2019 Ignite Awards

Volunteers represent the best of us. They work tirelessly to better their communities from the inside out, giving their time, energy and effort with no agenda, other than to do what’s right. National Volunteer Week, held in communities across the United States each April, was established in 1974 to honor these selfless individuals, and it was in this spirit that the IGNITE Volunteer Awards Celebration was founded by Hands On Birmingham, the volunteer center of United Way of Central Alabama. Now in its third year, the IGNITE Awards recognize the amazing group of volunteers from across Central Alabama who embody UWCA’s mission of caring for one another and improving our community.

2019 IGNITE Finalists

“It is vitally important to give back to the community—our home–with our time and resources, and these volunteers exude the very importance of volunteerism,” said Benga Harrison, Director of Hands On Birmingham. “All of our nominees display great compassion and exemplary leadership while uplifting the community through different means of volunteering. They are the goodness of our community.”

On April 10, 2019, passionate members of the Central Alabama community packed into a ballroom at iconic local venue The Club to recognize our own best. More than 50 nominees, ranging in age from 9 to 97, were honored, with 16 recognized as finalists. Of the sixteen finalists, eight received awards. Winners included: Jacob Epperson, Community Volunteer of the Year; Thomasine Jackson – Drummond Company, Corporate/Company Volunteer of the Year; Marcella Anderson Roberts, Faith-Based Volunteer of the Year; Amy Hutson Badham, Government Volunteer of the Year; Alex Lawley, Hands on Birmingham Volunteer of the Year; Bob Boylan, Ellyn R. S. Grady Nonprofit Volunteer of the Year; Kelli Caulfield- Caulfield Investment Holdings LLC, Small Business Volunteer of the Year; and Christian Huddle, Student Volunteer of the Year.

United Way of Central Alabama’s vision to build a great community by bringing people together to help others would not be able to come to fruition without the work of our volunteers. Although UWCA strives to recognize them every day, it was an honor to recognize and celebrate their commitments to the community.


If you know an IGNITE Award-worthy individual, set a reminder to come back to the nominations page in October, when the selection process for next year’s honorees begins.