ALTUS, Okla. (TNN) - Two organizations in Altus are up for awards given annually to the best non-profit in the state.
According to the Oklahoma Center for Nonprofits, in 2019 there were 20,290 registered nonprofits across the state. Just 21 of those of nonprofits were nominated for the Oklahoma Nonprofit Excellence Awards. The majority of those were in the Oklahoma City and Tulsa metro areas, except for two that operate out of Altus.
Nominated in the Self-Sufficiency category is Operation C.A.R.E Ministries.
"We help with utility assistance, medical prescriptions, GEDs, IDs, birth certificates, we help with emergency lodging, emergency travel, we have a medical clinic that runs out of our office on Mondays and Wednesdays, we have four projects throughout the year that includes free dental care,” said Angela Ybarra, Director of Operation C.A.R.E. Ministries.
Nominated in the Arts and Culture category is the Western Trail Historical Society for the work they do at the Museum of the Western Prairie.
"We turn in roughly 375 or 400 volunteer hours a month, which is pretty remarkable for a town our size. Last year we did 74 scheduled events and that ranged from tours of the museum for children, programs for service clubs, events for special demographics, including Tamarack Assisted Living and other organizations like that in our town,” said Jennie Buchanan, Director of the Museum of the Western Prarie.
Both organizations will be present at an awards ceremony in Tulsa this April but win or lose, they’re happy to be recognized.
"It’s an honor to be a finalist and I mean that very sincerely, not just the trite statement that it was an honor to be nominated. It truly is to compete with larger organizations and be recognized is quite wonderful,” Buchanan said.
"To be a finalist it proves that hard work does pay off. We never thought we’d be recognized, that’s not why we do what we do, but it’s nice that people say we want to help out your mission and this is a great time and a good opportunity to have other people see what we’re doing,” Ybarra said.
Fifteen of the 21 nonprofits nominated were from the Oklahoma City or Tulsa metro areas, but both Ybarra and Buchanan say they’re proud to represent southwest Oklahoma.
"I don’t think we have the money and the influence that those larger organizations and larger metro areas have. But I can tell you we have the full support of the community here in Altus,” Buchanan said.
“Our mission is providing hope through the transforming love of Christ and so to provide hope to somebody, they’re changing, and we get to be a part of that. For people in Oklahoma City, Edmond and Tulsa area, for them to know we are impacting lives, it means a lot because it means we’re on the right mission,” Ybarra said.
Winning the award comes with a $10,000 reward. Ybarra said if they win, that money will be huge in helping them fund all the programs Operation Care runs. Buchanan said they’re always working on making the museum better and if they win, they’ll be doing a big renovation to the entrance of the building, making it fit the decor of the museum and making them visible from the street.