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Philanthropy WV recognizes 2021 award winners

Since 2007, Philanthropy West Virginia has recognized the philanthropic efforts of West Virginians by celebrating outstanding examples of generosity and leadership each year with the West Virginia Spirit of Philanthropy Awards.

The organization started presenting the awards to inspire, recognize and celebrate the generosity of West Virginians, organizations, businesses, foundations and collaborations that are transforming the Mountain State, according to a media release.

“This year marks the 15th anniversary of the awards being presented recognizing excellence and inspiration in philanthropy,” President and CEO of Philanthropy West Virginia, Paul Daugherty, said in the release.  “The honorees showcase the best of West Virginia through their generosity, community involvement, and impact on generations to come.”

This year, due to COVID, the annual awards ceremony typically held in October has been postponed until May 2022, the release said.  Until that proper celebration can happen, Philanthropy WV hosted three smaller award presentations in Morgantown, Charleston and Parkersburg.

There are five categories of awards given including: lifetime achievement-individual philanthropist, critical impact, staff leadership, individual philanthropist and corporate responsibility leader.

According to the release, Major General Kenneth D. Gray was presented with the Lifetime Achievement in Individual Philanthropy award at the Morgantown ceremony.  This award is only presented on special occasions to those who exemplify the values of Philanthropy WV and have made an outstanding impact on the people and communities of the Mountain State.

General Gray and his wife Carolyn’s generosity has impacted many lives with his service as past president of the West Virginia Bar Foundation, 20 plus years on the Salvation Army Board of Directors, creating an emergency fund at WVU to help students experiencing unexpected financial hardship, the WVU Veterans Legal Clinic at the WVU College of Law, and numerous other community organizations, the release said.

The Critical Impact Award, which celebrates collaborations and local grant making, was presented to Charleston Creativity Connections at the Charleston ceremony, the release said.  Charleston Creativity Connections was recognized for their work in supporting West Virginia artists, connecting local businesses to the art scene, and creating opportunities for the community to get involved in the arts.

The Parkersburg ceremony included two honorees, Robert “Bob” Boone and Reed Byers who, according to the release, received the Staff Leader Award and Individual Philanthropist Award, respectively.  

Boone, who is president of the Bernard McDonough Foundation, was presented with the Staff Leader Award for his tremendous leadership and service to connect those in need with resources to create systemic solutions in the Mountain State, the release said.  

In addition to his leadership efforts to develop solutions in areas like substance use disorder recovery, supporting youth in foster care, and basic human needs and community development, Moore gives through the Parkersburg Rotary Club, the Parkersburg Area Community Foundation investment committee, and the Boy Scouts of America.

Byers, who received the Individual Philanthropist award, is honored for his work as a peer recovery coach, volunteering with Friendship Kitchen, the Healthy Kids Running Series, and more, according to the release.  Through GiveMore Connections and their How to Save a Life Program, Byers worked as a peer mentor and completed many charity fundraising challenges.  

The award for Corporate Responsibility Leader  was presented to the Elm Grove location of Riesbeck’s Food Markets.  They were nominated by Catholic Charities Neighborhood Center for their generosity and ongoing support through their feeding program, the release said.  The Elm Grove store donates more than 1,800 pounds of food each week to serve those most in need.

For more information on the award honorees or for general information about Philanthropy West Virginia visit their website or follow @PhilanthropyWV on social media.