Who better to select impactful community projects from across the nation than those with their own deep-rooted expertise in grassroots goodness. This week, we announced our panel of independent judges for the fourth annual “50 States for Good” program, including actor and environmentalist Ian Somerhalder, Laura Burge of the social action network Care2.com, philanthropic consultant and Huffington Post columnist Lisa M. Dietlin and Sam Davidson, president of Cool People Care.
The mission for “50 States for Good” is to recognize nonprofit groups that promote healthy, human and environmental goodness. We received an outstanding number of applications this year, and we continue to be amazed by the efforts of nonprofits across the country. The judges will review the applicant pool to determine 51 finalist organizations – one from each state and the District of Columbia – based on their ability to engage volunteers and positively impact their community. You can read more about the finalist process at 50StatesforGood.com.
Starting Sept. 10, the public will be able to vote for the organizations that will receive funding. The nonprofit with the most public support will receive $50,000 in sponsorship funding, while five additional organizations will each receive $20,000 based on the outcome of the public vote.
Here are the bios for our 2012 judges:
- Ian Somerhalder best known for his roles in the television series Lost and The Vampire Diaries, has become a respected figure in environmental activism. He has testified in front of Congress on behalf of the Global Alliance for Conservation, has built partnerships with major NGOs and speaks at countless international conferences. Somerhalder also founded the IS Foundation to educate youth about the power they possess to create sustainable change.
- Laura Burge is an editor and producer for Care2 Causes, a social action network of more than 19 million members that empowers people to lead a healthy, sustainable lifestyle and support important causes. Burge is constantly searching for ways to make the world a better place and helps get the word out about relevant news and causes from women’s rights and animal welfare to politics and the environment.
- Lisa Dietlin is President and CEO of Lisa M. Dietlin and Associates, Inc., assisting nonprofit organizations in developing transformational strategies. She is a sought-after guest for many television and radio programs and is a regular contributor to The Huffington Post via her blog, Making a Difference: The World of Giving. Dietlin has been active in the development arena since 1982 and has held several seats on nonprofit boards over the years. She is also a member of the Association of Fundraising Professionals.
- Sam Davidson is President and Co-Founder of Cool People Care, an online resource that helps people live a more caring lifestyle. The website is home to nearly 2,000 articles and ideas for saving the world and has an active social network geared toward anyone who wants to make a difference. Davidson has helped countless nonprofits connect with Generation Y through workshops and keynote speeches designed to showcase the potential of social media to change the world for the better. He is the author of three books, including New Day Revolution: How to Save the World in 24 Hours.