KCEOC hosts, honored at national award event

Photo by Bobbie Poynter Community Action Partnership CEO Denise Harlow presents the Award for Excellence in the community Action Partnership to Gary Brittan, KCEOC Chairman of the Board, and KCEOC CEO Paul Dole.
Photo by Bobbie Poynter
Community Action Partnership CEO Denise Harlow presents the Award for Excellence in the community Action Partnership to Gary Brittan, KCEOC Chairman of the Board, and KCEOC CEO Paul Dole.

It’s one thing for a local organization to earn a huge national award and have it presented at a national convention. It’s another to have that same special award presented at home in front of your own family, friends, and community.

“It’s important for everyone at the organization from the staff all the way up to the board to understand what it means to win the Award for Excellence in the Community Action Partnership,” said Denise Harlow, CEO of the Community Actin Partnership. “It is an incredibly high bar that an organization has to reach for. It’s a voluntary effort, and for an agency to make that investment says a lot about the organization itself, and to win the award says a lot about the staff and the leadership within the organization.

That’s what Tuesday night’s dinner at the Corbin Center was all about as KCEOC was presented (for the second time) the Community Action Partnership 2015 Award for Excellence. The award was first presented at the national convention in San Francisco in August. Tuesday was all about the people who made it happen.

“KCEOC has topped the standards.” Said Harlow. “You have to have achieved a certain score across 34 standards and seven categorical areas, and you have to do that across the board to win the award, so you’re competing against yourself. The network, as a whole, has set the bar high, and for agencies to win the award, they have to show that they have exceeded that bar. It takes a lot of guts and says a lot about the organization.”

Out of over 1,000 Community Action agencies, only 11 Awards have been achieved. The last award was presented back in 2011.

“We have duel bottom line in Community Action,” said Harlow. “You have to have a positive balance sheet because you’ve got to function as a corporation and do well financially in order to sustain yourself, but the other bottom line is in changing lives and creating hope in families and KCEOC excels in both.”

Kentucky Senate President Robert Stivers said he was not surprised that KCEOC had earned the Award for Excellence.

“KCEOC is all about hands up, not hands out,” he said. “You don’t realize all the expertise needed to make a project like this come to life. No, I’m not surprised at all that a small town in Southeast Kentucky has won this award. We’re as good as anyone else.”

KCEOC CEO Paul Dole took time to thank his staff for their diligence and hard work in achieving the national award.

“We’re a family,” he said, “and we welcome everyone to come and join our family, even as volunteers. We need all the people we can get.”