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United Way announces 10th anniversary award winners

October 30, 2018

United Way announces 10th anniversary Sherwood H. Smith Children’s Champion Awards winners

The announcement took place at the nonprofit’s annual fall event


The 2018 Sherwood H. Smith Children’s Champion Awards winners accept their award certificates at United Way of Northeast Florida’s event, “A Fighting Chance,” Tuesday, Oct. 23. From left to right: Sara Ley, Sherwood H. Smith Children’s Champion Award selection committee chair; award winner Amanda Crawford; Sherwood H. Smith Jr.; award winner Jacqueline Brown; and Michelle Braun, United Way of Northeast Florida president and CEO.


Jacksonville, Fla. (Oct. 29, 2018) – Last week, United Way of Northeast Florida announced its 2018 Children’s Champion Awards winners. This year marks the 10th anniversary of these awards, which honor two individuals each year – one in service and one in advocacy – for their exemplary work in improving the lives of children in Northeast Florida.

Amanda Crawford, department vice president of community engagement and sponsorships for VyStar Credit Union, won the advocacy award. Jacqueline Brown, site coordinator for Communities In Schools of Jacksonville’s Student Enrichment Program at William M. Raines High School, won the award for service.

Award winners in advocacy are community advocates whose efforts have resulted in positive change in policies or conditions that impact the well-being of children and youth in Northeast Florida.

Crawford was nominated for her efforts in Tallahassee advocating for positive change in early childhood education. Specifically, Crawford advocated for better quality in Florida’s School Readiness Program and for improved early-learning quality standards. Crawford has also served as a United Way ReadingPals volunteer for years, inspired by her daughter who loves to read.

“A favorite quote of mine is ‘Be the change you wish to see in the world’ by Mahatma Gandhi,” Crawford said. “Volunteering and advocating is my way to be the change I want to see in the world.”

Winners in service demonstrate exemplary service in working directly with children and youth. Brown was nominated for the service award for her work at William M. Raines High School, most notably her efforts establishing the school’s food bank for students and families in need.

She represents Jacksonville’s Community In Schools as a site coordinator, working with school administrators to assess needs and develop plans to connect students and their families to community resources. In addition to establishing the school’s “mini-mart” food bank, she connects students to community mentors, provides uniforms to students and more.

“Being nominated meant the world to me,” Brown said. “Being recognized for something that you already love doing is really amazing.”

The winners were announced during an awards ceremony at United Way’s annual fall event, this year titled “A Fighting Chance,” which took place Oct. 23 at the Schultz Center. Sherwood H. Smith Jr., who established the awards in honor of his father, was in attendance.

Smith Jr. was presented with a City of Jacksonville proclamation that evening honoring the legacy of service of the Smith family and marking the 10th anniversary of the awards.


About the Sherwood H. Smith Children’s Champion Awards

Established in 2008 by Sherwood H. Smith Jr., the Sherwood H. Smith Children’s Champion Awards recognize two individuals each year for their exemplary work in improving the lives of children in Northeast Florida. One award is bestowed for service and one for advocacy. Each winner receives a framed award certificate and a check for $1,000 to do with as they wish. The awards are named for the late Sherwood H. Smith Sr., a community trustee and advocate for the common good. Smith Sr. embodied a spirit of service. As one of the foremost leaders of our predecessor, the Jacksonville Community Chest, Smith Sr.’s legacy of leadership continues to be integral to United Way’s success in changing lives in our community.

About United Way of Northeast Florida

Founded in 1924, United Way of Northeast Florida has earned a reputation as a respected and efficient philanthropic organization. United Way envisions a community of opportunity where everyone has hope and can reach their full potential. Because change doesn’t happen alone, United Way’s mission is to solve Northeast Florida’s toughest challenges by connecting people, resources and ideas. The nonprofit organization’s long tradition of addressing the human service needs in Duval, Baker, Clay, Nassau and Northern St. Johns counties is made possible through the commitment of thousands of volunteers, donors and community partners. To learn more, visit unitedwaynefl.org, or follow @unitedwaynefl on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.