Helping America's Most Vulnerable

​Volunteers of America Presents Highest Honor to Mark Ingram

Volunteers of America concluded its National Conference on June 5, 2018, with an award dinner at the National World War II Museum that honored several local community leaders and philanthropic organizations. Honorees included New Orleans Saints running back Mark Ingram II, The Advocate owner and publisher John Georges, New Orleans business leader David Fennelly, and the Oscar J. Tolmas Charitable Trust.

Volunteers of America awarded its highest honor, the 2018 Ballington and Maud Booth Award, to New Orleans Saints running back Mark Ingram. Ingram was recognized for his work mentoring local children, in particular those with an incarcerated parent. In his rookie year with the Saints, Ingram launched the Mark Ingram Foundation to help children who have parents in jail. This is a deeply personal cause for him — from the time he was 10 years old, Ingram’s father was in jail off and on for 15 years.

John Georges, The Advocate owner and publisher, was presented with Volunteers of America’s 2018 Empathy Award. Georges played a significant role in recovery efforts for the University of New Orleans and its arena after Hurricane Katrina, and was also instrumental in rebuilding churches after the storm.

Volunteers of America presented its 2018 Outstanding Community Service Award to the Oscar J. Tolmas Charitable Trust and to New Orleans business leader David Fennelly. Since its inception in 2014, the Oscar J. Tolmas Charitable Trust has been a generous contributor to the Greater New Orleans community. Established from the estate of Oscar Tolmas, the trust donates roughly $2.5 million a year to the community in support of veterans, medical care and children at risk or in crisis.

Fennelly’s companies have a strong corporate culture of employee-driven community engagement, and he personally has acquired a reputation as an extremely generous philanthropist. Fennelly and his partner, Carlos Sanchez, are passionate champions for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities, contributing thousands of dollars each year from their family foundation, The Fennelly Sanchez Fund.

Approximately 700 Volunteers of America leaders and care providers from across the United States travelled to New Orleans for the organization’s 2018 National Conference on June 2-5. Volunteers of America Southeast Louisiana offers more than 20 human services programs that support and empower children, families, seniors, individuals with disabilities and veterans in 16 south Louisiana parishes, including the New Orleans area. Delivering lifesaving short-term and lifelong services to those in need, the affiliate serves more than 52,000 of the most underserved individuals annually.