Together Sites in Northern West Palm and Riviera Beach, Lake Worth Beach, and the Glades

Community Partners of South Florida and Palm Health Foundation

Getting Kids Moving Toward a Lifestyle That Prioritizes Health and Fitness 

Edna W. Runner Tutorial Center and Palm Health Foundation

Creating Safe and Beautiful Visitation Rooms to Promote Bonding and Interactions Between Parents and Children in the Child Welfare System

Guardian ad Litem, Childnet, Children’s Home Society, Palm Beach County Youth Services, FAU, The Breakers Palm Beach and community supporters

Encouraging Children to Show Other Children Inclusiveness and Belonging While Raising Awareness About the Negative Impact of Bullying  

Mental Health America of Palm Beach County and Author/Educator Loverly Sheridan

Saving the Lives Of Adoptable Animals Entering the Palm Beach County-Run Shelter

Peggy Adams Animal Rescue League and Palm Beach County Animal Care and Control

Giving Youth the Opportunity to Reach Their Full Potential as Productive, Responsible Adults Who Will Enhance the Communities Where They Reside

Student and Athlete Mentoring Program and Boys and Girls Club of Palm Beach County

Creating a Comprehensive, Integrated System of Care That Meets the Changing Needs of Persons With Special Needs/Disability Throughout Their Life Span

The Palm Beach County Special Needs Advisory Coalition

Teaching the Students of Palm Beach County to be Stewards of Our Oceans Through Research and Educational Opportunities

The Reef Institute (formerly Healthy Aquatics Institute) and the School District of Palm Beach County

Keeping Victims Of Domestic Violence and Their Children Safe With Their Non-Offending Parent and Holding Perpetrators of Domestic Violence Accountable

YWCA of Palm Beach County, Aid to Victims of Domestic Violence, DCF Circuit 15, Childnet, Children’s Home Society, Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office, State Attorney’s Office, Children’s Legal Services, and the Florida Department of Corrections


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