Improving teaching and learning through ground-breaking practices and visionary leadership.
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Helping every child become all they were created to be
At Chick-fil-A, we believe in hard work and leading by example, and we’re passionate about helping our nation’s youth be everything they can be. All we do represents the generous spirit of our founder, S. Truett Cathy.
The True Inspiration Awards represent that spirit and the Chick-fil-A Foundation’s mission. Each year, we honor and support community organizations from across the country that are investing in and inspiring our future leaders.
The organizations recognized by the True Inspiration Awards go above and beyond in the fields of innovative education, emerging leadership development and youth entrepreneurship. They're working hard to make a lasting difference in their local communities, and we're proud to help them extend their impact.
We must motivate ourselves to do our very best, and by our example lead others to do their best as well.
S. Truett Cathy
Meet Our 2018 Award Recipients
By the Hand Club for Kidsbythehand.org
We are an after-school program that emphasizes academic excellence while nurthing the whole child - mind, body and soul. Our program makes it possible for kids to not only succeed academically, but to stay enrolled in school.
Urban Youth Impacturbanyouthimpact.com
We are dedicated to providing educational enrichment, resources, safe environments, personal mentorship, and job-readiness programs to facilitate the growth and development of underserved youth.
Our mission is to counter negative cultural influences that misdirect the lives of youth by raising awareness and strengthening families through innovative prevention programming, education, parental engagement, mentoring, and counseling.
Emerging Leader Development
Focusing on character development, positive community and cultural involvement, and effective civic engagement
We help create brighter futures for children and families by developing and managing a comprehensive, community-based system-of-care for abused, neglected, and abandoned children and their families.
The Let It Be Foundationtheletitbefoundation.org
Our mission is to provide ongoing support and services to families of children diagnosed with cancer and other life-threatening illnesses throughout the sick child’s treatment, with a focus on the entire family.
Travis Manion Foundationtravismanion.org
We empower veterans and families of fallen heroes to develop character in future generations.
Developing business knowledge, entrepreneurial skills, and financial literacy
We encourage and empower young adults with developmental disabilities by providing innovative entrepreneurial education that builds on their interests and passions so that they can create happier and more productive lives.
Collegiate Entrepreneurs Organizationc-e-o.org
Our mission is to inform, support and inspire college students to be entrepreneurial and seek opportunity through enterprise creation.
Straight Ahead Ministriesstraightahead.org
We provide ongoing support and resources for juvenile offenders that begins while they are in lock-up, continues as they return to their communities, and follows through as they become self-sufficient, productive members of their communities.
S. Truett Cathy Honoree
Embodying the innovative and entrepreneurial spirit of Truett Cathy
Nominated by Chick-fil-A Operators Tom Balsamides, Steve Warnstrom and Colby Cameron
It started as a side project. Once a week, husband and wife Jim and Melinda Hollandsworth stopped by a nearby mobile home park in Loganville, Ga., to help local kids with their homework. Here in Gwinnett Estates, a predominantly Hispanic neighborhood, very few students were graduating high school—creating a cycle of poverty for the families who called this community home.
That was 2008. Today, Jim and Melinda, founders of the non-profit Path Project, operate community centers in eight mobile home parks in Georgia and Tennessee. “Our goal is to empower kids to graduate from high school with a plan for the future,” Melinda says.
According to Path Project, only 57 percent of Latino students graduate high school—due to issues such as language barriers, lack of basic academic skills by third grade, living below the poverty line, and parents who didn’t graduate. Melinda, Jim and their staff of 24 are trying to change that statistic by offering a full range of programs at their community centers—starting with Mommy & Me interactive learning experiences for moms and babies all the way to high school leadership clubs, which are individualized to the specific needs of each student. Currently, Path Project serves 625 children and youth across their communities.
And, their approach is working. In 2016, 88 percent of Path Project’s participants graduated from high school with a college or career plan in place. In the same communities, without Path Project, only 33% graduated.
Regional Award Winners
Special Kids, Inc.
We are a Christian-based therapy and nursing center for children with special needs.
Nominated by Chick-fil-A Franchised Operator Beau Noblitt
Girls Leadership Academy of Wilmington (G.L.O.W.)
We are working to close the female opportunity and achievement gap by equipping our students with the education and skills to achieve college admission and graduation.
Nominated by Chick-fil-A Franchised Operator Harold Jarvis
Teach One to Lead One
We are dedicated to transforming at-risk youth into responsible citizens through practical leadership skills and universal principles.
Nominated by Chick-fil-A Franchised Operator Scott Reed
We transform the lives of those at risk or victimized by sexual exploitation through residential and community-based programs.
Nominated by Chick-fil-A Franchised Operator Mike Holmes
Bridge Teen Center
Orland Park, IL
We are an innovative community center designed to meet the interests and needs of teens in the Illinois suburbs. Through our free programming, students have the ability to develop in a safe space that encourages mental, physical, emotional and spiritual growth.
Nominated by Chick-fil-A Franchised Operator Peter Glanvill
Moving Everest Charter School
Our mission is to create an educational environment that dramatically transforms the lives of K-8 students and prepares them for success in college and in life through the delivery of a rigorous and personalized academic program, a focus on holistic education and the development of strong character.
Nominated by Chick-fil-A Franchised Operator Lauren Silich
Youth Horizons, Inc.
We empower motherless and fatherless children throughout Wichita to become healthy, productive members of their communities through unique mentorship opportunities and residential programs.
Nominated by Chick-fil-A Franchised Operator Jason Lansdown
Central Texas Table of Grace
Round Rock, TX
Our mission is to create a loving, nurturing, homelike environment for displaced youth in the Central Texas area, providing shelter and healthy food as well as teaching healthy habits and life skills.
Nominated by Chick-fil-A Franchised Operator Jared Johnson
Play for All
Round Rock, TX
The Play for All Abilities Park is a fun, safe and inclusive park where children of all abilities can play side-by-side without limitations.
Nominated by Chick-fil-A Franchised Operator Priscilla Mendoza
For Pete's Sake Cancer Respite Foundation
Plymouth Meeting, PA
We provide cancer patients with a vacation, so they can take a break from cancer in a secure and comfortable environment and make lasting memories with loved ones.
Nominated by Chick-fil-A Franchised Operators Alan Zarkoski
New City Kids, Inc.
Jersey City, NJ
Our mission is to be an advocate, teacher and mentor to children from age 6 to 18, surrounding them with a community of love and development and setting them on a path of transformation that will carry them forward for the rest of their lives.
Nominated by Chick-fil-A Franchised Operator Erik Benitez
Lake Avenue Foundation
We are committed to unleashing the potential of youth in vulnerable communities, providing the tools necessary for children, youth and families to thrive academically, emotionally, economically and spiritually.
Nominated by Chick-fil-A Franchised Operator Adaobi Gwacham
The Road Home
Salt Lake City, UT
Our mission is to help people step out of homelessness and back into their communities by providing services including emergency shelter, case management and housing.
Nominated by Chick-fil-A Franchised Operator Becky Pickle
Beyond the Grant: The True Inspiration Award Experience
Jim and Melinda Hollandsworth of the Path Project share how being an award winner has impacted their organization.