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San Diego Charities among winners at Stay Classy Awards

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Preceding the Emmys on Sunday was San Diego’s premiere awards show honoring philanthropic work among the most innovative and avant garde thinkers of the day.  Attendees of the 3rd Annual Stay Classy Awards last Saturday, Sept. 17 at the Civic Theatre, got a taste of what a group of people can do with some time on their hands, a lot of collaborative spirit, and just about the right amount of passion to help others.

At the Red Carpet, SDEntertainer had the chance to speak with some of the minds behind Invisible Children.

“We’re basically a film production company,” said co-founder, Jason Russell, modestly about his project that has reached millions with its production crews and is constantly working towards increasing support for non-profits and other organizations in professional media.

An non-profit organization that has nurtured its foundation in the very hallways of UCSD campus, Invisible Children is now one of the biggest movements towards raising awareness for the mobilizing of thousands of African children from the war-trodden fields to safety.  And taking home the Most Effective Awareness Campaign by a Charity award, the Invisible Children-team only hopes to draw more of the media’s attention toward the immediate problems in turbulent war-zone areas, where young children are torn from their homes everyday.

Alongside the key speakers of the night were hopefuls relishing in the opportunity to discover new charities they could collaborate with.  One of these aspiring philanthropists was none other than Virgil Gibson, lead singer to and one of the original members of the Platters during the American doo-wop period.  Hoping to find a suitable charity to donate his time and money to, Gibson was scouting the crowds at the annual Stay Classy award ceremony for a worthy cause.  As the evening continued to unveil the different stories behind each charity and organization, the Stay Classy Awards proved to be in abundance of young entrepreneurs on the forefront of doing good for the sake of others.

But what stood out that night had to be the stories.  As the nominees walked onstage to collect their awards, many of the awardees were in tears as they shared what has impact them.  Every story and every tear shed had an almost humbling effect over the audience, and that was because for the majority of the night, the great thinkers and spirited leaders that filed onstage and filled the arena were young entrepreneurs.

And as cheesy as it sounds, this proves that anyone can make a difference.  Looking at the latest generation of iPad-crazed, technology-influenced parade of young ‘uns bears fruit to what is starting to look like a world where Internet connectivity is detracting from real time interaction, you can only hope that the next generation of youngsters will have enough stamina to tear their eyes from the screen to listen to you.  But replace all those touch-screen tablets with real life problems and our youth or generation of young adults prove they can not only impact lives, but also raise awareness for issues that plague the world.

Actress and philanthropist, Jamie-Lynn Sieger hosted the evening’s festivities, and under her direction, we gained more insight behind some of the great charities running nation-wide as well as some entertaining tidbits with one of the the founding members of the Mo’ Bros and presenter, Tebreez Verjee of Kiva.org.

Congratulations to the Winners!

Charity of the Year: The Soldiers Project from Los Angeles, California

Small Charity of the Year: Long Way Home, Inc. from Dallas, Texas

Best New Charity: Marley’s Mission from Scranton, Pennsylvania

Philanthropic Business of the Year: Panera Bread from Saint Louis, Missouri

Philanthropic Small Business of the Year: Nika Water from San Diego, California

Most Creative Fundraiser by a Charity: Alex’s Lemonade Stand from Wynnewood, Pennsylvania
Most Successful Fundraiser by and Individual or Group: Blanchard Memorial School’s 6th Grade Class from Boxborough, Massachusetts
Most Effective Awareness Campaign by a Charity: Invisible Children from San Diego, California
Most Influential College Student or College Organization: Northwestern University Dance Marathon from Evanston, Illinois
Most Innovative Use of Social Media by a Charity: I’m Too Young for This! Cancer Foundation from Manhattan, New York
Volunteer of the Year: Troy Yocum from Louisville, Kentucky
Young Nonprofit Leader of the Year: Faith Huckel/Restore NYC from Manhattan, New York

About StayClassy: StayClassy is a fast-growing San Diego-based startup that develops an online fundraising product used by thousands of Nonprofit organizations around the world. The company was founded in 2006 by a couple of friends who were looking to fundraise for charity, but didn’t know how to get started. They envisioned a platform that made it easy for Nonprofits to turn their supporters into fundraisers; and so, they set off to build one. After years of testing their concept with dozens of Nonprofits, their initial idea has evolved into what is now an industry-leading online fundraising solution for Charities, Foundations, Churches, Schools, Clubs and more. Recently, the founders were selected by Bloomberg Businessweek as one of the top 5 most promising social entrepreneurs in America. The company is also the host of the Classy Awards, the largest philanthropic awards show in the Country.  For more info on Stay Classy Winners visit, www.classyawards.org or http://www.stayclassy.org/.

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