Ep-och: a period of time that is very important in history (Merriam-Webster Dictionary)
October 28, 2013 will mark a very important date in history for several missional organizations/individuals. This is the date when the Epoch Awards will be presented at the Fox Theatre in Atlanta, and six well-deserving winners will receive their share of $50,000.
Inspired by Anderson Cooper and CNN’s Heroes, which recognizes “everyday people changing the world,” curator Tim Abare, who also serves as COO of Adventures in Missions, spearheaded an interdenominational non-profit for the purpose of presenting the Epoch Awards.
“I began dreaming about a way that we could create a collaborative environment,” says Abare in a telephone interview from his home base just north of Atlanta. “I wanted to find the people who are wrecked by the plight of people here in our country and around the world. Find the people that are reaching the least of these, who have their heads down and arms open. Those who are embracing people in their pain.”
The group seeks out “unsung heroes,” organizations and individuals who primarily operate on small budgets, and quietly, rarely receiving recognition for the good they do.
“These organizations serve the people society doesn’t see, the throwaways, those suffering with AIDS, orphans, the down and outers,” says Abare.
The first Epoch Awards, held in 2011, received more than 450 nominations. This year’s nominations increased by more than 30%.
“We received more than 600 nominations from 32 states, 33 countries, and six continents,” says Abare.
The process is relatively simple.
Through an online application, anyone can make a nomination. Nominations are vetted by Abare and a staff of about 60 volunteers. Applications passing the initial perusal are forwarded to a committee of 16 individuals, all involved in some sort of mission-based endeavor. An initial vote results in three finalists, then the committee votes for the winner in each of six categories.
The Innovative Start-Up Award recognizes those advancing new problem-solving techniques for needs of their community.
The Collaborative Project Award recognizes those partnering with others to promote the greater good.
The Global Missional Leader Award honors an individual successfully leading a team toward “radical systemic change” in their global environment.
The Outstanding Service Award credits an individual dedicated to service that inspires and encourages life-altering changes in others.
The Atlanta-Based Hero Award identifies an individual who is dedicated to providing services to the people of Atlanta and their needs.
The People’s Choice Award will be voted on by attendees of the October 28 event from three individuals/organizations nominated by the Epoch Awards committee.
Abare believes the nominees deserve to experience the awards show opulence in addition to the financial benefit the monetary award brings. To that end, nominees are required to attend the awards presentation in order to remain in contention for an award. The Epoch Awards organization funds all travel costs for the individual or one representative.
“These are people who don’t brag on themselves – they’ve been nominated by other people,” says Abare. “They are the last people to throw on a tuxedo, walk a red carpet, and get the pomp and circumstance. Yet, they deserve as much as an Academy Award nominee or an Emmy nominee.”
Tickets to the Epoch Awards and a VIP reception are available to the general public through the organization’s website.
The evening will feature New York Times bestselling author Bob Goff and author/blogger Jon Acuff. Goff founded Restore International, a nonprofit addressing human rights issues in Uganda and India. Acuff penned Quitter, a Wall Street Journal and New York Times bestseller. He formerly blogged on Stuff Christians Like as part of the Dave Ramsey team. Joy Eggerichs, director of Love and Respect Now, and Plywood People founder Jeff Shinabarger are also featured guests. Music will be provided by acoustic/folk duo All Sons & Daughters.