Tuesday, March 30, 2010

And the Green Award Goes to... Drum Roll Please...

The Indiana Green Awards Gala was Thursday, March 25th in Indianapolis. The Midas Center owner, Andrea Cook was selected as a finalist for Indy Green Fest's Indiana Green Entrepreneur of the Year. The room oozed with green entrepreneurs and grand leaders of social change of global proportions. The awards were given to much deserved professionals who truly earned the Lorax love and noble recognition. Andrea claims she isn't quite as dedicated as the Lorax but she's proud to not be the Onceler either (although she has been known to buy sneeds from time to time.)

The real awards went to the well deserved and duly dedicated recipients. The Midas Center is proud to have shared the evening with a group of divine minds! For example, the award winner of Reduced Waste was given to Fort Wayne Metals. Members from their organization are pictured below. This company is innovative in how they handle waste. One of the many projects they are working on involves searching for a salad packaging company so that they can reuse the wastes exuded from fish, a waste that provides energy as a great fertilizer in salad green nurseries. Their company disposes only trash that has been tainted with foods. This company inspires other business owners to look for ways to make a difference and Fort Wayne Metals is highly deserving of their award. Kudos Bruce, Lyndsey and Nate, leaders of social change!

Another notable item worth mentioning from the event is that Culver Tri Kappa was recognized as an award finalist! Chairs for Charity was selected as a finalist for the Indiana Green Award for Outstanding Community Project of the Year.

The judges were searching for a sustainable project providing a positive impact for the community and the environment and Chairs for Charity provided something that met the criteria.

Tri Kappa is a sorority dedicated to promoting culture, charity and education within the statewide borders of Indiana. With currently 146 active and 119 associate Tri Kappa chapters, Tri Kappa has a rich philanthropic history of leading programs, events and services to improve the lives of many. The Culver Tri Kappa active chapter includes a membership of over 30 active women leaders who strive to make a difference in their surrounding community.

This year was a remarkable moment for Culver Tri Kappa. Celebrating their 50th Anniversary, the group of community leaders also launched their most successful fundraiser to date, raising over $10,000 in a time when the economy was in a downturn. The inaugural Chairs for Charity program promoted culture and raised money to support charities and is being recognized as a leading finalist in the Indiana Green Business Award as the Outstanding Community Project of the Year because of its community-wide awareness and prevention of repurposing 74 chairs for the sake of art and not sending the pile of chairs to the landfills.

Culver Tri Kappa’s Chairs for Charity called for creative community members to find a chair for a dumpster or where ever and repurpose it, recreating a chair into a masterpiece. The chairs were then donated and distributed throughout the town’s businesses to be showcased in a Chair Parade. Over 25 businesses participated. Throughout the month of June, people would experience these decorative chairs using the town-wide maps. At the close of the month, the parade ended and the chairs were marched to a reception hall where they were sold during a live Auction Gala. Over two hundred people, including the artists attended the gala and were all pleased with the outcome as the highest paying bidders carried their creative chairs to their homes. These 74 chairs are now each sitting comfortably in people’s homes and not in an over-capacitated landfill.

Chairs for Charity started as a fundraising project for Tri Kappa’s programs that they lead throughout the year. However, this project turned into much more. Allowing creative community members to showcase their talents using materials that otherwise would be undervalued and thrown away, this program brought a unified vision and intrigue for the arts and for recycling items for art sake. To see the artists’ faces when their chair was up on the auction block in a bidding war enriched the community’s camaraderie. The days leading up to the event were also encouraging as members in the community were telling their stories on where they found their old chairs. Some people would find a chair in a ditch, a second hand store, in their grandmother’s basement. Some organizations were needing to get rid of chairs and donated them to artists. There was a local synergy of “save the chairs.”

With over 74 chairs being recreated for a new purpose and not being thrown away, begins a new mindset for recycling within the Culver community. People are looking forward to the next event and searching for that piece of furniture to recreate. The support of over 20 local businesses and over ten media mentions in the local newspapers as well as over 2000 hits to the blog proved a successful publicity endeavor. Lastly, the group of about 30 women were able to raise over $10,000 for local charities. Saving 74 chairs from going into the landfill and providing scholarships, Christmas baskets, funds for the fire station, school, library and individual families in need are really what makes this world a better place.

“You can’t save the world. But, you can make a difference in your community, one chair, one person at a time,” comments Andrea Cook, Co-Chair of Chairs for Charity event. Culver Tri Kappa is expected to launch its second Chairs for Charity event in 2011 and it is expected that many more people will be involved.


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