By Scott Meeker
JOPLIN, Mo. —
A Joplin art program is about to enter the national spotlight.
Art Feeds — a nonprofit program that offers art instruction to elementary-age students — is one of 25 charities selected as finalists for television network NBC’s American Giving Awards.
During a ceremony set to air on Dec. 8, a total of $2 million will be granted to the five charities receiving the most votes, with $1 million going to the top vote-getter. The charities are broken up into five categories: Educators & Mentors, Heroes & Leaders, Champions of Health & Wellness, Community Builders, and Youth Development.
Art Feeds was nominated in the Youth Development category.
Meg Bourne, founder and executive director of Art Feeds, said the nomination for the NBC program stemmed from a recent grant award.
Earlier this year, Art Feeds was awarded a $20,000 grant through Chase Community Giving, which was based on the results of online voting.
Last month, the Chase program selected 25 causes to spotlight for the upcoming American Giving Awards.
“We were notified about a month and a half ago (of the American Giving Awards nomination), but we were under confidentiality until Nov. 14,” Bourne said.
A video crew recently came to Joplin to film a segment about Art Feeds — which works with students who have been affected by trauma — that will be featured during the upcoming broadcast.
Bourne and her staff at Art Feeds will fly to Los Angeles for the awards ceremony, the host for which will be “Community” star Joel McHale.
In August, Art Feeds was a finalist for the national Do Something Awards and received $10,000 to expand its children’s programs. And in January, the program was spotlighted in the finale of “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition.”
“We’ve had so many people rally around us in the past voting grants we’ve been in,” Bourne said. “Joplin is really strong, and we’re proud to be a symbol of just a small piece of Joplin.”
She said Art Feeds has worked with more than 12,500 students in 10 Joplin schools.
Voting for the awards will begin Tuesday and conclude Dec. 4. Votes may be cast via www.nbc.com/americangivingawards or on Facebook at http://artfeeds.org/aga.
FOR INFORMATION on Art Feeds, or to become a volunteer for the program, people may email firstname.lastname@example.org.