KENNEBUNK, Maine/PRNewswire/ -- Inspiration across the nation! From Washington to West Virginia, 15 nonprofit organizations with a passion for human, healthy and environmental goodness are winners in the fifth annual Tom's of Maine 50 States for Good program. With more than 58,000 votes cast online, the 15 nonprofits with the most votes will share $150,000 in funding to put towards preserving land, promoting community gardens, empowering children, helping people with disabilities and looking out for seniors. To date, the 50 States for Good community giving program has benefited 5.5 million people and dozens of communities.
Each 50 States for Good winner will receive $10,000 to support their community project. The dedicated group of winning nonprofits follows, in alphabetical order, along with details on how they'll put the funding to use.
Cape Ann Farmers Market Backyard Growers Program (Gloucester, MA) – Backyard Growers will enhance and expand the school garden program, which provides elementary school students with opportunities to grow, harvest and eat fresh vegetables.
Connecticut Radio Information System (Windsor, CT) – Ten schools will receive a one-year subscription of CRISKids™ for Schools, audio recordings of print materials for children who are blind or print-challenged, including those with learning, physical, emotional or intellectual disabilities.
Gilda's Club Quad Cities (Davenport, IA) – A new program called G.R.O.W. (Giving Resources Organically Within) will plant an organic community garden and provide workshops on sustainability for members who have all been impacted by a cancer diagnosis.
Kompost Kids (Milwaukee, WI) – A large scale food waste collection and processing pilot will be executed in the Milwaukee area in order to divert from the landfill and create compost to sustain urban agriculture projects.
Michael T. Goulet Traumatic Brain Injury and Epilepsy Foundation (Saco, ME) – The Foundation's efforts to advance brain safety and awareness in Maine will be expanded and serve as a model program for other states.
MISSION POSSIBLE KIDS (Plano, TX) – 5,000 existing and 1,000 new program participants will be empowered to make a social impact on their communities, enacting service-oriented "top secret missions" to change the world and impact thousands in need.
Mountaineer Food Bank (Gassaway, WV) – The Mobile Pantry Program will provide healthy, nutritious foods to people in need in rural or underserved areas of West Virginia.
Neighbor Ride (Columbia, MD) – The expansion of Neighbor Ride's volunteer program will aid in continuing to serve the growing number of seniors who rely on the Neighbor Ride transportation service to remain healthy, independent and connected to the community.
One Simple Wish (Trenton, NJ) – More than 100 simple, special wishes will be granted to children in foster care.
Operation BBQ Relief (Pleasant Hill, MO) – Funding will purchase the perishable supplies necessary to feed approximately 10,000 meals during the organization's next disaster deployment.
Play-Place for Autistic Children (Sterling Heights, MI) – Building a new playscape will help to advance the coordination, climbing, balance and motor-planning skills of children affected by autism.
Skagitonians to Preserve Farmland (Mount Vernon, WA) – InFARMation radio programs will provide information to area highway travelers about seasonal happenings in Skagit agriculture and help grow community support for the organization's mission.
The Poverello Center (Missoula, MT) – Completing the construction of a new emergency housing facility will aid in feeding and sheltering thousands of area neighbors living in poverty each year.
Trumbull Neighborhood Partnership (Warren, OH) – Up to 100 free-standing flower boxes, soil and plants will be made available to residents of the Garden District to help the neighborhood earn its name.
Wilton Wildlife Preserve & Park (Gansevoort, NY) – Funding will support the start of the organization's accessible trail project.
"The ingenuity of this year's winners to help their neighbors and the environment is incredibly inspiring," said Susan Dewhirst, goodness programs manager at Tom's of Maine. "These community projects are an important reminder that we can accomplish so much more when we work together. Community support, passionate volunteers and creative thinking can bring lasting goodness to our communities in a way that matters every day."
During the public vote, volunteer and nonprofit nominators were showcased as part of an interactive voting hub that highlighted inspiring stories across the country. From a pool of more than 1,000 nominations, 51 finalists were chosen by a judging panel of passionate leaders in the nonprofit community including Sam Davidson, president of Cool People Care, nonprofit strategist and Huffington Post columnist Lisa M. Dietlin, Matt Petronzio, assistant features editor covering social good for Mashable.com, and star of "The Vampire Diaries" and nonprofit founder Ian Somerhalder.
Since it was founded in 1970, Tom's of Maine has donated 10% of its profits back to the community and encourages employees to use 5% (12 days) of paid time off to volunteer every year. To learn more about this year's winners, visit www.50StatesforGood.com.