Non-Profit of the Year Award

Poinsettia logoVentura Chamber of Commerce has honored Project Understanding with its prestigious Poinsettia Award as Non-Profit of the Year for 2015. The Chamber has given a Poinsettia Award to 100 great organizations since the award began in 1997. Project Understanding won Non-Profit of the Year in 2004, but up until now, no organization had ever been honored with two Poinsettia Awards. Project Understanding is very grateful to be named Non-Profit of the Year for a second time.

To the hundreds of Volunteers and Donors who have dedicated yourselves to love your neighbor with Project Understanding, this Award is for you!

To the Board Members and Staff Members (past and present) who have repeatedly gone the second mile to give a hand up rather than a handout, this Award is for you!

To the former Executive Directors—Virgil Nelson, Rick Pearson, Rob Orth and Jim Duran—who stood up for the unnamed and marginalized, this Award is for you!

Community partners add their kudos

"Congratulations!!! A well-deserved honor! It makes those of us who are associated with Project proud to have a part, if only in a small way. God works among you, to achieve His purposes and glory." -Dave Schulze, Pastor at Ventura Church of Christ

Ventura Chamber of Commerce describes the Award
"On Thursday, December 10, the Ventura Chamber of Commerce along with their title sponsor Montecito Bank & Trust presented the 19th Annual Poinsettia Awards. This luncheon, attended by more than 300 attendees, recognized individuals and organizations that have truly stood out in our community as exemplary in the fields of business, education, and public service. This year, the luncheon was celebrated at the Marriott Ventura Beach and was attended by City officials, legislative representatives, the Ventura Unified School District, and the local business community.

"During the event, the Chamber awarded recipients from the following categories:
Non-Profit Organization of the Year – Project Understanding
Volunteer of the Year – Hope Deck
Small Business of the Year – Axxess Ventura
Mid-Size Business of the Year – Sespe Consulting
Large Business of the Year – Harrison Industries
Young Professional of the Year – Caitlin Beavers
Citizen of the Year – Dr. Leo Tauber
Ambassador of the Year – Jann Huling
Board Member of the Year – Steven Brown
City of Ventura, Environmental Excellence Award – Shine Supply
City of Ventura, Employee of the Year – Kathryn Dippong-Lawson
City of Ventura, Firefighter of the Year – Drew DeRousseau
City of Ventura, Police Officer of the Year – Fabian Gutierrez
VUSD Educator of the Year – Mandi de Witte
VUSD Male Student of the Year – Justin Lucio
VUSD Female Student of the Year – Fidelity Ballmer
Innovation Award – FreshRealm
Jewel Key Award – Topa Brewing Company
Shining Star Award – Matthew Graczyk

"This event, presented by the Ventura Chamber of Commerce and Montecito Bank & Trust, was proudly sponsored by: City of Ventura, Community Memorial Health System, County Commerce Bank, CSU Channel Islands, FASTSIGNS of Ventura, Kaiser Permanente, Ventura County Credit Union, Aera Energy, AT&T, California Resources Corporation, Coast Self Storage, Marriott Ventura Beach, SESPE Consulting, Union Bank, Gold Coast Acura, Gold Coast Transit, Kris Hansen’s State Farm Insurance, Myers, Widders, Gibson, Jones & Feingold, LLP, Pacific Western Bank, Ventura Community Bank, Ventura Rental Party Center, Western States Petroleum Association, Kenny Backer Photography, Luners Production Services, Pacific Coast Business Times, VC Reporter, Ventura Adult and Continuing Education, Ventura Breeze, and Ventura County Star.

About Ventura Chamber

"The Ventura Chamber of Commerce continues to be the largest and most comprehensive business organization in the City of Ventura – speaking on behalf of its member firms employing over 24,000 people. Members include companies of all sizes and industries, from start-up to established, entrepreneurial to corporate."