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Michelle Kinder, Lili Kellogg, Tina Weinfurther, Greg May, Sharon Rankin and Katie Pedigo - Photo by Lara Bierner

CNM Connect (previously The Center for Nonprofit Management) honored the recipients of its 15th Annual A Night of Light Awards of Excellence last week at Sixty Five Hundred in Dallas. Over 400 nonprofit professionals and community stakeholders gathered Thursday night to celebrate those making a difference in North Texas.

Three finalists were presented in five categories celebrating nonprofit excellence. The 2015 Awards of Excellence recipients included:

  • Nonprofit of the Year – Equest (Finalists included TexProtects and Trinity River Mission)
  • Nonprofit CEO of the Year – Michelle Kinder, Momentous Institute, owned and operated by the Salesmanship Club of Dallas (Finalists included Madeline McClure, TexProtects and Sharon McGowan, Friends of Wednesday’s Child)
  • Nonprofit Board Leader of the Year – Greg May, Dallas CASA (Finalists included Beth Gold, Educational First Steps and Gayle Johansen, VMLC)
  • Nonprofit Communicator of the Year in Honor of Robert Miller – New Friends New Life (Finalists included Garland Summer Musicals and Operation Kindness)
  • Corporation of the Year – Southwest Airlines (Finalists included Celanese Corporation and Tenet Healthcare Corporation)

Award recipients received a $5,000 cash award and a $2,500 scholarship for CNM certificate programs. To date, CNM has awarded $425,000 in cash awards to 85 organizations.

“North Texas nonprofits are setting a tremendous example of what can be accomplished when we work together to improve the lives of those who need our help the most,” said Tina Weinfurther, President and CEO of CNM Connect. “As the needs in our community grow, it is important to recognize the nonprofits and individuals who work so hard to make a difference.”

CNM Connect also honored veteran journalist Robert Miller for his more than 60 years supporting the philanthropic community with the introduction of the Robert Miller Scholarship for Community Philanthropy. The scholarship can be applied to a CNM Marketing Certificate Program, and will be awarded to a deserving nonprofit professional each year.

“Mr. Miller has helped so many nonprofits build awareness of their causes,” Weinfurther added. “We are honored to launch a scholarship program in his name to help nonprofit professionals gain the knowledge and skills to effectively deliver their missions.”

In addition to the award and scholarship presentations, CNM Connect and Alliance Data announced a partnership to launch an innovative approach to using technology for achieving outcomes. The technology will enable all nonprofits, regardless of size or mission, the opportunity to access the analytical and reporting capabilities needed to know if their programs are successful.

The 2015 A Night of Light Honorary Chair was Gillian Breidenbach. Nikki and Crayton Webb were Event Co-chairs and Dave Lieber, Watchdog Columnist at The Dallas Morning News, served as Master of Ceremonies. An independent panel of judges chaired by Gwen Echols selected all award finalists and recipients.

Key supporters of A Night of Light included:

  • $15,000 Alliance Data; Communities Foundation of Texas; Dallas Morning News (In-Kind)and Texas Instruments
  • $10,000 Anonymous; Bank of America; Mary Kay Inc. and Oncor
  • $6,250Deloitte; EY and PwC
  • $5,000Exxon Mobil Corporation; Fidelity Investments; Glazer’s; Origin Bank; Tenet Healthcare and Tolleson Family Foundation
  • $2,500Anonymous; Atmos Energy; Bank of Texas; Baylor Scott & White Health; Celanese Corporation; Dallas Women's Foundation; Gwen and Leldon Echols; Frost; Stephanie and Travis Hollman; Bobby B. Lyle; Deborah and Jim Nugent; Rosewood Property Company; Shackelford, Melton, McKinley and Norton, LLP, TXU Energy; VMLC Board of Directors and Wells Fargo

Founded in 1980, CNM Connect (previously The Center for Nonprofit Management) strengthens communities by connecting and engaging nonprofits and other stakeholders through leadership, management expertise and outcomes technology. In addition to providing services including executive recruiting, seminars, certificate programs and consulting, CNM is expanding its offerings to meet the needs of today’s nonprofit. To learn more, visit or call 214-826-3470.


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