The nomination period has ended for A Greater Good. View all recipients below.
A Greater Good Recipient - Delivering with Dignity Reno-Sparks
Delivering with Dignity Reno-Sparks, supported by Nevada's Lieutenant Governor Kate Marshall, the United Way of Northern Nevada and the Sierra, and several local community partners was launched as an emergency response to the healthcare and economic crisis created by the novel coronavirus. Through partnerships with locally-owned restaurants, leading nonprofit agencies, and private corporations, the program delivers meals directly to the doorsteps of residents who are struggling financially and deemed most vulnerable, and keeps dozens of restaurant staff employed.
A Greater Good Recipient - Marie O'Brien
The American Red Cross of Northern Nevada is especially fortunate that volunteer Marie O’Brien works tirelessly to maintain scrupulous donation records and helps us process checks, credit card and cash donations. Marie’s thoughtful and amazing finance work helps our Chapter to project confidence to donors that their generous donations will be processed quickly, with transparency and integrity, and in compliance with the highest standards of our national organization. At 80 years young, she maintains a volunteer work schedule that is rigorous, ambitious, and you could set your watch by her arrival in the mornings. We appreciate everything she does to keep our Chapter records and communicate directly with donors.
A Greater Good Recipient - Cheree Boteler
STEP2 and so many organizations are very fortunate to be recipients of Cheree Boteler’s passion to help more people live greater. As owner of the Hungry in Reno Blog/Facebook page, Cheree has made it her mission to promote food-focused events that support several nonprofits throughout the year. Right now, she is raising awareness for the local restaurants who are still delivering during the pandemic. She has worked with reducing hunger in our communities by assisting nonprofits including the Food Bank and WCSD Food Distribution. Recently, Cheree joined up with other food related community leaders to create HIP, Hospitality Industry Partnerships, to help feed local hospitality workers who have lost their jobs. She maintains a searchable directory of establishments that are open during this challenging time. She is the ultimate cheerleader for local restaurants. On top of all that she does for the Reno food industry, she's the Chief Marketing Officer for STEP2.
A Greater Good Recipient - Susan Sorenson
Susan Sorenson followed her passion by helping more people live greater by founding The Northern Nevada Dream Center. With her compassion and dedication, she is her community’s super hero by providing food and clothing for so many lives. Her nominators have praised all her efforts by saying, "she has a heart of gold…she will do anything for a complete stranger and I believe that she deserves the world."
A Greater Good Recipient - Justin Broberg
The Shakespeare Animal Fund and many more community organizations are very fortunate to be recipients of Justin Broberg’s dedication to help more people live greater. Justin is the General Manager for Two Men and A Truck in Reno. In April, his generous donation of a moving truck to pick up pet food that had been donated to the Shakespeare Animal Fund was appreciated. The pet food was for those pets in desperate need in the Reno/Sparks community. One of those April afternoons, he along with two employees and other community volunteers distributed over four pallets of food to hundreds of people for their pets. It was amazing to see the people who were impacted by this generosity!
A Greater Good Recipient - Meghan Simons
Meghan Simons is the amazing founder of the Reno/Sparks Mutual Aid Facebook group. With more than 4,000 followers, the group’s purpose is to make sure that anyone in need can find assistance, from insights on filing for unemployment, to sharing food and clothing resources. She recently went through her own COVID-19 scare, but thankfully the test ended up coming back negative. Without Meghan and her Facebook group’s community support, some individuals with at-risk health issues would not have been able to get medications, food, and emotional support they need. Along with other amazing women, Meghan is “keeping our city fed, informed, and safe.”
A Greater Good Recipient - Valerie Pelc
Several communities are very fortunate for the acts of kindness from people like Valerie Pelc to help more people live greater. Since the beginning of the pandemic, Valerie has donated her time and materials by creating masks for essential workers at no cost. She has made over 500 masks and counting in the past month for local communities and essential workers. She has given masks to the city of Truckee, such as the Truckee Police Department and other city employees. She has also taken care of the people that care for our furry friends, including mailing out masks to the Placer County Animal Service, Humane Society at Truckee Tahoe, and the Washoe County Animal Shelter.
A Greater Good Recipient - Joe & Keli Najera
Joe and Keli Najera have taken their passion for food and put it towards helping more people live greater. They are the owners of Kenji’s, a local favorite food truck and recently opened restaurant. This “super-family” owns and runs a business, raises four boys, and still somehow has time to give back to our community. During this pandemic, Joe, Keli, and their restaurant team has prepared, cooked, and served numerous meals to the local hardworking staff at several medical facilities, such as the Carson Tahoe Regional Medical Center and Northern Nevada Medical Center. As it is a difficult time for most business owners, they have still made the time and donated the necessary resources to give to our everyday medical heroes. This selfless act of giving is the true character of Joe and Keli.
A Greater Good Recipient - Tiffany Kress
Tiffany Kress’s passion for her students and the community has led her to helping more people live greater. She is a math and leadership teacher at Sparks High School, and is the instigator of the Adopt-A-Senior Program in Washoe County. Knowing the disappointment of her students as they miss the highlights of their senior year, Tiffany initiated crowd-sourcing for ideas on how to support her seniors, which resulted in Adopt-A-Senior was born! In just days, she was able to secure community partners for all 300 of her seniors. The partners are tasked with celebrating the senior and providing graduation gifts based on a wish list provided by each senior. This program has spread like wildfire across our community. It has been featured in the Sparks Tribune and presented to 100+ leadership/activities teachers across the west coast. Tiffany is an incredibly passionate and generous teacher, making sure all of her and the school's students are valued and provided opportunities. As a community, we are lucky to have her do what she does!
A Greater Good Recipient - Suzanne Carucci
Smithridge STEM Academy is very fortunate to have such a dedicated and passionate teacher in Suzanne Carucci. This is what her nominator had to say about her, “Suzanne is a special education teacher at Smithridge STEM Academy. She has gone above and beyond to help her students who may be in need during this time. While there are resources for families, much of them require transportation capabilities which not all of our families have. Ms. Carucci has made personal deliveries to support her most vulnerable students. Teachers are heroes in more ways than one!”
A Greater Good Recipient - Rita Healy
Rita Healy is passionate about her community and Spanish Springs High School. As a mother of a student at the high school, and a board member of the high school's booster club, she has dedicated all of her time to helping the school and its athletes, especially the Spanish Springs School District – Recognized Athletes organization. Rita organized a senior night for the Spanish Springs High School lacrosse team seniors. With the dedication of 100 families, a caravan of vehicles went to each senior’s house. The seniors were able to be recognized and feel special in a safe way during the pandemic. Rita has been community volunteer for many years, and organizations are grateful for her passion as she continues to finds ways to make a difference.
A Greater Good Recipient - Melissa Holland
With the commitment and passion to help more people live greater, Melissa Holland is making a difference in lives every day. She is one of the co-founders of Awaken. Located in Reno, Melissa and her team of amazing individuals are providing vital rehabilitation, counseling, and housing to victims of human trafficking. She is always fighting to get the word out and to awaken people about human trafficking issues. Melissa has already changed the lives of many people by fighting to end the sexual exploitation of women and children.
A Greater Good Recipient - Greig Jameson
With his commitment to the positive health of the mind and body of his community, Greig Jameson has selflessly committed his gym, Upstate Nevada, to helping more people live greater. Greig operates this nonprofit gym to provide reduced price or free gym memberships to a demographic of people defined as Everyday Heroes, which includes all military (active or retired), all first responders (Police, Fire and EMS), teachers, nurses, adults with physical or cognitive impairments and their families, and children with physical or cognitive impairments and their families. They also offer memberships for non-everyday hero applicants who want their monthly gym membership fees to help cover and sustain their free Everyday Hero programs for adults or children with any type of impairment. Greig partners with other nonprofit organizations, like Amplify Life, to deliver an outlet for everyone to exercise. He “is the well-deserving mastermind behind this inclusive and welcoming sanctuary of fitness that is Upstate Nevada.”
A Greater Good Recipient - Angie Ruyak
Angie Ruyak strives to help more people live greater at work and during her personal time. Angie is the Director of Admissions for Infinity Hospice Care, and they are on the front lines of the pandemic making sure their hospice patients receive the dedicated care they need. They are a group that is often forgotten but essential to families struggling with the future passing of their loved ones. Angie is also on the Board of Directors for Care Chest of Sierra Nevada, and a member of Soroptimist International of Truckee Meadows. If being a board member, Director of Admissions, and mom is not enough, Angie has taken time to deliver lunches to frontline healthcare workers, and has reached out to volunteers to help create masks for medical professionals. Her and her team at Infinity Hospice Care have purchased 660 3D-printed face shields and generously donated them throughout the healthcare community while continuing to care for their patients.
A Greater Good Recipient - Marla Nichols
Marla Nichols embodies the idea of a Greater volunteer that helps more people live greater. Her passion has led her to do so much for the American Cancer Society's Relay For Life in Fernley, Nevada. She has been volunteering for the organization for 16 years in a committee lead/chair position. The fight against cancer has been a priority for Marla because she has had family, friends, and people she had not known previously that have battled cancer. She has kept her commitment strong to help those in need in her community. Even when she was a caregiver to family across the country, Marla kept the fight going in Fernley.
A Greater Good Recipient - Tina Drakulich
Tina Drakulich has created an amazing charitable foundation through her own grief and healing to help more people live greater. She said, "Through my experience with grief and war related trauma, I’ve developed and clung to two understandings: First, art heals. Second, generosity protects one’s mental health.” Tina has been assisting combat veterans for 10 years find their passion for life through art. Some veterans have a difficult time adjusting back to civilian life after serving their country. Tina has given them, through the David J. Drakulich Foundation: For Freedom of Expression (DJD Foundation), the freedom to express their emotions and find their own healing process. The Foundation’s mission statement is “Art Heals War Wounds.”
A Greater Good Recipient - Ashlee Smith
Since the age of eight, Ashlee Smith has been a light in the world with her dedication and generosity for children in need. Ashlee founded her nonprofit, Ashlee's Toy Closet, more than 12 years ago, and continues to rally support throughout the community. She found a need that is often missed of children who have lost their belongings due to fire, flood and other natural disasters. While we may think a toy is little in the bigger picture during a loss, a child has lost a piece of their childhood. They have lost items that are most dear to them while also being uprooted from their home. Ashlee provides them that little piece of security through a toy.
A Greater Good Recipient - Becky Haase
Becky Haase has committed her life and work as the Director of Children's Services at Renown Health. She has been with Renown for over 35 years, and has served on the Ronald McDonald House Charities Board since 2016. Becky is a dedicated advocate to assisting families while their children are receiving treatment at Renown. She understands that families need to be able to be with their children without the worries about the cost of a place to stay. Becky is a hero to the children facing adversity, and we are thankful for her dedication to each family that comes into Renown.