13 Honorees Celebrated for Community Engagement During The SPARK Awards 2019

  • December 16, 2019

Thirteen organizations and individuals were honored, Monday, December 16, during The SPARK Awards 2019 special broadcast on WKNO/Channel 10.  The sixth annual televised awards show honors and celebrates the efforts of individuals, nonprofits, corporations, and schools, in 13 different categories, who are igniting change and making a positive impact in the Greater Memphis community. The SPARK Awards is produced in partnership by WKNO-TV and cityCURRENT.

Back in August, the public was invited to freely cast nominations in each of the 13 categories, as an opportunity to recognize and help publicly thank the organizations and individuals who are leading by example and making a difference in the Mid-South. The categories cover individuals of different ages (youth, college student and adult), nonprofits and corporations of various sizes, then education with a school, teacher, and education leader award. There is also a Legacy Award to honor someone’s efforts and impact over the course of many years or a lifetime. Nominations were accepted from 8:00 a.m. on August 1, 2019 to 5:00 p.m. on August 31, 2019.

Once the nomination phase ended, all nominations were provided to the Midtown Memphis Rotary Club, who served as the independent judges for the awards show. No preference or weighting was given to multiple nominations for the same individual or organization. The criteria for judging was based on taking a leadership role in initiatives or efforts that better the Greater Memphis community, volunteerism, and impact.

Winners in each category were announced and featured during the televised awards show on Monday, December 16 from 8:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. on WKNO/Channel 10. Viewers had the chance to learn more about each of the honorees during short 3-minute interviews that highlighted their community efforts and celebrated their service. The special is now available for viewing online at wkno.org, pbs.org, and cityCURRENT.com.



Here are The SPARK Awards 2019 honorees in each category:



100 Employees or Fewer – TopCat Masonry Contractors

101-499 Employees - Buckman

500+ Employees – Hollywood Feed



Budget under $1 million – ARISE2Read

Budget $1-5 Million – Peer Power Foundation

Budget Greater than $5 Million – Agape Child & Family Services



Leadership – Archie Moss, Jr.

Educator – Mary Riddle

School – University Middle School



Adult – Jon Neal

Collegiate – Edgar Cruz

Youth – Logan Guleff



Bill Morris, former Mayor of Shelby County and Sheriff of Shelby County


“We greatly appreciate the community service, the dedication and leadership of each of our SPARK Awards 2019 honorees,” notes Jeremy C. Park, CEO of cityCURRENT, host of The SPARK, and producer of The SPARK Awards. It’s inspiring to see students leading the way to help local nonprofits, people helping those who are fighting cancer, business executives and owners using their resources as community catalysts, educators going the extra mile to create new opportunities for youth to learn and thrive, and nonprofits creating strong support networks for our city and citizens who need our help. Watching and learning their stories helps us see the good taking place not only in the Mid-South, but in our nation and world, as well. It’s chance for us to thank these hometown heroes, to learn from them, and inspire more people to become a SPARK, to make a difference.”

“One of the things public television does best,” said Michael J. LaBonia, WKNO President and CEO, “is to put a spotlight on positive achievement. This is exactly what both our monthly television series, The SPARK, and our annual televised awards show, The SPARK Awards, do. The SPARK Awards is all about honoring those who truly make the Mid-South a great place to live, work, and play.”

The SPARK Awards is an extension of the WKNO-TV series, The SPARK, a monthly 30-minute show, hosted by Jeremy C. Park, about business and community leaders who are fueling change and giving back to the Mid-South.  “The SPARK Awards grew from the success of our monthly show, The SPARK, which is now in its seventh year on WKNO,” notes Park. “With both shows our goal is simple: to spotlight the good taking place in our city and how we can become a SPARK to make an even larger difference and to help more people.”

Major funding for The SPARK and The SPARK Awards is provided by Lipscomb & Pitts Insurance and Data Facts with Champion Promotion as an additional major funder for The SPARK Awards. Additional funding is provided by Christian Brothers University, SRVS, Meritan, Mueller Industries, YMCA of Memphis & the Mid-South, United Way of the Mid-South, Stuart Lloyd Cohen, and My Town Movers/My Town Roofing/My Town Miracles. Event support for The SPARK Awards was provided by Nolan Audio Video Solution and Mahaffey Tent & Event Rentals.   A co-production of WKNO and cityCURRENT, The SPARK airs the third Friday of each month at 7:30 p.m. on WKNO/Channel 10. 


"It was very revealing. I had no idea of the broad range of community outreach initiatives involved by the sponsoring members. This is the most positive movement that I have seen in Memphis in a long time and is surely needed. I really enjoyed my visit."
Bill Morris , Former Memphis Mayor
"It is actually hard to put into words the feeling I had meeting and joining with the Memphis 'giving' community at the cityCURRENT Signature Breakfast hosted by Smith & Nephew and in partnership with The Martin Institute for Teaching Excellence. To see living embodiments of real and true compassion and caring for others, all gathered in one place gave me some sense of the astounding range, depth and sustained good works the business community in Memphis is doing. It was clear to me that those d
John Hunter, Award-Winning Educator , former guest speaker, and focus of the documentary, "World Peace and Other Fourth-Grade Achievements"
Over the past several years I've been asked more than a handful of times about Duncan Williams Asset Management's involvement in cityCURRENT. My answer is always the same... Renewing our membership is one of the easiest and best decisions that we make each year! I can't say enough how proud we are to continue to be a member of such a great organization doing truly meaningful work here in the Memphis community.
David Scully , President, Duncan Williams Asset Management
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