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2012 Make A Difference Day Awards To Recognize 13 Life-changing Volunteer Initiatives

Grassroots efforts to be honored for truly making a difference in local communities across America

MCLEAN, Va., April 11, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Thirteen volunteer initiatives will be recognized with the 2012 Make A Difference Day Awards at a ceremony in Washington, D.C., on April 19. Make A Difference Day, the nation's largest day of service, was created in 1992 by Gannett Co., Inc.'s USA WEEKEND Magazine along with partners, Newman's Own®, Inc. and Points of Light.  Newman's Own will donate a total of $130,000, awarding ten volunteer initiatives $10,000 each and presenting three cities $10,000 each for their local projects.

The winners were chosen from thousands of grassroots volunteer efforts that took place on Oct. 22, 2011, Make A Difference Day. Millions of Americans served their communities and made positive change as a result of the volunteer action encouraged by the nationwide annual event. 

"This event goes to the heart of Gannett's purpose to serve the greater good of our nation and the communities we serve. Every year, millions act upon our invitation to reach out to others in their community. It's inspiring to see how our audience responds and the good that comes out of this one day," said Heather Frank, editor-in-chief of USA WEEKEND.

"Make A Difference Day was always important to Paul Newman. Newman's Own continues its dedication to the initiative to help underscore the need for volunteerism in our country and as a small thank you to those who really help to make a difference in others' lives," said Tom Indoe, president and COO of Newman's Own, Inc.

"The 2012 Make A Difference Day honorees illustrate the power of people to use their time and talent to create change in their communities," said Michelle Nunn, CEO, Points of Light. "From an 8-year-old girl who helped find homes for abandoned animals to grandparents who are living examples of the strength of volunteerism, we continue to draw inspiration from these extraordinary individuals and celebrate the positive impact they have made in their communities."

One past national honoree will also be recognized at this year's ceremony with the All-Star Award of $10,000 from the Gannett Foundation, a corporate foundation sponsored by Gannett Co., Inc. that supports nonprofits in communities which Gannett serves. The All-Star Award goes to a charity of the winner's choice.

Kevin Bacon, actor, musician and founder of, will serve as the event's keynote speaker and CBS News' Lara Logan as master of ceremonies.

The ten 2012 Make A Difference Day Award honorees are: 
  • Summer Search North Bay, Petaluma, Calif.
  • The United Way of Lake County, Waukegan, Ill.
  • The Marys & Marthas and the people of Clarion, Iowa
  • Girl Scouts of Madisonville Housing Authority Troop 333, Madisonville,   Ky.
  • Mary Vail, Las Vegas, Nev.
  • Victory Christian Church, Albany, N.Y.
  • Joyce and John Jackson, Delaware, Ohio
  • Neha Gupta, Yardley, Penn.
  • Eleanor Schoenbrun, El Paso, Texas
  • The Ellis Family, Rhinelander, Wis.

The three 2012 City Award honorees are:
  • The Jersey City Parks Coalition and Jersey City, N.J.
  • City of Salisbury, N.C.
  • Strong Neighborhoods Program, San Jose, Calif.

The All-Star Award goes to:
  • Lucas Metropolis, Boca Raton, Fla. and Durham, N.C.

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