Organizations, Individuals Recognized at Keep America Beautiful National Conference

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Posted: Wednesday, February 11, 2015 5:46 am | Updated: 5:51 am, Wed Feb 11, 2015.

STAMFORD, Conn. -- More than 100 organizations and individuals from communities across America received national recognition at the annual Keep America Beautiful National Awards Dinner, held during the recent 2015 KAB National Conference in Washington, D.C. Established in 1953, Keep America Beautiful consists of a national network of more than 600 community-based affiliates whose programs, initiatives and efforts, supported by millions of volunteers, aim to transform public spaces into beautiful places.

Among those individuals recognized with KAB’s highest honors were retired U.S. Naval Officer, Dan Fisher, and Cam Oberting, a pioneering voice for environmental protection in Tampa, Fla., who received KAB’s pre-eminent awards for volunteerism: the Iron Eyes Cody and Mrs. Lyndon B. Johnson awards, respectively. Mr. Fisher and Ms. Oberting were both nominated by KAB affiliate, Keep Tampa Bay Beautiful.

The Iron Eyes Cody Award was created in honor of KAB’s landmark public awareness campaign of the 1970s, which is credited with awakening the environmental consciousness of an entire generation of Americans. The Mrs. Lyndon B. Johnson Award was named after the former first lady for engaging our nation in recognizing that aesthetic beauty is directly related to healthier communities, a cleaner environment, and a better quality of life. These awards honored the exceptional volunteer leadership that Mr. Fisher and Ms. Oberting have demonstrated in the Tampa Bay area and beyond.

Keep America Beautiful also bestowed its annual Young Professional Award to Elizabeth Philpott, volunteer services coordinator for Keep Arkansas Beautiful; Sue Smith Leadership Award to Joyce Kagan Charmatz, president of both Keep Chicago Beautiful and Keep Illinois Beautiful; and the William “Bill” Nash Award for new KAB affiliates to Keep Highway Park Beautiful.

“The Keep America Beautiful National Awards program recognizes our affiliates, partnering organizations and incredible volunteers who produce creative, resourceful and meaningful programs and initiatives that help make their communities cleaner, greener and more beautiful,” said Jennifer Jehn, president and CEO, Keep America Beautiful. “It’s my privilege to recognize such valuable, mission-based work that helps communities become more socially connected, environmentally healthy and economically sound.”

The KAB National Conference, the leading nonprofit organization’s premier educational and networking event, brought together more than 350 community improvement leaders, including KAB’s national network of state and local affiliate directors, business leaders, policymakers and other national experts, who focused on framing new ideas and strategies to build and sustain vibrant communities.

“For me, the best part about this conference was the thorough updates on KAB's national initiatives, including ‘I Want To Be Recycled’ and the blight study,” said Michelle Feldman, executive director of Keep Philadelphia Beautiful. “That information is super helpful as I return to my community. I’ll have it at the tip of my fingertips as we plan.”

Conference keynote speaker Peter Kageyama, author of Love Where You Live and For the Love of Cities and the co-founder and producer of the Creative Cities Summit, explored the value of emotional engagement with one’s city, how that connection is created and nurtured, and how it can be turned into a development resource. In a culminating “Love Note” from Mr. Kageyama to all attendees, he wrote: “What you do for your communities is remarkable. It is a public service of the highest order, perhaps not fully appreciated by city leaders and citizens alike, but one that we know is at the core of place-making, citizenship and creating cities that are not only clean, green, sustainable and livable, but lovable cities that grab us by the heart and refuse to let us go. Long Live Keep America Beautiful!"

“I’m now armed with better tools to lead my board and add more value and benefit to our community,” said Stephen Cushman, president of the board of directors, Keep Wakulla County Beautiful. “We are a strong organization completing many projects each year, but I did gather more ideas to help promote and improve on the strong foundation we have in place.”

SOURCE: Keep America Beautiful

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