Linda Weise and Sen. Kent Lambert, both from Colorado Springs, received awards from the Colorado Nonprofit Association yesterday.
Weise, founding CEO of the Colorado Springs Conservatory, won the William Funk Award for Building Stronger Communities. The award recognizes leaders who are “capable of bringing together communities to define and solve problems,” said a press release from the organization.
Weise established the conservatory more than 20 years ago as a place for students 3-19 can learn music, dance and theatrical arts.
“Even before founding the conservatory in 1994, Linda had a vision of getting high-quality, classical arts education to students across the city. Through the years since, Linda has formed a network of community partners to help promote access to the arts,” wrote Ginni Hill of the conservatory, who nominated Weise for the award.
The conservatory’s partnerships allow the organization to work with students from a Title 1 school district, students with disabilities and students from all socioeconomic levels and ethnic backgrounds.
“Right now, the Colorado Springs Conservatory serves around 800 students with vast degrees of differentiation in home and school life. It is staggering that the efforts of one person can truly make a difference in rallying people behind a common goal,” wrote Mayor John Suthers, who also nominated Weise for the award.
Lambert, who represents Colorado Springs at the state legislator, received the Legislator of the Year Award from the nonprofit association. He shared the award with Sen. John Kefalas of Fort Collins.
The group recognized Lambert for his work to improve health and home care services for people with disabilities.
“Because of Sen. Lambert’s support, hundreds of small-business home care agencies throughout the state are able to continue to drive 25 million miles a year and step up to provide 7 million nursing, therapy aide and personal care home visits per year to thousands of Medicaid clients,” said representatives of the American Physical Therapy Association, Colorado Chapter and Home Care Association of Colorado, who nominated Sen. Lambert for the award.
Lambert is also being recognized for his work to improve services that lead to independence for persons across the disability spectrum, specifically for his support of the reorganization of the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation and of increased funding for the 10 nonprofit centers for independent living throughout Colorado.
“These two bills pay attention to all the other people with disabilities as well as those in the intellectual/developmental and mental health systems. It is the first time in 20 years that such sweeping changes have been made, and it is important this year for Sen. Lambert to be acknowledged for this incredible and tireless work,” said Patricia Yeager, CEO of The Independence Center in Colorado Springs.