ESL In-Home Program, Florence Phillips of Carson City earn national award

Florence Phillips

Florence Phillips

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Carson City’s Florence Phillips has picked up another national honor — and another chunk of funding for the English as a Second Language In-Home Program of Nevada.

Phillips, who last year was honored as one of 10 finalists for CNN’s Hero of the Year, is one of four non-profit leaders selected by The Manhattan Institute’s Civil Society Awards to receive $25,000

The Manhattan Institute will host its annual 2019 Civil Society Awards ceremony and dinner in New York City on Oct. 16.

The awards program — formerly known as the Social Entrepreneurship Awards — recognizes nonprofit leaders who bring together volunteers and private philanthropy to address social challenges and work toward a common purpose in their communities. These individuals and their organizations work outside of government to empower the poor and disadvantaged, build caring relationships to support those in crisis, prepare the next generation to realize their full potential, restore and revitalize struggling neighborhoods, and more.

“Our history of a strong civil society makes this country special — it’s critical to the future of our democracy and the well-being of all Americans,” the Manhattan Institute’s Howard Husock, who leads the award program’s selection process, said in a media release. “It’s an honor to recognize those who take it upon themselves to keep our social fabric from fraying, assist those who need it most, and help people change the course of their lives.”

This year’s winners are:

Florence Phillips, ESL In-Home Program of Nevada:

English as a Second Language (ESL) In-Home Program of Nevada uses hundreds of community volunteers to teach English, citizenship preparation, and other workplace skills at no cost to its students, who are seeking to provide a better life for their families. Since 2004, volunteer tutors have empowered more than 5,000 immigrants and refugees to learn English and the cultural skills necessary to lead a successful and productive life in America. Originally serving only Northern Nevada, today the ESL In-Home Program has expanded its reach to learners living in other states around the country.

Megan Rose, Better Together:

Located in Naples, Florida, Better Together strengthens families and communities by promoting work, protecting children, and supporting families in crisis. With the help of hundreds of compassionate volunteers and church communities, Better Together builds lasting support systems that help families cope with hardships — job loss, substance abuse, homelessness, and even jail time — and make sure children are cared for in a safe home until the family can be reunited. By providing a voluntary and preventive alternative to foster care, the organization has served more than 1,500 children, keeping 96 percent out of the system.

Steve Shelton, Trade Institute of Pittsburgh:

The Trade Institute of Pittsburgh (TIP) provides training and employment opportunities to both ex-offenders looking to rebuild their lives and at-risk high school graduates. With a growing local need for skilled workers in trades like masonry, carpentry, and welding, TIP has helped nearly 400 people gain a solid pathway to a steady job and livable wage. In the last 10 years, more than 90 percent of TIP graduates have been hired, allowing them to provide for themselves and their families, positively contribute to society, and avoid activities that would lead to prison time.

Kim Turner and Kevin White, Newburgh Performing Arts Academy:

Newburgh Performing Arts Academy provides professional dance, music, theater, and visual arts instruction to children in one of the region’s most dangerous cities, Newburgh, N.Y. Through its pre-professional training and community arts programs, the academy educates approximately 800 students each year — serving more than 10,000 young people over the last 15 years. These programs help at-risk youth build self-esteem, improve their academic performance, and develop the discipline necessary to achieve success in all areas of life.

Based in New York City, the Manhattan Institute is a think tank whose mission is to develop and disseminate new ideas that foster greater economic choice and individual responsibility. For nearly 20 years, the Institute has sought to support and advance America’s long tradition of civil society organizations and leaders who, with the help of volunteers and private philanthropy, help communities address and prevent our nation’s most serious public problems. Learn more about the Civil Society Awards program at

If you are interested in attending the Civil Society Awards ceremony and dinner on Oct. 16, contact or 202-776-2033.


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