SRU will see nonprofit ‘stars’ shine at upcoming award ceremony


Nonprofit Organization Awards Dinner and Gala is April 24

April 2, 2019

SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. — Taking a cue from the award celebrations in Hollywood, Slippery Rock University will roll out a red carpet for local "celebrities" when the 7th Annual Nonprofit Organization Academy Awards Dinner and Gala takes place at 6:30 p.m., April 24. The event, which takes place at the Russell Wright Alumni House will be hosted by the Student Nonprofit Alliance at SRU.

The event celebrates the accomplishments of nonprofit organizations in western Pennsylvania as well as staff, board members and volunteers who dedicate themselves to making a difference in the lives of others.

"There are so many people in the nonprofit sector who are changing so many lives and this is a great opportunity for them to be recognized like the stars they are and walk the red carpet," said Alice Del Vecchio, assistant professor of interdisciplinary programs and adviser for the SNA.

Nonprofit organizations throughout Allegheny, Beaver, Butler, Lawrence and Mercer counties are invited to nominate staff, board members, volunteers and other contributors for awards including: Youth Volunteer of the Year, Most Outstanding Board Member and Most Impactful Program of the Year. New this year is a Lifetime Achievement Award that will be presented to Joyce Ainsworth, director of Butler County's Office of Human Services.

Alice Del Vecchio


All winners will be presented with trophies that resemble an Academy Award.

In addition to walking the red carpet, the event will feature photographers and names of attendees on stars, ala the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Guests will be treated to a formal dinner as well.

"I love seeing the excitement and enthusiasm of the honorees," Del Vecchio said. "It's easy to see and feel how honored they are that someone took the time to notice all the work they do when you listen to the very emotional acceptance speeches they deliver."

Students from Del Vecchio's nonprofit philanthropy class, the Student Nonprofit Alliance and students majoring or minoring in nonprofit management coordinate the event, working within a budget and via a variety of committees including: sales and sponsorship, design, event logistics and event management.

"I've learned a lot about the work being done in the nonprofit sector and what they experience while planning events like this," said Ayzia Winfrey, a senior nonprofit major from Uniontown. "I discovered that I really enjoy working behind the scenes on logistics and number-related tasks too."

Del Vecchio said she enjoys working with students on this event because by the time they're enrolled in the nonprofit philanthropy class, she knows each of them very well and, while she tries her best to act as a good mentor for them, they end up mentoring her as well.

"My students really want to make a difference, and for someone to give them the opportunity to do that, and then step out of the way to actually let them do it is really empowering," Del Vecchio said.

Kevin Boozel, Butler County commissioner, will act as the evening's master of ceremonies.

Nearly 100 nominees and their guests are expected to attend the gala, featuring agencies including The Lighthouse Foundation in Butler; Once Upon a Hero in Cranberry Township; the Glade Run Foundation in Zelienople; and the Alliance for Nonprofit Resources in Butler.

All proceeds from the gala support scholarships for students in the nonprofit management program at SRU, which is the only undergraduate institution in Pennsylvania that offers such a program.

"I can't wait to put smiles on faces and to make sure the honorees feel like 'somebody,' because they are," Winfrey said. "I'm looking forward to giving them the acknowledgment they deserve."

Nonprofits in the area are able to nominate their 'stars' until April 8. For additional information or to submit award nominations, contact Del Vecchio at or call the Department of Interdisciplinary Programs at 724.738.4192.

MEDIA CONTACT: Megan Bush | 724.738.2091 |