The WEDU Be More Awards started 12 years ago as a local initiative to honor nonprofits and volunteers in West Central Florida. The season campaign was well received and dubbed the “Academy Awards for Nonprofits” by the Tampa Bay Times. Approximately 5 years ago, we decided that – like the program name – we could be more and do more. WEDU turned this project into an annual initiative that has grown tremendously to include Philanthropy Fridays, Give Day Tampa Bay (a 24-hour fundraising effort for Tampa’s non-profits) and partnerships with nonprofit organizations on additional projects like autism, human trafficking, literacy, and so much more. The annual (versus seasonal) impact of the WEDU Be More Awards has been the impetus for launching valuable relationships and impactful community projects and has enabled WEDU to become the media branch of our local nonprofits.
This past year, WEDU saw an increase in applications by approximately 43% and more than doubled online voting (50k+ votes). We have grown from approximately 40 nonprofit organizations to 143 participating nonprofit organizations. We attribute this growth to the new annual nature of the event and the partnerships that have grown out of it.