As you may know, the Skinny Gene Project was one of many non-profit organizations being recognized this year by Influence San Diego (#influencesd). The intent of this awards program, sponsored by NBC San Diego, was to acknowledge and recognize various local organizations that utilize social media and technology to create awareness of their efforts in the San Diego community and beyond.
On the last day of voting, our organization moved from 3rd place in popular votes to 2nd place, rising from a total of 125 votes to 183 votes – yes, 58 more votes in one day! Although the Skinny Gene Project had already reached finalist status by being among the Top 5 non-profit organizations in terms of votes, this extra spike allowed for increased exposure and may have even had some influence on the decision made by the judges. Only one of the top five nominated organizations from each category would be selected by a panel of judges who are experts in social media and technology, including a Wiki expert, a well-known technology which is used by websites such as Wikipedia.
Attendees of this sold out “Red Carpet” night, sponsored by NBC San Diego and broadcasted on TechZulu, gathered at Anthology, a music venue in downtown San Diego, for a night to remember. The event consisted of good food and wine, music and comradeship, and of course the long-awaited announcement of the winners of the coveted InfluenceSD sculptures symbolizing “a job magnificently done.”
Sam the Cooking Guy, a local celebrity, announced our category and we held our breath and felt pride in knowing that we were second in the popular vote and had many supporters who cared enough to make that possible. Then, in an almost surreal moment, he announced, “The winner of Non-Profit of the Year is…the SKINNY GENE PROJECT.” (see pictures of the venue site on http://www.anthologysd.com/gallery-venue.html, or if a member of facebook, see the event at www.bit.ly/SGPfacebook )
Richard, one of our biggest supporters, called it a “Cinderella story.” We were being recognized among 4 other outstanding non-profit organizations in San Diego: San Diego LGBT Community Center, Keep a Breast Foundation,Museum of Making Music, AND Pug Rescue of San Diego County.
In terms of size, we were definitely the runt of the bunch. The top contender with the most number of popular votes has an 18-member board of directors (vs our 7-member board), employs over 40 paid-staff (vs our one paid-staff, one Registered Dietitian, and several as-needed nutritionists to provide individualized care for our members), has more than 600 community volunteers (vs our 5 volunteers) and was established over 35 years ago (vs our almost 2 years). We were thrilled just being in the same category with the “Big Boys!”
This honor not just reinforced the idea that the little guy can achieve great things, but has fueled our passion to continue fighting and believing that although young, we are leaving a mark on this world. We are making a positive impact on the lives of people we support during their personal battles to protect themselves and their families from this Silent Killer.
According to one of the judges, what influenced their decision was the fact that the Skinny Gene Project has only been publishing content since July 2009, and the organization already has an impressive presence in the community. Another contributing factor may have been that our efforts were picked up by an established online portal, as AOL News published our press release about how our non-profit organization was being recognized for using social media. (see www.bit.ly/NPOrec)
The judges were so impressed by the local organization that they now intend to branch beyond San Diego and will host a national program, for which the Skinny Gene Project, as a local award recipient, will automatically be nominated.
We are more dedicated than ever to improve our social media presence and spread our mission to educate, empower and prevent diabetes.
Follow the Skinny Gene Project and help us out in any way that you can. Whether it’s a cash donation or volunteering your time, you can make a difference in our efforts and the people we touch. As we can attest, even something small can make a big impact.