By Samantha Joseph
MARTIN COUNTY - An award by the United Way of Martin County looks to reward businesses that employ ethical standards, get involved in community development and work in partnership with their staff and associates.
The Business of Character award celebrates companies that "demonstrate good character in the business community," and operate under guiding principles that include trustworthiness, respect, responsibility, fairness, caring and good citizenship.
Organizers are inviting nominations by Aug. 15 and will select six finalists and one winner to honor at a luncheon in September.
The award is part of United Way's Character Counts program, which seeks to engender ethical behavior.
"We know there are a lot of businesses that really have good work ethics, so we're trying to show there's a lot of good in Martin County," said Holly Laiben, director of Character Counts.
"We want to get those businesses recognized for doing those good things that they do."
Now in its second year, the award is part of United Way's community-wide Character Counts effort, which has been popular among the nonprofit's children's offerings.
The idea, organizers said, is that the same principles that help develop ethical children also have business applications.
"It all goes hand-in-hand," said Ms. Laiben, who is also working on inviting nominees for an "employee pillar of character" award to recognize workers with high standards and excellent work ethics.
Last year, organizers acknowledged Mark Lively and his wife, LaDonna, from Lively Orthodontists, for philanthropic work, staff-development programs and commitment to causes that benefit area children.
"Everything we do, whether it is in business or individuals, we try to be good role models for kids so they grow up to be good adults. How are we going to have good citizens if we are not modeling it?" Ms. Laiben asked.
"Recognizing businesses for doing good things is just one way of attaining that particular goal."
Application forms are available from www.CHARACTERCOUNTS.net. To apply, email them to firstname.lastname@example.org, or fax them to (772) 220-7772.
The forms can also be sent to Holly Laiben, CHARACTER COUNTS!, c/o United Way of Martin County, 10 S.E. Central Parkway, Suite 101, Stuart, FL 34994. For more information, call (772) 283-4800.