Andrews Institute student wins top nonprofit award

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Andrews Institute student awarded for her work with the Tennessee Foreign Language Institute

Leah Hashinger, a student in the Master of Arts in Civic Leadership program at the Nelson & Sue Andrews Institute for Civic Leadership at Lipscomb University, was recently awarded a Salute to Excellence Award from the Center for Nonprofit Management for her coordination of the ESL to Go program at the Tennessee Foreign Language Institute.

TFLI won first place, receiving a $25,000 prize in the Frist Foundation’s Innovation in Action category at the Center for Nonprofit Management’s awards ceremony. Hashinger, ESL to Go program manager, and Angela Harris, director of ESL/TESL at the institute, accepted the award.

Responding to the repeated identification of transportation as the number one barrier for refugees and immigrants in accessing English classes, ESL to Go offers a unique model of service delivery and access. The classroom-on-wheels (a truck outfitted as a classroom) brings English as a second language classes to refugees and immigrants in Davidson County.

“In 2011, I had the unique opportunity to transform an innovative idea into a reality,” said Hashinger. As a volunteer at TFLI, I began working with my supervisor on developing a mobile classroom that would bring English classes to the apartments where refugees live. The challenge allowed me to step into a leadership role where I learned to gather support from the community, build partnerships, gain trust and continue to respond to the dynamic needs of our students.”

Each year, CNM hosts Salute to Excellence, the “Academy Awards” of the Middle Tennessee nonprofit community, with a dinner and awards presentation that honors area nonprofits for their commitment to management excellence. The ceremony featured 12 awards and $210,000 in prize money for this year’s finalists. More than 1,000 guests and 35 of Nashville's nonprofit organizations attended.

Hashinger is also the 2014 recipient of the Center for Nonprofit Management Award for Andrews Institute students. The award provides students a discounted tuition rate to earn their master’s degree in civic leadership.

“Watching Nashville become a leader in embracing cultural and ethnic diversity has inspired me to pursue a path of leadership as well,” said Hashinger. “As a civic leader, I will continually work to highlight the positive impact that immigration has on Nashville’s culture and economy, while developing innovative ways to fund nonprofit programs and rethink service delivery.”