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Hats Off Nonprofit Awards has largest event to date celebrating Palm Beach County nonprofits

on October 18, 2022 / by Nikki Cabus ,

Read Time 3 Minutes

October 11th, our community came together to tip their hats in support of the outstanding work provided by nonprofit organizations based in Palm Beach County at the 6th Annual HatsOff Nonprofit Awards (HONA), hosted by Nonprofits First.

Nonprofits First is a 501(c)(3) organization in South Florida whose goal is to build a nonprofit community that excels in the development and implementation of sound management practices. Their mission is to promote quality and accountability in our nonprofit community through leadership development, education, and management services. They envision a community in which nonprofit organizations achieve their highest level of success. Simply, they exist to help others serve more.

With over 600 guests in attendance from sponsors, supporters, volunteers and of course nominees, it was the largest event to date.  This year’s record-breaking event had 173 nominations across 10 different categories: Nonprofit Organization of the Year (small, medium and large), Nonprofit Innovation, Nonprofit Volunteer of the Year, Nonprofit MVP of the Year, Nonprofit Professional of the Year, Community Collaborators, Nonprofit Executive of the Year, Lifetime Achievement, People’s Choice, and finally The Best Hat!

Jessica Cecere

“There are currently 7,748 registered nonprofits in Palm Beach County, who employ over 30K and raise over $5.3 Billion for our community. Nonprofits are not only an important economic factor in Palm Beach County, but essential to the quality of life of our residents and visitors,” says Jessica Cecere, CEO of Nonprofits First.

“Too often, nonprofits and their employees deliver their important work regardless of fanfare or recognition. The Hats Off Nonprofit Awards honors and celebrates our nonprofit community and those organizations in the business of doing good.”

Nonprofits First Board and Committee members, including Tech Hub Board Member, Deana Pizzo (right bottom)

The 6th Annual Hats Off Nonprofit Awards was held at the Kravis Center for the Performing Arts Cohen Pavilion. As guests filled the ballroom, they were treated to a pre-award’s reception, photo opps, networking, and some amazing hats.

Afterwards, Mr. Bill Bone, the Master of Ceremonies, led everyone through the night to celebrate all nominees and reveal the 12 Honorees nominated for the extraordinary dedication, service, and leadership that they demonstrate every day!

Led by HONA Event Chair, Peter L. Cruise, the awards committee, brought together an event with some pretty impressive stats: 172 Nominees, 111 Organizations, 58 Sponsors, 45 Judges, 70 Volunteers, 9 Staff, 650 guests and only 6 years in.

Proceeds from this event benefit Nonprofits First Education Programs, focused on the professional development, leadership, and training that nonprofit organizations need to lead and succeed.

The 2022 Honorees are…

  • Nonprofit of the Year – Small – Youth Empowered to Prosper
  • Nonprofit of the Year – Medium – Friends of Foster Children of Palm Beach County
  • Nonprofit of the Year – Large – The Arc of Palm Beach County
  • Nonprofit Innovation Award – Morningday Community Solutions
  • Nonprofit MVP of the Year – Jackie Struller, Restoration Bridge International, Inc.
  • Nonprofit Volunteer of the Year – Lorraine Petrozza, Community Partners of South Florida
  • Nonprofit Professional of the Year – Trudy Crowetz, Literacy Coalition of Palm Beach County
  • Community Collaborators Award – CROS Ministries Caring Kitchen Program, Interfaith Committee for Social Services, And Delray Beach Police Community Outreach
  • Nonprofit Executive of the Year – Julia Dattolo, CareerSource Palm Beach County
  • Lifetime Achievement – Diana Stanley, The Lord’s Place
  • People’s Choice Award – Hanley Foundation
  • Best Hat Award – Holy Ground PBC

Tech Hub Co-Chairs Michael Fowler and Louis Balbirer with Tech Hub CEO, Nikki Cabus

Click here to view all 2022 nominees . . .

including South Florida Tech Hub’s nomination for the Nonprofit Innovation Award recognizing creative and nontraditional approaches to solving community challenges.

For more information on Nonprofits First, please visit

Hats Off Nonprofit Awards has largest event to date celebrating Palm Beach County nonprofits