This article has been updated to include the winner of the GSK Employee Choice Award.
GSK, an international pharmaceuticals company with a headquarters in the RTP, honored 10 area nonprofits at its 9th annual IMPACT Awards ceremony in partnership with the Triangle Community Foundation.
The award winners, including Northeast Central Durham based Partners for Youth Opportunity and the Community Empowerment Fund, each received $40,000 to use with no restrictions for their dedication to promoting health outside of the doctor’s office.
Becki Lynch, manager for the US community partnerships team, said that the awards not only let these nonprofits use the funds however they see fit, but also helps keep these different groups connected after the awards ceremony.
“The IMPACT Awards are bringing different groups together through workshops with the North Carolina Center for Nonprofits,” Lynch said.
Julie Wells, executive director of PYO, said that it was an honor to receive the award.
“It’s recognition for the growth that we’ve already done,” Wells said. “It fuels the excitement to keep going.”
The application process for the award is strenuous and highly competitive. Wells noted that it’s different from a grant, where the application seeks a proposal for a new idea.
“You really have to prove that you already know what you’re doing,” Wells said.
Wells said that they won’t be holding onto the funds for a rainy day, either.
“It’s going straight into our operational programming funds,” Wells said. “We can worry less…this is 10 percent of our overall budget.”
Community Empowerment Fund, another one of the award winners, brought songs of inspiration and gratitude with them to the event Thursday.
Clad in bright blue t-shirts, the CEF choir lined up in front of the stage and got ready to sing.
“I use to sleep in the shelters and on the street, but now I’m thankful that I have a key,” they sang.
Their song was met with cheers from the audience of GSK employees and nonprofit supporters.
Once the awards ceremony began, the choir director, Yvette Mathews, was on stage to receive the award given to them.
Mathews discussed her journey to discovering CEF when she accepted the award, mentioning how she started off in an unemployment office where someone handed her a business card with someone to contact at CEF.
Soon, she was volunteering at CEF, and before long, she was employed by CEF to run the front desk of their Orange County office.
Janet Xiao, a co-director at CEF, said they are excited to use the funds from the award to support their mission of beating homelessness and promoting financial and employment stability.
“We’ll support people wherever they are, even after they’ve gotten housing,” Xiao said. “That really helps support their housing stability in the long term.”
Maggie West, also a co-director at CEF, mentioned that moving forward, their focus will be on growth within the community.
“How we can grow well and how we can grow to serve,” West said. “Not just [serve] more people, but [serve] people that need it.”
At the end of the event, GSK employees at the company’s RTP location were invited to vote for their favorite IMPACT award winner to receive the GSK Employee Choice Award which included an additional $10,000.
On Nov. 28, Giving Tuesday, GSK announced that the winner of the Employee Choice Award was Families Together, a Wake County nonprofit dedicated to providing affordable housing, temporary rental and utilities assistance, and case management to put a stop to homelessness.
For more information on GSK and the IMPACT Awards, visit http://us.gsk.com/en-us/.
Editor’s note: PYO is partnered with UNC-Chapel Hill and North Carolina Central University for work on the Durham VOICE.