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Touchstone Awards given to three Northland nonprofits

Lee Stuart, executive director of CHUM, gets a hug from Duluth Mayor Emily Larson after CHUM received a Touchstone Award at the Duluth Entertainment Convention Center on Monday afternoon. At right is Tom Wheeler, who was on the award selection committee.( Bob King / / 3
Beth Olson, executive director of First Witness, asks others with the organization to rise to share in winning one of the Touchstone Awards on Monday at the Duluth Entertainment Convention Center. (Bob King / / 3
Tara Golden, executive director of North Shore Horizons3 / 3

Three Northland nonprofit organizations were honored Monday for their work with children, families and survivors of domestic violence.

The Duluth Superior Area Community Foundation hosted its 22nd annual Touchstone Awards before a crowd of more than 360 guests at the Duluth Entertainment Convention Center.

“The Touchstone Award recognizes the best of the best of nonprofit work in our region,” Duluth Superior Area Community Foundation President Holly C. Sampson said in a news release. “These are projects that people in communities know and believe in their hearts will make a difference. They just need the resources to make it happen. With the help of our donors, we are able to work with them to bring out the best of project work that exemplifies generosity, inclusiveness and civic engagement.”

Duluth’s CHUM received the generosity award; North Shore Horizons of Two Harbors received the civic engagement award; and First Witness Child Advocacy Center received the inclusiveness award.

Each organization was awarded $2,500 to help with future projects. Award recipients were selected from more than 160 grants provided to nonprofit groups by the foundation in 2014.


CHUM, formerly Churches United in Ministry, was recognized “for creating fun, educational and family-centered programming and activities for the 60 children living in Duluth’s Steve O’Neil Apartments,” according to the foundation. The apartment complex, which opened in 2015, is aimed at helping “lift families out of poverty and, in some cases, have provided the first permanent housing they have known.”


North Shore Horizons of Two Harbors was honored “for expanding support services provided to survivors of domestic and sexual violence, including new housing opportunities connected to counseling and other assistance.”


First Witness Child Advocacy Center was recognized for using a grant “to further develop its advocacy training model to support abused children and their families. It then shared that model through training with other communities nationwide.”


In addition to the three award winners, Touchstone Award finalists included:

Generosity: Minnesota Land Trust and its support of two new outdoor recreation groups, for paddlers and climbers.

Civic engagement: Local Initiatives Support Corporation and its community-building work in Duluth neighborhoods.

Civic engagement: Cable Community Garden and its garden expansion and educational programs.

Inclusiveness: The University of Minnesota Duluth’s Boulder Lake Environmental Learning Center and its efforts to share information about its work to develop connections to nature through education, research and recreation.

Inclusiveness: Superior Interaction, a theater group made up largely of University of Wisconsin-Superior students, and its “performances about controversial but real subjects that college students experience.”