September 16, 2009

The University of Kentucky Nonprofit Leadership Initiative has selected Friend for Life Cancer Support Network of Louisville and C. Dennis Riggs, president emeritus of the Community Foundation of Louisville, as recipients of awards to be presented Oct. 15 at the Lexington Convention Center.

Friend for Life Cancer Support Network is the winner of the 2009 Fifth Third Bank Innovative Nonprofit Award. Friend for Life is a network of cancer survivors and caregivers who serve as trained volunteers. The volunteers provide one-on-one emotional and psychosocial support to individuals recently diagnosed with all types of cancer and their loved ones. The Nonprofit Leadership Initiative selected the organization's program for the award because of its use of the Internet to share stories of hope and its innovative use of technology and social networking to ensure people seeking support receive it when they need it most.

Friend for Life volunteers also participate in the annual training of first-year students at the University of Louisville School of Medicine, providing medical students with the "real person" experience of being diagnosed with cancer. The only program of its kind in Kentucky, Friend for Life plans to work with other communities to replicate the model programs.

The UK Nonprofit Leadership Initiative, in partnership with Fifth Third Bank, created the Innovative Nonprofit Award to recognize a nonprofit organization implementing inventive, nontraditional programs or methods that effectively and efficiently meet community needs. The selected organization was required to demonstrate creativity and vision in finding solutions to and address community issues. Any registered 501(c) 3 organization located and operating in Kentucky is eligible for the award.

C. Dennis Riggs, president emeritus of the Community Foundation of Louisville, is the recipient of the second annual Distinguished Nonprofit Leadership Award. Riggs retired as president and CEO from the foundation this past January after serving 17 years. Under his leadership, the foundation's asset base increased from $43 million to over $300 million, and the foundation granted over $27 million in fiscal year 2008.

Over the past 44 years, Riggs served in several community leadership and nonprofit capacities, including vice president of Bellarmine University and vice president of the Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary. Riggs is also a retired member of the officiating staff of the National Football League. Riggs is the immediate past chair of the Greater Louisville Project, a coalition of private funders who developed and execute Louisville's plan for community excellence beyond merger. Current volunteer positions include service with the Merton Institute for Contemplative Living and the National Foundation to Support Cell Transplant Research. Prior to his retirement, Riggs served on the board of the National Council on Foundations, the Kentucky Nonprofit Leadership Initiative Advisory Council, CARITAS Health Services, the Rotary Club of Louisville, the Greater Louisville Sports Commission and the Louisville Olmsted Parks Conservancy.

Riggs's accomplishments have been recognized through numerous awards, including the 2007 Women 4 Women Heart of the Community Award, the 2006 St. Francis Xavier Award from St. Xavier High School, the 1996 Louisville Community All-American Award and a Distinguished Alumni Award from Bellarmine University in 1994. He was chosen for the 2009 Distinguished Nonprofit Leadership Award for his demonstrated ability to rally people, organizations and resources around a common cause for the betterment of the community.

The Distinguished Nonprofit Leadership Award was created to recognize achievement in the areas of strategic leadership, community building, ethical integrity, innovation and commitment to strengthening the nonprofit sector.

Both awards will be presented at the seventh annual Kentucky Nonprofit Leadership Forum, the only statewide gathering for Kentucky's nonprofit leaders. The UK Nonprofit Leadership Initiative hosts the forum annually.

The Nonprofit Leadership Initiative is an outreach program of the UK College of Agriculture. It serves and strengthens Kentucky's nonprofit sector through educational opportunities, consulting services, and resources for organizations and their leaders. Registration for the Kentucky Nonprofit Leadership Forum is open until Oct. 9, and tickets to the award luncheon are available. Additional information is available at or by calling 859-257-2542.

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Editor: Carol Spence, 859-257-8324

UK College of Agriculture, through its land-grant mission, reaches across the commonwealth with teaching, research and extension to enhance the lives of Kentuckians.

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