United Way of Central Indiana Announces Finalists for ELEVATE Awards

United Way hosts second annual ELEVATE – an evening of fun and philanthropy to honor young professionals and raise funds to fight for more safe, affordable and equitable housing in our community 


INDIANAPOLIS – United Way’s ELEVATE Awards, presented by GEICO, recognizes the next generation of philanthropists, volunteers and activists in the Central Indiana community. After receiving nearly 100 nominations for the 2020 award year, 15 finalists were selected across five categories. Winners will be announced at ELEVATE on February 29 at Crane Bay Event Center in downtown Indianapolis.   


Submissions called for individuals (age 21-40) who positively impacted the Central Indiana community and elevated causes important to other young professionals. A six-member volunteer committee of community leaders and experts reviewed nominees and offered their votes for the top talent in each category.  


This year, all ELEVATE finalists will have the opportunity to be named the “People’s Choice”. Thanks to the generosity of award sponsor OneAmerica, the “People’s Choice” winner will also receive $250 to donate to a Central Indiana nonprofit organization of their choice.


“The ELEVATE Awards offer our community a glimpse into the capabilities of the next generation of community leaders to transform our city into a more compassionate and inclusive place, bettering the lives of everyone around us,” said Tiffany Hanson, ELEVATE judge. 


The 2020 ELEVATE finalists are: 


Board Member of the Year presented by Eli Lilly & Company  

Jasmin French of Cummins, Inc. on behalf of Agave at the Eiteljorg Museum  

Emily Shrock of the Marion County Prosecutor’s Office on behalf of Coburn Place 

Marla Taylor of Taylor Advising on behalf of Brooke’s Place for Grieving Children 


Community Ambassador of the Year presented by Delta Faucet 

Tanorria Askew, Owner of Tanorria’s Table  

Sarah Myer, Senior Director of Marketing and Communications at Indiana Sports Corp  

Luke Zhang, Data Scientist and Techpoint Fellow at DemandJump 


Employee Resource Group of the Year presented by BMO Harris Bank   

JP Morgan Chase BOLD on behalf of JP Morgan Chase 

Lilly PRIDE on behalf of Eli Lilly & Company   

Roche Young Professionals on behalf of Roche Diagnostics USA 


Nonprofit Professional of the Year presented by Katz Sapper and Miller 

Kelsey Burton, Executive Director of Paws & Think, Inc.  

Cheria Caldwell, Director of Community Engagement at CAFÉ  

Melissa Hill, Chief Human Relations and Administrative Officer of Gleaners Food Bank of Indiana


Volunteer of the Year presented by Roche Diagnostics Corporation  

Mady Lacefield of LTC Language solutions on behalf of Families First 

Delano Robinson of Eli Lilly & Company on behalf of Black Data Processing Associates of Indiana 

Ashley Youmell of Key Bank on behalf of Little Red Door Cancer Agency  


Beginning January 27, each finalist’s story of impact and service will be profiled on United Way’s ELEVATE blog. Sponsorship opportunities in recognition of ELEVATE finalists are available for purchase. Contact Jody Pope for details.  


To purchase tickets to ELEVATE or to learn more about the event, visit http://elevate.uwci.org/. 




About United Way of Central Indiana: United Way is a community of donors, advocates, volunteers, and partners who fight for the health, education, and financial stability of every person in every community. United Way invites all members of our community to LIVE UNITED by giving, advocating and volunteering to improve lives in Central Indiana. Visit www.uwci.org to learn more.  


About GEICO, Title Sponsor for ELEVATE: GEICO (Government Employees Insurance Company), the second-largest auto insurer in the U.S., was founded in 1936 and insures more than 28 million vehicles. Homeowners, renters, condo, flood, identity theft and life coverages are written through non-affiliated insurance companies and are secured through the GEICO Insurance Agency, Inc. Commercial auto and personal umbrella coverages are also available. Visit www.geico.com for a quote or to learn more.  


GEICO, a proud corporate partner of United Way, was selected as this year’s winner of the Exceptional Employer Award at the 2019 TechPoint Mira Awards for its commitment to hiring and developing talent, cultivating workspaces and workplace culture, and deliberately increasing diversity. 



Jennifer Hashem | Public and Community Relations Manager 

office: 317-921-1313 | cell: 563-271-4385