The Soroptimist Ruby Award: For Women Helping Women recognizes women who, through their personal or professional activities, make extraordinary efforts to improve the lives of women and girls. Their efforts help to promote issues that are important to the Soroptimist organization.
Our local winner receives a $500 donation to the charity of her choice. Award winners at the club level are eligible for additional awards at other levels of the organization.
This award is named in honor of the first Soroptimist federation president, Ruby Lee Minar. A ruby is also a deep red gemstone associated with wisdom, strength, power and love: all words embodying the strong and compassionate women who are our award recipients.
2016- Jackie Craig – Co-Founder, The Green Chair Project
When you think of humanity helping humanity, Jackie Craig embodies this philosophy. Her warmth and generosity is a blessing to all whom have the pleasure of calling her a friend.
Jackie’s genuine regard for the well-being of others is selfless. Her compassion for community is infectious. Wherever Jackie goes, she takes with her an inner light that illuminates and uplifts everyone around her. Through the work she does at The Green Chair Project, Jackie is doing exactly what she was born to do. Give hope, spread joy. Restore dignity.
What started out five years ago in a small church closet as a desire to get people with too much stuff to give it to people who needed a fresh start, has now grown into a successful non-profit company. A company that Jackie cheerfully pours her heart into everyday in an effort to help everyone understand the concept of reusing furnishings and renewing lives.
Jackie and her co-founder, Beth Smoot, had no idea that when they accepted their first donation, a green leather chair, what they had in fact started was bigger than a company. Together, they started a concept of community helping community . . . one couch at a time. For more information about The Green Chair Project, see https://www.thegreenchair.org/
2015 – Nadia Shirin Moffett, Founder – The Queen’s Foundation
Nadia Shirin Moffett founded The Queen’s Foundation, a 501c3 nonprofit, in 2010. Its mission is to develop and promote under-served young women to reach their greatest potential for higher education and leadership through a society of women across North Carolina.
The Queen’s Foundation reaches over 200 girls across North Carolina and has a 94% success rate of program participants matriculating to a four-year university upon high-school graduation.
As Executive Director, Nadia has led The Queen’s Foundation to raise more than $250,000 in donations and garnered the support of seven North Carolina colleges and universities which offer scholarships to qualified first generation applicants. Nadia has enlisted over 200 volunteers as leadership team members, mentors and program volunteers, and engaged over 100 corporate and community partners which provide funding and leadership support.
Nadia earned her Bachelor’s in Business Marketing & Information Technology from University of North Carolina Greensboro, and completed her Master’s in Nonprofit Leadership at High Point University. She is a member of Toastmasters International, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, and has been in leadership roles with American Express and Bayer Crop Science.
When named one of the Triad Business Journal’s “Top 40 Leaders Under 40” for 2013, she stated, “I believe everyone has a purpose and my passion is helping young women to be the next leaders.”
For more information about The Queen’s Foundation, see www.thequeensfoundation.org
2014 CJ Scarlet, Founder & CEO – 10 for Humanity™
After spending her career reacting to violence after it occurred, CJ Scarlet decided she was ready to stop it from happening at all. She founded 10 for Humanity, LLC, whose mission is to devise 10 solutions to reduce acts of violence by 10% over the next decade. Her first solution, the Tiger Eye Security Sensor (TESS), is a hands-free, voice-activated device that detects stress in the voice when key words are said (help, no, don’t, stop, rape) and, after verifying that help is needed, uses the latest in cellular technology to call police to the user’s GPS location. TESS then announces to the criminal that the police are on the way and directs them to leave NOW. At the same time, the device begins recording events via audio and video. The recorded data is transmitted to the cloud where it can be accessed only by criminal justice professionals to aid in the identification and prosecution of perpetrators.
This is just the first of the 10 solutions CJ and her team are working on. Others may include inventing new technologies to more quickly process rape kits, reduce incidents of human trafficking and prevent cyber bullying.
The former roller-skating carhop and U.S. Marine is an award-winning writer, motivational speaker, and emerging technology geek who has appeared on numerous radio and television programs. She serves on the state Boards of Directors for the Lupus Foundation of America, North Carolina Chapter, and NC Veterans Business Association; and is a volunteer caregiver and vigil volunteer for Hospice of Wake County.CJ has been named one of the “Happy 100” people on the planet, and is featured in the bestsellers Happy for No Reason and Be Invincible.
More information about 10 for Humanity may be found at www.10forhumanity.com
2013 Ashley Hayes, Founder – Shepherd Youth Ranch
As a child, Ashley Hayes intuitively knew that her life’s calling would be to work with youth and animals. Over the years, her volunteer work and employment provided the experience, education, and tools she needed to realize her calling of serving others. The culmination is the Shepherd Youth Ranch (SYR); a faith based non-profit which provides equine assisted therapy to victims of abuse and neglect.
In college, Ashley became passionate about serving youth victims of sexual abuse. She received her Master of Arts in Counseling at Southeastern Theological Seminary and later was employed as a counselor by a group home for youth victims of sexual abuse. It was during a training seminar there that she first learned about equine therapy. Ashley recognized her true calling and founded SYR, developing her own therapeutic techniques using horses based on the tenets she learned as a practicing counselor.
Since its inception in 2004, SYR serves over 300 people each year. Over 85% are female victims from drug or alcohol abusing parents, or who are victims of abuse or neglect. While serving court adjudicated youth, SYR provided over 1600 hours of services free of charge to 65 girls. None of these girls returned to the court system and many went on to become volunteers with SYR.
Ashley’s unwavering belief in SYR, her constant faith in serving others and her tireless efforts have resulted in a unique organization that provides a profound healing experience for victims truly in need. The effects of which are both expansive and intimately personal.
More information about Shepherd Youth Ranch may be found at http://www.shepherdyouthranch.org/
2012 Pat Nathan – Founder, Dress for Success Triangle
North Carolina native Pat Nathan founded the local Dress for Success Triangle affiliate in April 2008. Dress for Success Triangle now operates two local branches, one in Durham and one in Raleigh, and will serve 1,200 women in 2012.
Dress for Success, an international nonprofit organization, promotes the economic independence of disadvantaged women by providing professional attire, a network of support and the career development tools to help women thrive in work and in life.
Pat was recently awarded the 2010 Durham County Dr. Martin Luther King “Keeper of the Dream Award” for this work as well as the 2010 Leadership Triangle award for exemplary regional leadership by an individual.
As a former Dell executive, Pat had a successful 24 year leadership record in the electronics industry. A graduate of Meredith College, Pat also attended N.C. State University’s master’s program in statistics. She founded the first European chapter of Women in Technology International in England in 2001 and a second in Ireland in 2002.
Pat, previously chair of the board of Dress for Success Triangle, now serves on its board and on the board of the Triangle Community Foundation. She previously served as board vice-chair of Sustainable NC, on the advisory board of EnviroMedia in Austin, TX, and managed the Dell Foundation as part of her Corporate Social Responsibility role before retiring from Dell.
More information about Dress for Success Triangle may be found at https://trianglenc.dressforsuccess.org/
2011 Jill Staton Bullard – Founder, Inter-Faith Food Shuttle
For over twenty-one years, Jill Staton Bullard has committed her considerable energy and talents to the fight against hunger and food insecurity. Jill is the founding Executive Director of the Inter-Faith Food Shuttle, a member food bank of Feeding America, serving seven counties within central North Carolina. Jill co-founded the Food Shuttle with her friend Maxine Solomon in 1989 and was the first active volunteer. Her charisma and passion have propelled the organization’s growth from a small grass-roots movement to a driving force in the fight against hunger.
The first year the Shuttle operated, 650 pounds of food were recovered. In 2009, the total was 6.1 million pounds. This exponential growth is a direct result of Jill’s leadership and vision. The Food Shuttle addresses hunger and food insecurity through a constellation of programs which Jill has built.
In North Carolina, Jill has served on the North Carolina Food Policy. Beyond the borders of North Carolina, she was a founding member of Food Chain, the national affiliation of food recovery organizations. Working within Feeding America, Jill has served on the Board of Directors and has twice been elected to the National Council.
Jill has four beautiful children and knows that she is blessed to get to do this work every day. She is continually enriched by the thousands of people of different faiths and backgrounds who come together to help each other in this incredible movement—building an inclusive table where all are fed and all have access to nutritious food.
More information about the Inter-Faith food shuttle may be found at http://foodshuttle.org/
2010 Dr. Lisa Tolnitch – Founder, Pretty In Pink
The 2010 Soroptimist Ruby Award: For Women Helping Women winner is Dr. Lisa Tolnitch. Dr. Tolnitch is a practicing physician in Raleigh, North Carolina. Dr. Tolnitch has been helping women with breast cancer since 1991. Her vision of bringing the most effective and least invasive treatments of breast cancer to the Triangle has helped thousands of women throughout North Carolina. She was the first surgeon in Wake County to do a lumpectomy for treatment of breast cancer, and she recently has been at the forefront of adding Mammosite partial breast radiation to the treatment options in our state.
Dr. Tolnitch is the Founder and Chair of the Board of Pretty In Pink Foundation which helps breast cancer patients who desperately need treatment but have no means of paying for these services. The mission of the Pretty In Pink Foundation is to provide financial assistance to uninsured and underinsured breast cancer patients with treatment and surgical needs and the inability to pay for it. Pretty in Pink Foundation promotes life after breast cancer through the work they do with volunteers, the donations they receive and the sponsorships that they create. The ultimate vision of Pretty In Pink Foundation is to eliminate financial barriers and provide financial resources to any and all breast cancer patients with a true financial need for treatment and surgery. The first step to realizing this vision is to expand efforts throughout North Carolina. By 2020, Pretty In Pink Foundation foresees a point of presence in every state.
More information about the Pretty In Pink Foundation and Dr. Tolnitch may be found at www.prettyinpinkfoundation.org.
2009 Beth Briggs – Founder, Creative Philanthropy
Beth is President of Creative Philanthropy, a consulting firm she founded in 1995 to provide planning and grant-making services to individuals, corporations and foundations. Creative Philanthropy’s mission is to advance the understanding, practice and
development of philanthropy in North Carolina.
Beth has been actively involved as a professional in the nonprofit sector for over thirty years. Her prior experience includes President of The North Carolina Public Television Foundation; President and Senior Counsel for Capital Consortium; Director of Development, US Olympic Festival; Director of Development, North Carolina Center for Public Policy Research; Associate Director of the Asheville Community Foundation; and Assistant Director for the Public Welfare Foundation in Washington, DC. She is a graduate of the University of North
Carolina at Chapel Hill and a native of Charlotte. The recipient of the National Association of Fund Raising Executives Triangle Chapter Fund Raiser of the Year, Beth sits on a number of local and statewide boards including the North Carolina Network of Grantmakers, The A.J.Fletcher Foundation, North Carolina Amateur Sports and is a facultymember for the BlueCross BlueShield of North Carolina, Healthy Community Institute for Nonprofit Excellence.