Agent of Change Awards for Outstanding Volunteer Service in 2008
- Board (Hy was vir die kategorie genomineer)
Nominee Name: William T. Grové
Volunteer Organization: Columbus Zoological Park Association Board
Your Name: Jeff Swanagan
Title: Executive Director, Columbus Zoo and Aquarium
Your Organization: Columbus Zoo and Aquarium
Address: Columbus Zoo and Aquarium Box 400, Powell OH 43065
Describe the volunteer work and what has been accomplished in calendar 2008
Willie has been a member of the Board of Directors for the Columbus Zoological Park Association for almost ten years. He has served as chair of the Zoo’s annual Zoo Fund campaign, chair of the Strategic Planning Committee and as a member at large on the Board of Directors. A recent President of the Zoo’s Board of Directors had this to say about Willie:
He has shared his love of wildlife and conservation with a diverse audience through his travel group and through his video programs. His general enthusiasm for the zoo is a positive example for other board members and his fearless quest to raise funds has set a high goal for others.
Willie relates well to all ages and brings friends and potential donors to our events. He is generous with his time, treasure, and talent. The Columbus Zoo has benefited greatly from his presence on our Board.
Willie is a true agent of change. Seven years ago, Willie brought together two seemingly opposite organizations – the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium and Opera Columbus. Willie is both a passionate conservationist and an accomplished singer. He has served for many years on the Opera Columbus board and is a tireless fundraiser for that organization too. He had an idea to bring the two organizations together by holding a summer concert event at the Zoo, Go Wild! for Opera at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium. The two organizations had never before collaborated but this event has proven to be a successful fundraiser for both the Zoo and Opera Columbus. Willie leads a committee of Zoo and Opera volunteers and is the primary driver of this event. He is instrumental in securing both the talent and the sponsorships. Thousands of people have attended this event, bringing new audiences to both the Zoo and the Opera. In 2008 he added a special twist to this successful fundraiser and challenged his committee and both the Zoo Board and the Opera Board to increase ticket sales so that a fund could be established in the name of retiring Zoo Executive Director Jerry Borin. To date, Go Wild! for Opera at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium has raised over $200,000 which has been split equally between the two organizations.
- Describe accomplishments, including hours of service:
Estimated hours for 2008 for both the Zoo and Opera Columbus – 1300 hours
Willie served as President of the Opera Columbus Board of Trustees from 2006 – 2008. He took the helm when the Opera was in danger of closing its doors forever and successfully led this organization through its financial crisis. According to Susan Ropp, Assistant Executive Director and Director of Development at Opera Columbus, “Opera Columbus is thriving today due, in large part, to Willie’s contributions during this time.”
From the original idea through the actual event, Go Wild! For Opera at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium is all Willie. Each year he brings to the table a renewed sense of energy and enthusiasm that is contagious. He always has a new idea, new partners; some new twist that keeps the event fresh and exciting as well as increasing audience numbers. In 2008, Willie suggested we add Franklin County Children’s Services as a partner to Go Wild! The Zoo sponsored more than 100 children and their mentors to a day at the Zoo, with special activities just for them. They then attend the evening’s concert.
- Who benefits from these services?
The entire Columbus community has benefited from Willie’s passionate and enthusiastic support of the Zoo and the Opera.
- Describe the Change that has occurred because of the volunteer activities.
New audiences have visited the Zoo and been exposed to Opera Columbus because of Willie. This event includes performances by nationally recognized artists, local singers and children. It is a wonderful family event that showcases both organizations.
- What makes the nominees service extraordinary?
He is a tireless cheerleader for both organizations. His vision and passion are contagious and makes new friends for both organizations wherever he goes. As a fundraiser he is a generous contributor as well as an innovative “matchmaker” finding and involving new donors.
- Additional comments.
As a board member, Willie sets the standard. He is generous with all of his resources. He is an “out of the box” thinker who not only has new ideas, but is willing to act on his ideas, following them through to completion. Willie is a true agent of change and the changes are all for the better.
Willie se kommentaar op sy “award” – so humble….
Totally undeserved but well appreciated. There are many people who share in this honor, not the least of which is my team who has given me their unconditional support in all my community activities.
Recently I was also nominated for the State of Ohio Governor’s Award for community service. These honors, along with the Barron’s top listing (12th in Ohio, top 5 in Columbus) go a long way towards building the Grové Team and UBS’ credibility in the Columbus. I am proud of what we achieve together.
Eish… Ek swel alweer met trots op my “Amerikaanse” oom…