In all, Mannington received more than 500 entries for the second annual awards, the company says. Accepted online at www.standonabetterworld.com, the entries were judged by a distinguished panel of women in three categories: Social, Economic and Environmental. Judges included television personality Leeza Gibbons, figure-skating legend Dorothy Hamill, former N.J. governor Christine Todd Whitman and Deborah Bell, the grand prize winner of last year's awards.
Olga Murray, a resident of Sausalito, Calif., won in the Social Category for her work helping to better the lives of Nepalese children. The 81-year-old retired law clerk founded the Nepalese Youth Opportunity Foundation (www.nyof.org) 16 years ago. The organization helps needy and impoverished children in Nepal, supporting multiple orphanages and overseeing programs to help end abuse, ensure medical care and foster education in the area. According to Mannington, Murray's efforts have "directly benefited the lives of more than 225,000 destitute Nepalese children."
Dana Dakin of Wilmot, N.H. was honored in the Economic Category. Three years ago on her 60th birthday she founded WomensTrust, (www.womenstrust.org) a non-profit organization that provides help for women and children in Ghana, West Africa. WomensTrust uses an innovative "micro-enterprise" system, providing small loans to women entrepreneurs in the area to better their community, Mannington says. The organization also focuses on education and health programs.
Ritu Primlani, honored in the Environmental Category, is this year's youngest award winner. The 33-year-old Berkeley, Calif. resident launched a program for certifying "green" restaurants eight years ago. Called Thimmakka Certified Green Restaurants (www.thimmakka.org), the program focuses on helping first-generation ethnic business entrepreneurs understand environmental issues. Specifically, the program trains owners to become environmentally friendly businesses. Currently, 44 restaurants (both ethnic and non-ethnic) have been certified by the program, and 100 restaurants have received training.
All three award winners will be honored at a Stand on a Better World Awards ceremony, Nov. 16 at the National Liberty Museum in Philadelphia. At that time, Mannington will also announce the grand prize winner. She will receive $25,000 to be donated to the recipient's chosen charity. The other two category winners will receive $10,000 for their favorite charities. Mannington notes that awards judges Dorothy Hamill, Christine Todd Whitman and Deborah Bell are planning to attend as guests of honor.
Mannington will also award five finalists $1,000 for their favorite charities. They are: Jenny Bowen of Berkeley, Calif.; Jill Sheffield of New York, N.Y.; Amy Jaffe Barzach of West Harford, Conn.; Debora Sponsel-Jolley of Albuquerque; and Meghan Pasricha of Hockessin, Del.
"We congratulate this year's winners not only for their awards, but more importantly for their accomplishments and the impact they're making for improving the lives of others in so many ways," said Tom Davis, Mannington Mills president and CEO.
Nominations for the 2007 Stand on a Better World Awards will be accepted beginning in March, on www.standonabetterworld.com.