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The Acton Institute Announces the Winner and Honorees for the 2006 Samaritan Award; WORLD Magazine to Feature Samaritan Charities

Contact: John Couretas, Acton Institute, 616-813-8941


GRAND RAPIDS, Mich., Aug. 24 /Christian Newswire/ -- The Christian Women’s Job Corps of Nashville is the winner of the Acton Institute’s 2006 Samaritan Award for outstanding private, voluntary charitable service. The winner’s mission of working closely with disadvantaged women to enhance basic life skills and prepare them for employment underscores the value of charities that are local, personal, and accountable. The Samaritan Award includes a $10,000 cash prize that will be awarded by the Acton Institute.


The charities singled out for honors in the Samaritan competition will also be the focus of a lengthy feature in a special issue on compassion in the Sept. 2 edition of WORLD Magazine. To read the stories, please visit www.worldmag.com


This year, the Christian Women’s Job Corps of Nashville will serve 150 women with the help of 250 volunteers who act as job coaches, mentors, child care workers or instructors. The Job Corp’s Downtown Ministry Center offers computer and General Education Diploma (GED) classes, one-on-one job skills coaching, Bible study, child care and mentoring.


Karen Woods, Acton’s director of effective compassion, said that this year’s Samaritan Award winner is a great example of how smaller, private charities strengthen local communities all over the United States. “The Nashville Christian Women’s Jobs Corps is a star among all the great charities in this country,” she said. “They know how to help their challenged neighbors succeed, one step at a time.”


The Christian Women’s Job Corps was founded in 1997 as a program of the Woman's Missionary Union -- a missionary affiliate of the Southern Baptist Convention -- to equip working poor women with employment and life skills. The first organization of its kind in Tennessee, the Christian Women’s Job Corps currently maintains seven sites in the state and nearly 200 nationwide.


Becky Sumrall, who has served as the executive director of the Nashville organization for the past six years, said that the ministry has a 93 percent success rate. She defines success as a student staying in the program until graduation and completing a major goal, such as finding a job or earning a GED.


Another Christian Women’s Job Corps program based in Knoxville, Tenn., made the Samaritan honorees’ list for its A Hand Up for Women program. Other honorees include: The Way Out Victim Assistance Program managed by the Citizens for Community Values, Memphis, Tenn.; the Continuum of Care program from the Bay Area Rescue Mission, Richmond, Calif.; Rachel’s House, a program of Lower Lights Ministries, Columbus, Ohio; the Drug & Alcohol Recovery Discipleship Program managed by City Team Ministries, Chester, Penn.; Street Leaders, a program of Urban Promise Ministries Inc., Camden, N.J.; 4 Phase Program, managed by Crossroads Center, Hastings, Neb.; Manoomin (Wild Rice) Project managed by The Cedar Tree Institute, Marquette, Mich.; and the Nomadic Shelter program of Mission Solano, Fairfield, Calif.


The Samaritan Award honorees will be awarded consultation services to assist them in the delivery of effective programming. Acton will provide a one-year subscription to the Web-based Results Online tool available from Performance Results Inc. of Laytonsville, Md. The tool assists charities with results-focused evaluation, performance assessment and outcomes measurement. Samaritan honorees will also participate in a Web-based conference on fundraising led by Calvin Edwards, principal of Atlanta-based Calvin Edwards & Co.


Honorees will also be included in the Samaritan Guide, Acton Institute’s online directory of more than 1,000 private charities. Users of the guide can access detailed information about each of them at www.samaritanguide.org


The Samaritan Award is based on several criteria, including financial stewardship, evaluation of results, and the incorporation of faith into programming. The evaluation of Samaritan Award candidates draws its overall philosophy from the seven principles of effective compassion formulated by Dr. Marvin Olasky, senior fellow at the Acton Institute, Editor in Chief of WORLD Magazine, and author of The Tragedy of American Compassion (Regnery Publishing, 1992).


The Acton Institute is a nonprofit, ecumenical think tank located in Grand Rapids, Michigan. The Institute works internationally to "promote a free and virtuous society characterized by individual liberty and sustained by religious principles." For more on the Acton Institute, please visit www.acton.org.