OCCD Annual Awards to be Announced at the Summer Annual Meeting

June 30, 2020

Ohio Conference of Community Development (OCCD), a statewide association of community and economic development practitioners, announced the winners of the 8th Annual OCCD Member Awards, the President’s Award for Innovative Practices, and this year’s Public Service Scholarships.

The 2020 honorees for the annual OCCD Member Awards are as follows: 

         The George Voinovich Distinguished Public Service Award – In recognition of individuals who have devoted much of their lives to the benefit of society through careers in community development in the public and/or private sectors. 

2020 Recipient:  John Riordan 

        Community Development Partner of the Year Award – In recognition of a non-profit or faith-based organization, individual, business, financial institution, foundation, intermediary, government agency, or other entity that has provided exceptional support to the community development industry. 

2020 Recipient:  Home Repair Resource Center (HRRC) 

        Community Development Professional of the Year – In recognition of community development professionals whose work on a project or program had a major impact on their community. 

 2020 Recipient:  Janice Switzer, Ashtabula County 

                    Young Community Development Professional of the Year – In recognition of young community development professionals whose work on a project or program had a major impact on their community. This is the inaugural year of this award that recognizes community development professionals under the age of 35.

 2020 Recipient:  Carolyn Thurman, Columbus 

            Community Development Department of the Year – In recognition of a department whose programs collectively or one program singly has made a significant impact in their community. 

 2020 Recipient:  City of Canton   

In addition to the Member Awards, OCCD created the Public Service Scholarship Fund in 2012 to support students who are passionate about the field of community development. The scholarship fund was established in honor of William Graves and Gary Locke, and in 2017 was expanded to include Karen Kerns Dresser, who committed their careers to community development and public service in Ohio. Recipients of $2,000 scholarships will include:  Abigail Falcone, Taylor Brill, a third-year undergraduate student majoring in Public Policy, Leadership and Management at The Ohio State University; and Malania Birney, a fourth-year undergraduate student majoring in Political Science at Kent State University. 

The winner of the 2020 OCCD President’s Award for Innovative Practices is the City of Kettering – COVID-19 Business Assistance Program.  The CIty of Kettering is commended for their innovative and successful program – The COVID-19 Business Assistance Program – to meet the needs of businesses in the community.  In the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, the City repurposed existing business loan funds providing a responsive lifeline to local businesses.  The CIty created a forgivable loan product that was accessible, quick and easy to get into the hands of challenged businesses owners. With hard work and flexible thinking, the City assisted businesses and retained jobs.  The project reflects outstanding performance in addressing significant and immediate needs in the community. 

OCCD is an association of more than 175 community and economic development professionals representing cities, counties, villages, non-profit organizations and consulting firms across Ohio. Its members are dedicated to improving the livability of their communities through various initiatives and collaborations that aim to eliminate urban blight and encourage planning practices that enable a healthy, sustainable, and equitable way of life for all citizens. The OCCD Member Awards were created to formally recognize those community development professionals who have made the greatest difference in their communities and in Ohio.

The 2020 award and scholarship recipients will be honored at OCCD’s Virtual; Annual Summer Meeting held July 30, 2020.  For meeting details, go to www.occd.org.

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Ohio Conference of Community Development Public Service Scholarship

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The scholarship program was established by OCCD to honor two men who dedicated their careers to Public Service. 

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