Ds Scholarship

Better Business Bureau seeks nominations for top ethics awards, student scholarships

The Better Business Bureau serving Southeast Tennessee and Northwest Georgia is accepting nominations for the 2022 Torch Awards for Ethics and encourages community members to help identify companies that should be recognized with the BBB’s top award for ethics.

The Torch Award honors companies and organizations whose leaders demonstrate a high level of personal character and ensure that the organization’s practices meet the highest standards of ethics, and consequently generate trust. These companies generate a high level of trust among their employees, customers and their communities. The award embodies BBB’s mission of advancing marketplace trust.

Once a company is nominated, BBB will ask each business or organization to provide information that documents their commitment to integrity and trust. The judges will be looking for companies that can demonstrate:

Character: How does the organization’s leadership communicate their values ​​and commitment to integrity with their leadership team, employees, customers and stakeholders in a consistent way?

Culture: How does the organization work to build a culture of trust and empower employees to help shape that culture?

Customers: How does the organization ensure honesty and transparency in their relationships with customers?

Community: How does the organization contribute to the community and/or empower employees to support community service activities?

BBB’s Torch Award is open to for-profit, 501(c)(3) and 501(c)(6) non-profit organizations of all sizes that are physically located within BBB’s twenty-one county service area. The counties include Bledsoe, Bradley, Catoosa, Chattooga, Dade, Fannin, Floyd, Gilmer, Gordon, Grundy, Hamilton, Marion, McMinn, Meigs, Murray, Polk, Rhea, Sequatchie, Van Buren, Walker and Whitfield.

BBB uses the following eligibility guidelines:

* Companies and organizations must have been in business for three years;

* For profit and 501(c)(6) applicants must have a “B” rating with BBB;

* 501(c)(3) non-profit applicants must complete the Charitable Standards Evaluation process and meet all BBB Standards for Charity Accountability; BBB Accreditation is not required;

* Free from evidence that the company has failed to meet all financial obligations;

* Local & State government agencies are not eligible to submit an application.

A panel of judges representing local academia and the business community will review and score all eligible entries. Companies will be judged in one of four categories based on their number of employees. A separate category is used to consider entries from all charity and nonprofit organizations.

BBB offers an online nomination form at bbb.org/chattanooga or nominations can be emailed to BBB at tngabbb@chattanooga.bbb.org. You can also contact BBB at (423) 266-6144 to submit a nomination.

BBB will need the name, address and contact information for each nominated business or nonprofit, and there is no limit to the number of nominations that can be submitted by an individual. The nomination deadline is March 5th, however the earlier that a nomination is received, the more time a nominated business or organization will have to prepare their entry.

Winners of the Torch Awards and those earning honorable mentions will be recognized at BBB’s Torch Awards Luncheon in May.

Last year the judges selected First Volunteer Bank, Roper Corporation, Mortgage South of Tennessee, TJ Snow Company and Rheaco Service as BBB’s 2021 Torch Award winners.

First Volunteer Bank also competed in the 2021 International Torch Award for Ethics and was given an honorable mention by the International Association of BBBs (IABBB) – one of just seven companies to receive recognition. In 2020, Walden Security won one of IABBB’s International Torch Awards.

BBB will also recognize “Student of Integrity” scholarship winners, who are selected from dozens of entries from area high school seniors. Students are judged for their community involvement, leadership and an essay on the importance of ethics in business and our community.

In 2021, BBB awarded 10 scholarships, each worth $1,000 each. For more information about the scholarship opportunity, students should check with their student counselor for details. Students can also email tngabbb@chattanooga.bbb.org or call BBB at 423-266-6144 to get more information.

Michele Mason is president of the Better Business Bureau in Chattanooga

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