The Sun Trolley has once again earned top community recognition for fostering mobility and growth in greater Fort Lauderdale. On Friday, May 2, 2014, the Sun Trolley, administered by the Downtown Transportation Management Association (TMA), was named the “2014 Small Business Nonprofit of the Year” by the Greater Fort Lauderdale Chamber of Commerce.
“On behalf of TMA staff, our Board of Directors, community partners and stakeholders, we are incredibly thankful for this award,” said Patricia Zeiler, Executive Director of the Sun Trolley. “This prestigious award recognizes the leadership, integrity and management skills necessary to operate a successful business – our success is completely a bi-product of our pro-active Board of Directors, our dedicated staff and unwavering support from our community partners.”
Both Gilda’s Club South Florida and Rebuilding Together Broward County were named as finalists in the Chamber’s small business nonprofit awards category.
The Sun Trolley, a nonprofit 501(C)3, transports approximately 40,000 passengers per month across its seven routes: the NW Community Link Route alone, provides free transportation for approximately 10,000 people a month who need basic services.
In addition to this award, Patricia Zeiler, was also named the 2014 Nonprofit Leader of the Year at the Annual 211 Broward Academy Awards in March 2014.
For the second consecutive year, Fort Lauderdale has been named a finalist for the national All-America City Award. Sponsored by the National Civic League, the All-America City Award recognizes cities, counties, towns, neighborhoods, and metropolitan areas across the country for exemplary community-based problem solving and civic engagement efforts that involve public, private and non-profit entities.
“We are honored to be one of only 25 cities nationwide selected as a finalist for this prestigious designation,” said Fort Lauderdale Mayor John P. “Jack” Seiler. “Our Citywide Vision and Strategic Plan reflect our commitment to working in partnership with our neighbors to address challenges and develop transformative solutions to move our City forward. Through bold ideas, innovative partnerships, and passionate civic engagement, we are building community, enhancing quality of life, and creating a vibrant, inclusive, and sustainable City.”
The National Civic League commended Fort Lauderdale for numerous projects that demonstrate outstanding civic engagement, cross sector collaboration, inclusiveness, and innovation. An array of Parks and Recreation programs that promote healthy active lifestyles were recognized including: Wise Kids, the Presidential Challenge, First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move Campaign, the Fit Kidz Club, and the City’s after-school programs and youth camps.
Three major initiatives taking place in the community were highlighted as examples of positive meaningful change:
- The Dillard Innovation Zone Promise Neighborhood, a project of the Broward Regional Health Planning Council (BRHPC), that is cultivating community and business collaborations to support school improvement, health service interventions, mentoring, enhanced classroom technology, reading and literacy at Dillard Elementary School and initiating innovative solutions to reinvigorate a neighborhood in need.
- The redevelopment of Flagler Village, a downtown neighborhood that has been transformed from a desolate and abandoned warehouse district into a vibrant center for arts and culture. The revitalized area features unique businesses including a master puppeteer, media and photography company, event planning and marketing business, advertising agency, theatre troupe, and an innovative landscape architecture firm. Flagler Village’s popular monthly Art Walks are a celebration of the neighborhood’s innovation, vision, and urban lifestyle, as well as a strong sign of the area’s rebirth.
- Northwest Gardens, a neighborhood development located in the City’s Northwest Community Redevelopment Area, is a model affordable housing project that showcases social, environmental, health, engagement, and economic sustainability. Spearheaded by the City of Fort Lauderdale Housing Authority in partnership with community members, private sector developers, and non-profit organizations, Northwest Gardens was the first LEED-ND Certified Neighborhood in Florida. The project promotes healthy living by providing residents with places to walk and bike safely, community gardens and fruit trees, energy efficient housing, solar streetlights, self-sufficiency training, job training, and cultural activities.
Fort Lauderdale was also lauded for its Complete Streets policy, which was recently ranked #1 in Florida and #3 in the nation; a wheelchair tennis program at George English Park; a walking club at Carter Park; and the hundreds of sports, programs, and community activities that have taken place during the past year at the new Orange Bowl Field at Carter Park.
“All-America city finalists are at the forefront of a nationwide movement to find inventive, community-based solutions to the issues that face our cities. From preparing our kids to compete and succeed in the 21st century to promoting livable neighborhood revitalization, new ideas often start in one community and later become best practices for others,” said National Civic League Board Chair Mayor Michael B. Hancock of Denver.
Joining Fort Lauderdale as finalists are 24 other communities from across the United States including: Montgomery, Alabama; San Pablo, California; Whittier, California; Brush, Colorado; Tarpon Springs, Florida; Cedar Rapids, Iowa; Marshalltown, Iowa; Columbus, Indiana; Chelsea, Massachusetts; Dedham, Massachusetts; Fitchburg, Massachusetts; Somerville, Massachusetts; Marquette, Michigan; Kenmore, New York; Canton, New York; Independence, Oregon; Providence, Rhode Island; Knoxville, Tennessee; Brownsville, Texas; Marshall, Texas; Hampton, Virginia; Portsmouth, Virginia; Yakima, Washington; and Eau Claire, Wisconsin.
Once described by pollster George Gallup as the “Nobel Prize” for civic accomplishment, the All-America City Award has been given to more than 600 communities since its inception in 1949. Communities vying for the designation submit applications to the National Civic League listing three examples of successful community change and describing their capacities for civic engagement, collaboration, inclusiveness and innovation. Finalists present to a jury of civic experts who select the annual award winners.
Last year, the City of Fort Lauderdale captured the National Civic League’s All-America City Diversity and Inclusiveness Award for extraordinary and innovative success in advancing diversity and inclusiveness.
The 2014 All-America Cities will be announced on June 15 as part of the National Civic League’s annual conference in Denver, Colorado.
NCL is a 120-year old nonpartisan, nonprofit organization based in Denver, Colorado. Its mission is accomplished by fostering and sharing promising practices of local government and public engagement and celebrating the progress that can be achieved when people work together. For more information, contact Mike McGrath at the National Civic League at 303 571-4343;firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit the All-America City Blog at www.allamericacityaward.com or the NCL web site at www.ncl.org
More than 750 community leaders, supporters and nonprofit volunteers attended 211 Broward’s Nonprofit Academy Awards ceremony which took place on Friday, February 28, 2014 at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino.
A very special congratulations to Patricia Zeiler, Executive Director of the Downtown Fort Lauderdale Transportation Management Association (Sun Trolley), who was selected as the 2014 Nonprofit Leader of the Year! Sponsored by Broward College, this important award recognizes leaders who work to push their organizations forward, manage them efficiently and practice positive collaboration with many of the 5,800 nonprofits that operate within Broward County.
Patricia would like to recognize her fellow finalists who were also nominated for this year’s award: Kim L. Cavendish, Museum of Discovery, Dr. Steve Ronik, Henderson Behavioral Health Dennis Stefanacci, ACFRE, Broward Health Foundation.
“To be in such great company with the other finalists in itself was an honor,” stated Zeiler. “I am just so thankful to 211 Broward, PNC Bank and The Wasie Foundation for bringing the community together to recognize Broward County’s nonprofits – I will forever remember this day and how grateful I am to be recognized and selected as the 2014 Nonprofit Leader of the Year.”
To view all the winners of the 2014 Nonprofit Academy Awards click here to read the article that ran in the Sun Sentinel on February 28, 2014.
Earlier this month Patricia was also recognized as a “Women in Transportation” by the U.S. Department of Transportation. To view her video please click here.
Fort Lauderdale Mayor John P. “Jack” Seiler and the Fort Lauderdale City Commission will publicly recognize and congratulate Patricia for her accomplishments at the City Commission meeting taking place March 18, 2014 at 6 p.m.
To learn more about the Sun Trolley or to connect with Patricia visit www.suntrolley.com.
When commuters look at the Sun Trolley, they see safe, alternative transportation to single occupant vehicles. When Patricia Zeiler looks at it, she sees something that “makes a good city great.”
“Transportation excites me because it brings people together from many, many different communities. They meet in transit. They exchange ideas. It’s the happening place,” said Zeiler, Executive Director of the Downtown Fort Lauderdale Transportation Management Association, the non-profit organization that manages the Sun Trolley.
Zeiler’s passion for the Sun Trolley has made her as a finalist for Nonprofit Leader of the Year in 211 Broward’s Annual Non-Profit Academy Awards.
“On our NW Community Link Route alone, we provide free transportation for approximately 10,000 people a month who need basic services. That’s our mission – to provide accessible and reliable transportation to support the community,” said Zeiler.
On Friday, February 28 at 11 a.m. the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Hollywood will host Zeiler and her fellow Academy Award nominees as they strut down the red carpet amid search lights and golden statuettes, before finding out who will take home the top honor.
Zeiler is also one of many women leaders in transportation being celebrated by U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood in a new video series on the U.S. Department of Transportation’s YouTube channel.
Click Here to view Patricia’s Video
“By showcasing the exciting career opportunities available, and the tremendous possibilities for success, we hope more women and girls will consider choosing careers in transportation,” wrote LaHood on his blog, Fast Lane.
To learn more about the Department of Transportation’s Women in Transportation Series, visit www.dot.gov/osdbu/women-and-girls.