United Way to Present ‘Volunteer of the Year’ Award

Each year, United Way of 1000 Lakes recognizes outstanding community members who dedicate their personal time to improving Itasca-area communities. Presented annually, the Volunteer of the Year Award goes to an individual who makes a substantial impact through time and talent. 

Cheryl Shepherd (right), a volunteer with Grace House, received last year’s Volunteer of the Year award at United Way’s annual campaign celebration. Photo by Jordan Weis.

Nonprofit and community organizations operating in and around Itasca County are invited to nominate volunteers who have gone above and beyond in their service for this year’s award. Previously open only to United Way-funded partner agencies, 2023 is the first year volunteers with organizations not affiliated with United Way are eligible for the award. Volunteer recognition awards are one facet of United Way’s strategy to support increased volunteerism in the region, which also includes initiatives like Bonfire, an online volunteer portal (accessible at volunteer.uwlakes.org), and the Volunteer Coordinators Network (VCN), a collaborative of volunteer management professionals. 

“We’re excited to highlight volunteers who give back throughout the Itasca area,” says United Way executive director Kimberly Brink Smith. “We’re committed to strengthening our region’s volunteer force, and what better way to do so than coming together and celebrating those who give back?”

The Volunteer of the Year award will be presented at United Way’s Community Celebration and ‘Best of’ Awards on May 25th, 2023 at the Timberlake Lodge, with finalists receiving recognition during the ceremony. Award finalists will also be spotlighted during National Volunteer Month in April, with members of United Way’s volunteer Community Impact Committee voting on a final winner. 

Nonprofit organizations wishing to submit a Volunteer of the Year nomination can learn more and complete a nomination form at uwlakes.org/nonprofit-resources/#volunteer-awards. Submissions must be received by 11:59 p.m. on February 28th, 2023. Questions can be directed to United Way staff at 218-999-7570 or info@uwlakes.org.