2019 Spirit of Philanthropy Program

The West Virginia Spirit of Philanthropy Awards are the state’s premiere awards recognizing the philanthropic efforts of private individuals, collaborative projects in communities and regions, professional leaders of foundations and corporate giving programs.

Join us on Thursday, November 7, 2019 for the 2019 WV Spirit of Philanthropy Awards Program at The Blennerhassett Hotel in Parkersburg, WV. The luncheon begins at 12:30 with our closing keynote Championing Diversity & Inclusion in Grantmaking, Boards, Committees, and Communities with Dr. Michelle Foster, President & CEO of The Greater Kanawha Valley Foundation.  

To purchase a ticket ($55.00/person) or a full table ($500/table), please go here!  If you have questions or would prefer to pay by check, please contact Kate Leary, Operations Assistant at operationsassistant@philanthropywv.org or 304.517.1450. 

Our 2019 Honorees include:

  • Critical Impact: Foundation for the Tri-State & America’s Best Communities Huntington Collaborative

The Foundation for the Tri-State Community and the City of Huntington partnered to develop a revitalization plan for Huntington, bringing in partners from across the city to create a comprehensive vision for growth and innovation. Using that plan, they successfully participated in the America’s Best Communities competition, winning $3 million to make their plans a reality.

  • Volunteer Leader:  Jean Clark, Preston County, WV

Jean has held multiple volunteer roles with Your Community Foundation of North-Central West Virginia (YCF), from marketing to volunteer coordination to chairing the Board. In addition to volunteering her own time, she has been instrumental in recruiting other volunteers and in securing funds to enable YCF to hire staff. In 2015, Jean became a founding member of the Women’s Giving Circle of North Central West Virginia.

  • Lifetime Achievement Volunteer Leader: C.J. Kaiser, Wheeling, WV

CJ Kaiser is a longtime board member of the Community Foundation for the Ohio Valley (CFOV). Early in his tenure with the board, he secured the initial grant that allowed CFOV to have their first full-time Executive Director, setting them on the path of success. He also managed mergers between adjacent community foundations, led the effort to find a new office and served as a key link between donors, professional advisors, and CFOV.

  • Corporate Responsibility Leader: Dominion Energy

Dominion Energy supports West Virginia communities through their DE Charitable Foundation, the Energizing Our Communities volunteerism program and the matching gift program for current and retired employees. Grant monies support education, conservation, community vitality and human needs. In 2018, Dominion was responsible for $750,000 in donations and 7,000 volunteer hours.

  • Staff Leader:  Tamara Mullins, Nicholas County Community Foundation

Tamara is an instrumental part of the Nicholas County Community Foundation (NCCF), working to secure Neighborhood Investment Program credits, bolstering NCCF’s educational outreach program, raising public awareness of NCCF’s many roles, and more. While only part-time in the Executive Director position, Tamara has put in a full-time effort to expand both assets and community connections.

  • Lifetime Achievement Staff Leader: Sheri Ryder, The Greater Kanawha Valley Foundation

Sheri Ryder has worked with the Greater Kanawha Valley Foundation (TGKVF) since 2002 and has exhibited leadership and creativity in multiple capacities. Sheri led the design and implementation of TGKVF’s Multi-Year Basic Needs Grant Program, supported TGKVF’s affiliate foundations, and mentored staffers. She has also served on the boards of several non-profits, including the WV Nonprofit Association and the WV Child Advocacy Network. 


The WV Spirit of Philanthropy Awards are provided by nominations and reviewed by an independent objective selection committee.  Each honoree will receive a specially commissioned award created by a West Virginia artisan and a mini-grant will be awarded in their honor to a charity of their choice. 

For 2019, we launched the new Corporate Responsibility Leader Spirit of Philanthropy Award to recognize a company who advances corporate giving through their annual giving, employees volunteerism, donation of in-kind services and products, and the impact their work has on their community and our state. Staff Leadership, Volunteer Leadership, and Critical Impact awards go to those who made philanthropic investments resulting in positively changing the lives and communities of the Mountain State.

Buy a ticket for the Spirit of Philanthropy Luncheon here!

The Award Descriptions & Nomination Forms

The Critical Impact Award celebrates local grantmaking, big and small. The awards will go to the organizations/collaborations that demonstrates creativity, innovation, and sustainability in their grant project. Nominations will be accepted for programs that demonstrate bold vision, strategic initiative and foundations, or by corporate or government grantmaking organizations. To nominate CLICK HERE!

The Volunteer Leadership Award honors an individual exhibiting an extraordinary service and impact in philanthropy in the state of West Virginia. This individual excels in his or her role as an individual philanthropist through their personal giving, their company’s philanthropy, engaging others to give, and/or serving as a board member of a philanthropic organization. To nominate CLICK HERE!

The Staff Leadership Award honors an individual exhibiting an extraordinary commitment to philanthropy in the state of West Virginia. Nominations will be accepted for staff of grantmaking foundations and corporate giving. This staff member (volunteer or paid) excels in his or her role by demonstrating exceptional commitment and leadership in the field.  To nominate CLICK HERE!

The Corporate Responsibility Leader Award recognizes outstanding companies, of any size, who are actively donating, volunteering, and making a difference in local communities and the state of West Virginia.  To nominate CLICK HERE!

Nomination Process & Guidelines

Each nominator must follow the outline of this application and answer each question completely within the format provided. The nominator may include and attach up to two items (no more) including:

  • additional written references, noting the nominee’s contributions to their projects and/or the community
  • one additional item such as a newspaper article to highlight the accomplishments of the nominee.

Additional items should be in PDF format, no longer than 1 page in length and may be submitted by email to Philanthropy WV. Please title each document 2019SOPNom:NomineeName. Insert the same text in the subject line of the email. The nomination is to focus on current achievements (within the past 24 months). Each year the review committee only reviews new nominations and previous year’s nominations do not carry over for consideration in future years.

For over a decade, the Spirit of Philanthropy Awards has recognized excellence in the philanthropic community. Philanthropy WV will always recognize the past Spirit of Philanthropy award winners and the positive impacts they have made in West Virginia.