Women’s Fund announces JoAnn Dutton Award winner

The Women’s Fund of the Richland County Foundation recently announced the JoAnn Dutton Award winner during its annual grant awards luncheon November 8. The award celebrates the vital contributions that women make in all sectors in the community through volunteer service. The award honors women who have devoted a significant amount of time and energy in a meaningful way to local charitable organizations.

This year’s winner is Valerie Rust. She is devoted to address drug addiction in Richland County. She is the driving force behind a nonprofit organization called the Starfish Project of Richland County.

The organization was created by concerned community members to provide funds to enable individuals with a wide-variety of life-controlling problems such as drug addition to participate in the Teen Challenge Program and obtain a healthy life of recovery and spirituality. They are dedicated to changing our community, one life at a time.

Through Starfish, this community leader has touched the lives of hundreds of people addicted to drugs and their families. She works collaboratively with many organizations to help drug addicts.

Besides fundraising and helping those addicted to drugs, Rust organizes many drug addiction awareness activities including “Richland County Redemption” and the local “National Overdose Awareness Day.” These events have received special recognition from the Ohio Senate and the Ohio House of Representatives.

She and her husband started a local support group for friends and family of addicted individuals called “Two or More” that meets weekly at Mosaic Church in Mansfield.

She is a volunteer Addiction Advocate for the Richland County Opiate Response Team.

She also serves on the board of the Upper Room Ministries, a nonprofit that works with local at-risk youth and provides them with a place of refuge.

The JoAnn Dutton Award is sponsored by the Women's Fund and was named in honor of JoAnn Dutton, former executive director of the Mansfield YWCA.

The winner is selected by a committee of Women’s Fund and community members. The criteria includes leadership roles and the impact the person made at a nonprofit organization. 

Sponsored Content

Sponsored Content