Main Street Wetumpka took home the Excellence in Fundraising award and secretary and treasurer Dennis Fain walked away the Main Street Hero Award at the 2021 Awards of Excellence Banquet held during the eighth Main Street Alabama Annual Conference.
The three-day conference took place in Gadsden from Aug. 18-20 and drew more than 150 community leaders from throughout Alabama, including Fain, Main Street Wetumpka's Executive Director Haley Greene and the city of Wetumpka's Economic Development Director Lynn Weldon.
During the awards ceremony, Weldon accepted Main Street Wetumpka's Excellence in Fundraising award for the 2020 Wine Push event. The award is given in recognition of outstanding local fundraising activities or campaigns.
When the COVID-19 pandemic prohibited Main Street Wetumpka from raising funds through its annual wine pull, the organization created the wine push instead. The wine push entailed inviting supporters to host a wine event for other couples in a manageable setting for social distancing. Included in the $100 cost per couple were four bottles of wine from event sponsor Hahn Family Wines, a basket of food pairings and an appropriate number of signature glasses to take home. The event raised over $11,000, with $8,000 of the funds netted after expenses. Committee members invited couples to host and encouraged them to share the experience with three other couples.
The awards banquet also marked a special occasion for Fain as he accepted the Main Street Hero Award. Each city is invited to nominate someone to receive the awards, which recognizes individuals, businesses and organizations that have made an outstanding contribution to their local Main Street program.
The nomination came from Main Street Wetumpka's former executive director Jenny Stubbs who submitted the organization's award applications prior to stepping down as executive director.
Jenny Stubbs stated, “I've been waiting five years to write this submission for the most amazing volunteer: Dennis Fain!”
According to Stubbs, Fain was instrumental in the formation and designation of Main Street Wetumpka, and became its first president in 2016. Thereafter, at a crucial time in the nonprofit's history, Fain stepped up and served as its board president for five years, while also acting as its secretary/treasurer. He continues today as secretary/treasurer and serves on multiple committees.
"Furthermore, not only has he been impactful as a representative of the organization, he also helped create its most important fundraisers and events, as well as generously donating thousands of dollars throughout the years," Stubbs wrote. "His knowledge of both the history of the community and its relation to the mission and Four-Point Approach of Main Street has been pivotal to its success. He's worked with every committee within the organization, sometimes chairing multiple events. His dependable, trustworthy reputation within the community has also helped the organization gain support, both from a volunteer as well as financial standpoint. He has been a member of the Rotary Club, First United Methodist Church, and numerous other entities for decades. Besides garnering more support for the organization, Fain's wife Lynda also repeatedly and generously volunteered with the organization. We are so grateful for the Fain family and all they have done to support and sustain Main Street Wetumpka since its inception and designation in 2016. Dennis has a servant's heart and is absolutely one of the best gifts the Wetumpka community has ever been given. He is a treasure."
Fain said he was "totally shocked" to receive the award.
"I certainly wasn't looking for it, but it's always nice to be recognized for your efforts," Fain said.