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Celebrating Service to Others

The annual Humanitarian Award honors those who have dedicated their lives to others.

Celebrating Lives of Service

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Now accepting nominations for the 2023 Humanitarian Award.

Since 1990, the CFO, in partnership with the Springfield Area Chamber of Commerce, has honored an individual or individuals who have demonstrated a significant record of service to one or more causes in Springfield or regional communities. The award was founded by the late Jewell Thompson Schweitzer, a local philanthropist whose generosity touched the lives of many.

Nominations are now being accepted for the 2023 Humanitarian Award to honor a southwest Missouri resident for service that contributes to the betterment of his or her community. Nominations must be submitted by noon on Friday, Sept. 22. The winner of this year’s Humanitarian Award will be honored with others recognized in celebration of the Association of Fundraising Professionals’ National Philanthropy Day on Tuesday, Nov. 28.

Past Humanitarian Award Recipients

The award criteria describe a humanitarian as “an individual who has the courage to take decisive action, the wisdom to face aggressive challenges, and the willingness to sacrifice to affect these causes that have a long-term impact on the betterment of the community.” The award is designed to recognize a living person; posthumous nominations are not accepted. The nominations will be evaluated by an independent committee of three members of the clergy and three community leaders under the direction of the Chamber. The winner typically receives a $5,000 cash award, which he or she has traditionally donated to a favorite charity.

  • 2022: Andrea Bishop, executive director of the Betty and Bobby Allison Ozarks Counseling Center
  • 2021: Dr. Robin Trotman, infectious diseases specialist with CoxHealth
  • 2020: Steve Edwards, CEO of CoxHealth
  • 2019: Jill Bright, retired founder and executive director of Diaper Bank of the Ozarks
  • 2018: —
  • 2017: Dr. David and Linda Brown, founders of the Gathering Tree and Eden Village, for their work with the homeless
  • 2016: Hearld Ambler, retired Managing Partner of FORVIS LLP, for his longtime work assisting seniors with paper and online tax preparation
  • 2015: Kurt Larson, Springfield attorney and founder of Safe and Sober Missouri anti-drug and -alcohol program for teens
  • 2014: Morey Mechlin, retired executive director of Care to Learn, advocacy on behalf of children
  • 2013: Shawn Askinosie, socially conscious entrepreneur and philanthropist
  • 2012: Randy Russell, advocate for the arts and children
  • 2011: Roseann Bentley, lifetime of community service
  • 2010: Doug Pitt, Care to Learn and efforts in Tanzania
  • 2009: Roger D. “Dusty” Shaw Jr. and William Shaw, work in Thomasville and Oregon County
  • 2008: Bill Stalnaker, Boys and Girls Club and The Kitchen
  • 2007: Marie Prater, The Kitchen Foundation
  • 2006: Pat Walker, Founders Park and Springfield beautification
  • 2005: Bill & Virginia Darr, Families for Children
  • 2004: Dr. Judith Gonzalez, Hand in Hand Ministries
  • 2003: Wade E. Palmer, Help Give Hope
  • 2002: Dr. John Bentley, Health needs of the underserved
  • 2001: Harold Bengsch, Springfield-Greene County Health Department
  • 2000: Judge Thomas Mountjoy, Teen Court
  • 1999: Paul & Cyndy Teas, Camp Barnabas
  • 1998: John Harp, Greene County Foster Program
  • 1997: Dr. Jim Blaine, Greene County Medical Society
  • 1996: E.E. “Johnny” Johnson, Make-A-Wish Foundation of Missouri
  • 1995: Rev. Dorsey Levell, Council of Churches of the Ozarks
  • 1994: Linda Duncan and Janie Brunette, Multiple Sclerosis Wellness Program
  • 1993: Leonard Spellman, Children’s Shoe Bank/Kiwanis
  • 1992: Calvin Allen, Springfield Community Center
  • 1991: Sister Lorraine Biebel, The Kitchen
  • 1990: Mary Beth O’Reilly, Hospice

Award Criteria

The selection committee shall consider:

... all people in Southwest Missouri, regardless of age, race, sex or religion and shall also consider any recommendations from the general public;

... the visibility of the cause or the person in the community so that others will be inspired by their humanitarian activities;

... that the person may be a volunteer or an employed person, and if employed, the quality of the humanitarian effort shall exceed that called for by the position;

... that because the award recognizes the human factor in humanitarianism, the quality of the recipient’s personal involvement with others in need of assistance or support will be carefully considered.

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