The SPARK Awards is the Mid-South's annual televised award show focused on honoring individuals and organizations making a difference in our community. The SPARK Awards celebrates and recognizes 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 by WKNO-TV and cityCURRENT with sponsorship from: Midtown Memphis Rotary, Lipscomb & Pitts Insurance, Data Facts, Champion Awards & Apparel, and Memphis Theological Seminary. Additional funding provided by: Christian Brothers University, SRVS, YX Genomics, and Meritan. Promotional and in-kind supporters include Nolans AV and Mahaffey Tent & Event Rentals.
Reynolds, Bone & Griesbeck PLC, <100 Employees
Huey’s Restaurants, 100 - 499 Employees
ServiceMaster, 500+ Employees
Memphis Inner-City Rugby, Budget under $1m
Best Buddies Tennessee, Budget $1-5m
Resurrection Health, Budget over $5m
Grahamwood Elementary School, School
Warren (Bud) Richey, Leadership
Derrick Brown, Teacher
Matthew Stroud, Youth
Brandon Branch, Collegiate
Katie Midgley, Adult
Richard C. Shadyac Jr., CEO ALSAC / St. Jude Children's Research Hospital
The SPARK Awards is an extension of our WKNO-TV series, The SPARK. The SPARK is a monthly 30-minute show, executive produced and hosted by cityCURRENT president Jeremy C. Park, about business and community leaders who are fueling change and giving back to the Mid-South. The SPARK airs the third Friday of each month at 7:30 PM on WKNO/Channel 10. It is a collaborative production between cityCURRENT and WKNO-TV. Major funding for The SPARK is provided by Lipscomb & Pitts Insurance, Data Facts, and Memphis Theological Seminary, with additional funding from Christian Brothers University, SRVS, YX Genomics, and Meritan.
Pictured from left to right:
(back row) Dennis Rutledge, Individual-Adult winner; J. Ross Peters from St. George’s Independent School, Education-School winner; Lloyd Phelps with Phelps Security, Corporate 100-499 Employees winner; Karl Schledwitz with Monogram Foods, Corporate 500+ employees winner;
(second row) Nikkia Brown, Individual-Youth winner; Angela Hamblen and Katie Graffam with Camp Good Grief, Nonprofit Under $1m winner; Rodney Rowan, Education-Leadership winner;
(front row) Jeremy C. Park, cityCURRENT President and The SPARK TV Show host; Gregory Snook, Individual-Collegiate 18-24 winner; Catherine Collins, Ph.D with The Exchange Club Family Center, Nonprofit $1-$5m winner; Daphne Large with Data Facts, Corporate with 100 or Fewer Employees winner; Barbara King with Exchange Club Family Center, Legacy Award winner; Blair Trotz, Education-Educator award; Sally Heinz with MIFA, Nonprofit with Budget Greater than $5m winner; and SPARK Awards 2015 host, Tom Prestigiacomo.
Corporate - 100 or fewer employees: Data Facts, Daphne Large, CEO
By faithfully supporting organizations like Make-A-Wish and Youth Villages, and donating 10% of every new customer’s bill back to a nonprofit of their choice, giving back is part of the DNA at Data Facts.
Corporate - 100 - 499: Phelps Security, Lloyd Phelps, President
Through a strong connection with local law enforcement, Phelps Security created and organization, B.I.G for Memphis, that brings businesses and law enforcement together to be a part of the solution. Phelps Security is also a strong supporter of COMEC, CrimeStoppers, and the Fallen Officer Memorial.
Corporate - 500+: Monogram Foods, Karl Schledwitz, Chairman and CEO
Monogram is devoted to helping youth through the Monogram Loves Kids Foundation. To celebrate 10 years in business Monogram created the IMPACT10 giving campaign, which selected ten publicly nominated charities to receive $1,500 each year for 10 years. Monogram also has an annual gala “Meat Me in Memphis,” where party goers help to raise funds for children’s charities.
Nonprofit with budget under $1m: Camp Good Grief: Kemmons Wilson Family Center for Good Grief
Camp Good Grief is a safe place for children, teens and adults to explore and express their feelings about the death of a loved one. More importantly, it's a place where they can learn to thrive in a world without that special person. Camp Good Grief has over 3,000 people visit the grief center annually.
Nonprofit $1m-$5m: Exchange Club Family Center
For over 30 years, The Exchange Club Family Center has interrupted the cycle of family violence including domestic violence among intimate partners and the risk of child abuse. Through its various programs, Exchange Club Family Center has helped thousands of local families develop a safe, secure, and nurturing environment.
Nonprofit over $5m: (MIFA) Metropolitan Inter-Faith Association Founded on the life principles of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr, MIFA supports the independence of vulnerable seniors and families in crisis. Their programs keep families and seniors in their homes including Meals On Wheels, as well as a host of family programs that are designed to prevent homelessness.
Individual, under 18: Nikkia Brown
By fostering a lifestyle of doing good, Nikkia Brown, of Power Center Academy, has raised over $1,000 and spearheaded a successful book donation program to help children from Power Center Elementary, KIPP, Crump Elementary, and Shelby County summer reading programs.
Individual, collegiate 18-24: Gregory Snook
Marine Corps Veteran, Gregory Snook, is a graduate of The University of Memphis and is on the Advisory Board of the Student Veterans Business Association, living a life of service beyond the call of duty even at a young age.
Individual, adult: Dennis Rutledge
Exemplifying the ideals of service through the volunteer work at the Calvary Rescue Mission, Dennis Rutledge is the epitome of how one spark ignites a flame of passion and perseverance. After a mission trip to Guatemala, Dennis wanted his son to see the impact of service locally by preparing meals for local children. This Christmas, they will serve over 600 local children.
Education - school: St. George's Independent School
St. George’s Independent School functions on a unique model and culture of excellence and service, providing unmatched community engagement and volunteerism throughout the school grades and creating an indelible mark on the Memphis community.
Education - educator: Blair Trotz, Shelby County Schools CLUE Program
A devoted educator and extraordinary creative problem solver, Blair Trotz teaches gifted students at Grahamwood Elementary. Beyond the academics, Blair created a book club to spark imagination and conversation through reading which has proven to be successful.
Education - leadership: Rodney Rowan, Principal, Cherokee Elementary School, SCS I-Zone School
Through Principal Rowan’s exquisite leadership, his school, Cherokee Elementary, had the highest science gains throughout the SCS school system this past year. Additionally, they’ve turned an underperforming school into a community-wide learning haven by focusing on love and ‘heart’ work.
Legacy: Barbara King, Executive Director, Exchange Club Family Center
A legacy in something you create over your lifetime. And in turn, leave for others to build upon. For 22 years, Barbara King has built a legacy of hope and help for children and families in crisis through her leadership role at The Exchange Club Family Center.
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