Student-presented award recognizes impact, long-term sustainability of community organizations

MURRAY, Ky. — The Murray State University Nonprofit Leadership Studies program is pleased to announce the presentation of the Impact and Sustainability Award to the Rotary Club of Madisonville. 

The award was created by the students in the seminar on leadership development. The group of 32 students, representing nine different programs of study across the University, designed the award as a service learning project to apply the principles of community leadership explored in class.

The students invited nominations of nonprofit organizations from the Murray and regional campus communities that demonstrate impact and long-term sustainability of efforts to advance their missions. Five remarkable organizations were nominated, making the review and selection process a challenging learning experience. 

“I genuinely valued the opportunity to review nominations from the real-world work of community nonprofit organizations and learning about volunteer leadership in action,” said Anna Hughes, a senior from Paducah, Kentucky, majoring in organizational communication.

The overall assessments for each organization were positive, making the final decision based on each organization’s long-term impact and sustainability. Students particularly examined public image, community leadership and financial stewardship. 

“I was impressed with the long list of partners each organization has engaged and funded over the years, offering an example of community leadership on a critical social issue,” said Zyanna Gee, a sophomore majoring in wildlife and conservation biology from Elizabethtown.

After plenty of deliberation, the group agreed to award the Rotary Club of Madisonville, recognizing its long-term dedication to a critical community issue. The organization’s 76 years of commitment to serving area youth, raising thousands of dollars and reaching thousands of young people with programs and services that have evolved to meet the ever-changing needs of positive youth development were major factors in its selection.

“The Rotary Club of Madisonville demonstrates a commitment to community through both their mission and their service. Through this, it is evident the not-for-profit holds a focus on the needs of young people, and this is a powerful leadership role,” said Gavin Posey, a senior from Paducah, Kentucky, majoring in organizational communication and minoring in nonprofit leadership.

The Murray State University Nonprofit Leadership Studies program is pleased to announce the presentation of the Impact and Sustainability Award to the Rotary Club of Madisonville. Pictured clockwise from left are University students Zyanna Gee, Claire Umstead and Anna Hughes, Murray State University Madisonville Regional Campus Director Heather Roy and Visiting Distinguished Professor of Nonprofit Leadership Dr. Bob Long,. Pictured in the center is Rotary Club President Robert Carter.

“They have earned the reputation as champions in helping youth succeed,” added Claire Umstead, a senior pre-medicine and biology major from Murray, Kentucky.

Murray State University Madisonville Regional Campus Director Heather Roy presented the award to Club President Robert Carter on April 29. This included a framed certificate, a signed and inscribed copy of Dr. Joel Orosz’s “The Insider’s Guide to Grantmaking” and a $1,000 check from the Murray State University Foundation Nonprofit Resource Fund. This fund is made possible by a private donation intended to help advance the nonprofit organization’s mission.

“The Rotary Club of Madisonville considers it an honor to receive the Impact and Sustainability Award,” Carter said. “As Rotarians, we are truly blessed and fortunate to be part of a community that understands the importance of helping youth succeed. We can do more together, and are confident that this award will assist us in our endeavors.  Always remember; love one another, live life, and be kind.”

“Thank you for choosing The Rotary Club of Madisonville for the inaugural Impact and Sustainability Award,” Roy said to the awarding students. “This organization truly embodies ‘service above self’ to the community it serves, and having an outlet to recognize and reward its impact is greatly appreciated.”

“I appreciate all of the participating nonprofit organizations who helped give our students a real-world view of their work and a chance to use the principles they have been studying,” said Visiting Distinguished Professor of Nonprofit Leadership Dr. Bob Long, “The students gained a great deal from the experience of reviewing the submissions and wrestling with the challenge of selecting the awardee.”

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