NEW YORK, Oct. 23 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ — Martha Stewart and Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia’s flagship publication Martha Stewart Living (MSL) will honor 11 extraordinary women at the first annual “Dreamers into Doers” Awards program this evening in New York City. More than 1,000 dreamers entered the competition celebrating women who have turned their passions into businesses and philanthropic programs, hobbies into careers, and aspirations into realities, just as Martha did 25 years ago with her first book, Entertaining. Martha Stewart Living will also present the first Living Legend Award to best-selling, award-winning, singer-songwriter Carole King.
Cindy Kerr from Philadelphia, PA, will be awarded the grand prize as a result of her efforts with ConKerr Cancer, a group she started to provide hand-quilted pillowcases to children with life threatening illnesses like her son Ryan, who is battling cancer. While the Kerrs continue to fight for Ryan’s life, hundreds of ConKerr Cancer volunteers have provided more than 14,500 pillowcases to children at pediatric hospitals throughout Pennsylvania, Connecticut, New Jersey, and Florida. Cindy will receive the $10,000 grand prize from MSL to further pursue her dream and continue her philanthropic efforts. Additionally, Bank of America will match MSL’s commitment of $10,000, Talbot’s will provide a $1,000 wardrobe with a limited edition bag to help her keep any paperwork organized and within hand’s reach and HUSQVARNA VIKING(R) will award a DESIGNER(R) SE Limited Edition sewing machine to help with the production of pillowcases.
“Cindy’s story is as inspiring as it is touching,” said Martha Stewart, Founder of MSLO. “I am so proud of her and of all the women who entered the contest and I am thrilled to recognize our first-ever Dreamers into Doers Awards program. I hope their experiences will lead others to pursue their passions and find success doing something that is meaningful to them.”
Cindy Kerr and the 10 honorees were flown to New York City where they appeared today on the Emmy-award winning The Martha Stewart Show and will attend the awards ceremony at Frederick P. Rose Hall, Home of Jazz at Lincoln Center this evening. The 10 honorees represent a wide range of talents and efforts, from sending cookies to the troops overseas, to creating community gardens and establishing an arts center for at-risk teens and special needs children. Each will receive a $1,000 award from MSL, a matching contribution of $1,000 from Bank of America and a $250 Talbots shopping spree. A complete overview of all 11 winners and their stories are included below. Additionally, the Dreamers into Doers winners are featured in the November issue of Martha Stewart Living.
Carole King will also be recognized as a Living Legend at the awards ceremony. A celebrated songwriter, performer and environmental advocate, Carole challenged herself and created Tapestry, one of the most memorable and successful albums of all time. Her music has inspired countless women to follow their dreams. Carole will release a new DVD today on her own label, Rockingale Records titled “Welcome to my Living Room” and performed during The Martha Stewart Show. This evening she will perform at the award ceremony.
“Bank of America is proud to sponsor Martha Stewart Living’s “Dreamers into Doers” program which will help transform the dreams of 11 remarkable women into tangible business realities,” said Beverly Ladley, small business strategy and deposits executive for Bank of America. “Bank of America is committed to supporting the successes of small business owners across the country and, with our matching funds, we hope to advance the goals of such notable entrepreneurs.”
“We love this program because it promotes hope and celebrates the creativity and entrepreneurial spirit within women,” says Betsy Thompson, Talbots director of corporate communications and public relations. “We applaud the honorees and everyone at Martha Stewart Living for reminding us that dreams can come true.”
Dreamers into Doers — Honorees:
Grand Prize Winner
Cindy Kerr, nominated by her husband Gavin Kerr
A talented quilter and a loving mom, Cindy Kerr started making colorful pillowcases to brighten her son Ryan’s hospital room during his cancer treatments. With the positive response from her son, the hospital staff, and other families with sick children, Cindy knew she was on to something much bigger. One mom’s dream to make her child happy gave rise to ConKerr Cancer. Cindy started ConKerr Cancer to provide cheerful pillowcases for other children with life-changing illnesses. While the Kerr’s continue to fight Ryan’s cancer, hundreds of ConKerr
Cancer volunteers have provided more than 14,500 handcrafted pillowcases to children at pediatric hospitals throughout Pennsylvania, Connecticut, New Jersey, and Florida. Find out more about Cindy’s mission at http://www.ConKerrCancer.org.
Kim Waite, Christchurch, VA
Kim’s Custom Cards
When money was tight, Kim started making personalized cards for her children. Kim’s Custom Cards has grown from a hobby into a successful stationery business with her products in 80 stores across the country. Victoria Wesseler, Lebanon, IN
Going Local blog
Working as a corporate consultant, Victoria had her head in the boardroom while her heart was in the garden and kitchen. She managed to complete personal chef and advanced master gardener courses before launching Going Local, which celebrates the abundance of Indiana’s local foods. Lara Guerra, Windsor, CA
Lara taught herself chocolate making while home after the birth of her second daughter. With an eye on evolving her hobby, she pitched wine-themed chocolates to the local Sonoma wineries and also gave birth to a business creating hand-crafted chocolate bars.
Laura Stachler, Atlanta, GA
Watching her husband and daughter undergo chemotherapy, Laura wanted to help. Through her passion for baking, she developed the ultimate gingersnap, a cookie that aids in soothing upset stomachs. Laura named the cookies Susansnaps for her sister who lost her battle with cancer and her daughter who beat the disease. She donates a portion of every sale to cancer research. Mary Beth Schad, McKinney, TX
Ellie & Ollie
When a friend mumbled “I’d buy these from you” through a mouthful of some cookies she had made, Mary got busy turning her passion into profits. Now Ellie & Ollie offers five varieties of beautifully-packaged cookies for gifting. Mary hopes some day to license the brand so others can work while staying at home with their children. Valorie Barrett, Broken Arrow, OK
Covenant Cleaning Services
Valorie’s dream of creating financial independence for herself, her daughters, and women who need a helping hand was realized when she started her business three years ago. Valorie hires women in need who can’t provide for their children, and offer them free childcare and transportation to improve their quality of life.
Shannon Cumberland, Denver, CO
Shannon began making beeswax candles at her kitchen table with botanicals and spices. Local stores first sold the candles, and now Shannon sells 300,000+ hand-poured candles annually nationwide. Rosy Rings has grown from a party of one to a company of 15. Susan Hager, Frederic, WI
Inspired by a friend who had a brother in the army, Susan melded her love of baking and dogs to launch the Cookie Brigade to help support the troops. In just over a year, more than 1,400 dozen cookies and 400 dozen dog biscuits have been shipped to military personnel. Lorraine Donlon, Syosset, NY
RESIDENTS for a More Beautiful Syosset
Determined to transform a trash-filled utility strip along a busy local road into a community flower garden, Lorraine started RESIDENTS for a More Beautiful Syosset, a non-profit organization of local families. The group continues to plant and maintain three community gardens.
Linda Z. Smith, Midland, MI
Creative Spirit Center
As one of five from a single-parent, welfare family and the first to graduate from college, Linda was no stranger to challenges. She co-founded the non-profit Creative Sprit Center to serve as an arts haven for at-risk teens and special needs children in foster care, among others.
About Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, Inc.
Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, Inc. (NYSE: MSO) is a diversified media and merchandising company, inspiring and engaging consumers with unique content and distinctive products. The Publishing segment encompasses five magazines, including the company’s flagship publication, Martha Stewart Living, periodic special issues and books. The marthastewart.com website provides consumers with instant access to MSLO’s multimedia library, search and find capabilities, and more. The Broadcasting division produces the Emmy-winning daily, national syndicated program, “The Martha Stewart Show” and Martha Stewart Living Radio, channel 112 on SIRIUS Satellite Radio. In addition to its media properties, MSLO offers beautiful, practical and superior quality Martha Stewart products through licensing agreements with carefully selected companies. For additional information, visit http://www.marthastewart.com.
About Martha Stewart Living
Martha Stewart Living is the flagship magazine of Martha Stewart Livingn Omnimedia. As the original lifestyle publication, it provides readers with the information, ideas, inspiration and confidence they need to enhance their quality of living. Recognized for its creative content, iconic photographs, and singular design, Martha Stewart Living has received numerous awards and honors, including three prestigious National Magazine Awards. Adweek featured the magazine on its 2007 “Hot List” of Top 10 Magazines. For more information, visit http://www.marthastewart.com.
SOURCE Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, Inc.