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2006 Kauffman Community Award Winners Honored in Chicago

The Kauffman Community Awards honor the outstanding efforts of entrepreneurs who have made a significant difference through their valuable philanthropic contributions to society. The winners of the 2006 awards were honored at the EO Chicago University in August with a presentation before their peers.

This year, the 4th year of the awards program, the winners are: Laura Love, EO Colorado; Jared Polis, EO Colorado; and Jeffrey Smith, EO Dallas.

The programs of these innovative and inspiring EO members were judged based on innovation, leadership, results, replication and creative use of resources. The judging panel was comprised of former Kauffman Community Award winners, EO members and Kauffman Foundation staff.

Read on to find out more about the winners for 2006!

Laura Love
EO Colorado

The Tennyson Center for Children is a large residential and day treatment facility for children who have experienced trauma through abuse, neglect or mental health issues.The Tennyson Center is an invaluable resource for families in the Rocky Mountain Region of Colorado, but in 2005, it faced the possibility of losing its home in a bankruptcy sale.

That’s when Laura Love stepped in. Her company, GroundFloor Media, had been working pro bono with the Tennyson Center since 2003 to help raise awareness of its programs. Laura and her team directed a media outreach program and crisis communications plan to help the Tennyson Center find a friendly buyer and keep its home.

In addition to averting the possible loss of the Tennyson Center building, the awareness generated by Laura and GroundFloor Media helped drive increased response for volunteers, donors and other support.

Well done, Laura!

Jared Polis
EO Colorado

As a member of the Colorado State Board of Education, Jared Polis saw firsthand that many underserved school-age children needed additional help. So he started his own foundation in 2000 to help provide academic opportunities for children in need.

Jared Polis' vision inspired the creation of the Jared Polis Foundation, which supports educators and students, involves parents and families and strengthens communities.The Foundation created two charter school programs in the Denver area: The New America School for children of recently arrived immigrants and the Academy of Urban Learning for homeless and transient children.

The Academy of Urban Learning had five graduates in 2006. The New America School graduated about 40 students in 2006, up from 17 the previous year. Both programs are on their way to continued growth and results.

Congratulations, Jared!

Jeffrey Smith
EO Dallas

Jeffrey Smith developed a program that allows entrepreneurs to “give forward” by sharing their expertise to help those who are less fortunate. His website,, leverages entrepreneurs and technology to help break the cycle of poverty and despair. It gives the poor the tools they need to lift themselves out of poverty instead of just giving a handout. provides a model for creating small economic communities in deprived areas. The model is currently being proven in Nueva Espanola, Magote, Honduras. In this community, five small businesses have been incubated by matching entrepreneurs, resources and training from the United States. This has created a small economic system of cash and barter. The humility of a handout has been replaced with the pride of having a job.

Congratulations, Jeff!

Copyright 2006 GroundFloor Media
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