Nominations are sought for Access Press annual award

Do you know a Minnesotan with disabilities who works tirelessly for the greater community? Can you name an outstanding community group that provides jobs and housing, trains advocates or provides activities for Minnesotans with disabilities?

Individuals and groups with records of exemplary service and commitment to others are worth of nomination for the 2015 Access Press Charlie Smith Award. The award will be presented Friday, November 6 at the newspaper’s annual banquet.

The Access Press Board of Directors has announced the start of the award nomination period. Nominations will be taken until 5 p.m. Friday, August 14. Information on the award can be found here.  Email access@testing.accesspress.org for a form. Or call 651-644-2133 for assistance. Ask if assistance or accommodations are needed to submit an award nomination.

The Charlie Smith Award is named in honor of the late Charlie Smith Jr., founding editor of Access Press. He was a well-known Minnesota disability rights advocate and was known for his politic savvy and tenacity. Smith founded the newspaper in 1990, with the help of many family members and friends. He led Access Press through many changes, including conversion to nonprofit status. He worked to expose what he considered to be inequities in how people with disabilities are treated.

The award winner is chosen by the newspaper’s board. The winner and finalists will be honored in the September issue of Access Press.

“The Charlie Smith Award is a great honor and we enjoy seeing so many nominations from our readers,” said Access Press Executive Director Tim Benjamin. Benjamin, who was a longtime friend of Smith’s, is his successor at Access Press. “Nominations in years past have represented a wide spectrum of community members, and we hope the 2015 field is no different.”

Benjamin noted that this year’s winner is being honored during the 25th anniversary year for Access Press. Any individual or group in Minnesota is eligible for nomination. People cannot nominate themselves. Past nominees can be nominated again, but a nominator cannot submit the same person or organization in consecutive years. A person or organization can be nominated for two consecutive years, but has to wait one year before being nominated again. Please send a high-resolution digital photo or an actual picture of the nominee. Otherwise, be prepared to tell the editors where a high-resolution picture can be obtained. Pictures will be returned on request.

Completed nominations, with photographs can be sent via email to CSAnominations@testing.accesspress.org, via fax to (651) 644-2136, or mail to Access Press, c/o Charlie Smith Award Committee, 161 St. Anthony Avenue #910; St. Paul, MN 55103.

The 2014 winners were Christine Marble and Wendy Devore, DeafBlind Services of Minnesota.

The winner is the guest of honor at the annual award banquet, which is November 6 at the Minneapolis Airport Marriot 2020 E. American Blvd., Bloomington. Guests enjoy a delicious meal, a fun silent auction and “pick your prize” raffle, speeches and time to socialize with friends. Family members and friends of the honoree are encouraged to attend. The Marriott is reasonably accessible. Interpretation is offered, by request for any guests. Please let the Access Press staff know in advance if any accommodations are needed.

Meal choices will be announced soon. Ticket information is on the website.

 

Sponsors, prizes needed

The 2015 banquet relies on donors to make the event a success. AccraCare is the 2015 event’s first sponsor, at the Editor-in-chief level. UCare is another sponsor at that level.

Three levels of sponsorship are offered. For Editor-in- Chief Level, a $400 donation gets the organization/company name and logo displayed on a special banquet banner, on a table and in the 2015 banquet program. This level sponsor also gets a table named in its honor at the banquet. Another benefit is two free rotating website ads, a value of $200. This sponsorship also brings a one-year listing in the newspaper’s Directory of Organizations (a $60 value) and a free one-year subscription to the print edition.

For Proofreaders Level, a $300 donation gets the organization/company name and logo displayed on a special banquet banner, on a table and in the 2015 banquet program. Another benefit is two free rotating website ads, a value of $200.

Keyliners Level sponsorship, named for those who used to paste up newspaper pages, is $200. Sponsors receive the organization/company name and logo displayed on a special banquet banner, on a table and in the 2015 banquet program. Keyliners receive one free website ad, a value of $100.

All sponsors are recognized in the November and December 2015 print editions of Access Press. Anyone interested in sponsorships should contact Access Press Office Manager Dawn Frederick at 651-644-2133, or dawn@testing.accesspress.org.