The Dewey Winburne Community Service Awards celebrate the spirit of community in Austin that we think is unique to SXSW. Each March, ten recipients are recognized for their use of digital technology to help others, and are given the opportunity to spread the word about their work to the SXSW community. Read the story of 2016 award recipient Maria Rose Belding below and learn more about 2017 nominations.
Bucking the Haters One Food Drive at a Time
Maria Rose Belding is the co-founder and executive director of the MEANS Database, a nonprofit online communications platform for emergency feeding systems and their donors. MEANS has users in 19 states and counting, rescuing thousands of pounds of food every year. Belding is a food insecurity writer and advocate, with work published in nine countries.
At the Dewey Awards this March, Belding shared her story of running food drives in high school and inventing ways to use resources more effectively to minimize food waste. One of the first challenges she faced was a personal one, in the form of bullying from fellow classmates. Name calling and taunts about the nature of her work trying to feed people were some of the more painful obstacles she encountered. She persevered, and authored Fighting for Food, a guide for high school students running food drives, which has been distributed digitally, free of charge, to more than one thousand students and schools in the U.S. and abroad.
2017 Nominations Now Open
Know someone doing amazing work to help others in their community? Nominate them for a Dewey Winburne Community Service Award by July 22, 2016. Chosen honorees will receive a $1,000 grant for their favorite 501(c3) or equivalent charitable organization and will get a chance to share their story at SXSW in 2017. (The Dewey Awards honors individuals – to learn more about our grants for organizations, see the SXSW Community Grants.