BSU Alumna Receives Statewide Award For Nonprofit Work
A Bemidji State University alumna has been recognized for her work coordinating Bemidji’s Foster Grandparent Program and her involvement with numerous Bemidji-area nonprofit organizations. Ashley Charwood received the Catalytic Leader Award from the Minnesota Council of Nonprofits at a June ceremony in Minneapolis, according to a press release.
The council’s Catalytic Leader award honors a person who uses informal authority to shape the direction and progress of her work and that of the organization, who understands how to help bring change in an organization by effectively communicating with key internal and external stakeholders . The awardee is also someone who has helped shape their organization through strategic change that is beneficial to its staff, board, organization and community.
Charwood, who graduated from BSU in 2007 with a degree in social work, was nominated for the award by Mary Ann Reitmeir, professor emerita of social work at BSU.
“I am humbled and happy to be recognized, Charwood said in a statement. “I am a quiet introvert, and I believe that all people are capable of being leaders and that everyone has different strengths that they bring to the table. I serve on a local non-profit board of directors and I chair the governance and nominations committee. I think it is important to have diverse people at the decision-making tables.”
Charwood lives in Bemidji where she is a secretary for Bi-County Community Action Program, comprehensive sexual health educator and a licensed social worker in addition to her work with the Foster Grandparent Program. She is employed part-time by Lutheran Social Services, Planned Parenthood and Northwood Caregivers, and says she is “committed to contributing to a more caring and equitable world.”
She also has worked at an Area Agency on Aging, as a foster care and adoption social worker and as a domestic violence advocate.
“I have always been passionate about working in the nonprofit field,” she said in her acceptance speech at the June 13 ceremony. “I love my community and I know a lot about the organizations as a professional, as a service user and as a community member,. Though I have different passions, interests and hobbies, I know how important it is to have a say in different issues that affect me. You have a voice—let it be heard.”
As the Catalytic Leader honoree, Charwood received a one-year “Golden Ticket” for free individual registration to all Minnesota Council of Nonprofits-sponsored conferences and training, valued at more than $1,000. She may use the ticket to attend the council’s annual conference, technology conference, leadership conference and any of its nonprofit workshops offered throughout the year.