Chamber awards Businesses of the Year
The St. Marys Area Chamber of Commerce recognized the 2010 Businesses of the Year during the organization's 27th annual dinner held Saturday evening at the Red Fern.Northwest Savings Bank and The Elk County Community Foundation took home top honors in the large and small business categories, respectively. Runners-up included Community Nurses, Inc. (large) and the Lynch-Radkowski Funeral Home (small).Chamber of Commerce President Mark Jacob welcomed everyone to the event and provided an invocation and highlights from the organization's various events and activities which took place during 2010.Business winners were determined through a rigorous voting process in which members of the Chamber's board of directors rated each nominee on a scale of 1-5 in nine separate categories. Nominations for Business of the Year candidates were accepted from any Chamber business member and were submitted by business owners, employees and patrons.In presenting the awards, Jacob provided a brief overview of the winning businesses, as well as their accolades and achievements."This was a difficult task, as there were many nominees, all worthy of praise for their accomplishments and giving to the community," Jacob said. As the small Business of the Year winner, the Elk County Community Foundation (ECCF) celebrated its 10th anniversary in 2010 and has granted over $1.2 million to the community throughout its existence. Currently, the organization manages 69 permanent charitable funds to improve the quality of life in local communities. Revenues from these funds provide grants and scholarships to non-profit organizations in accordance with donors' wishes. The ECCF office staff consists of two part-time employees and is overseen by a 14-member board of community leaders who volunteer their time and expertise to ensure the foundation's mission is accomplished. As part of that mission, ECCF aims toward strengthening the region through development, stewardship and grant-making as donors achieve their philanthropic goals. "We connect people who care with causes that matter," stated Paula Fritz Eddy, ECCF executive director, in the nomination form. "Our real business is helping people, families, groups and businesses to be philanthropic or charitable."Also in 2010, ECCF was awarded the Pennsylvania Agency of Non-Profit Organization's (PANO) Standards of Excellence, for which the foundation underwent a review from a jury of its peers who studied its programs, services, management, fundraising and financial practices, as well as various ethics and accountability factors. The ECCF is one of only 55 organizations in Pennsylvania to be certified under this program, which began in 2002.Northwest Savings Bank received the large Business of the Year award at the dinner. In 2010, the bank was awarded the JD Powers Customer Satisfaction Award. Established in 1896, the bank currently employees 33 individuals in the St. Marys area. It is involved with a large variety of area organizations throughout the community, and to which the bank's employees dedicate a significant amount of time as volunteers. The Lynch-Radkowski Funeral Home, Inc. was the runner-up in the small Business of the Year category. Community Nurses, Inc. was the runner-up in the large Business of the Year category.