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Arkansas Sheriffs Youth Ranch Takes Top $10K Prize

GRAND RAPIDS, MI. - The Acton Institute's 2007 Samaritan Award winner for outstanding private, voluntary charitable service is awarded to the Arkansas Sheriffs' Youth Ranches, Inc. located in Batesville, Ark. By providing a home for children who have been abused or neglected, the Sheriffs Ranch underscores the immeasurable value of charities that are local, personal, and accountable. The Samaritan Award includes a $10,000 cash prize awarded by the Acton Institute.

In an effort to shed a light on outstanding charities who would have otherwise gone unnoticed on the national stage, the Acton Institute established the Samaritan Award in its present format in 2004. Every year it unearths a charity, usually one that receives no more than 10 percent in government funding, and recognize their efforts through a cash prize and award presentation. The Samaritan Award is based on several criteria, including financial stewardship, evaluation of results, and the incorporation of faith into programming.

After receiving more than 300 applications this year, Acton selected Arkansas Sheriffs' Youth Ranches, Inc. as the grand prize winner, two $1,000 awardees and 10 honorees.

The Arkansas Sheriffs' Youth Ranches are a mostly privately funded organization that began 30 years ago when a group of Arkansas sheriffs saw the need to provide a home for children who, through no fault of their own, were left without a home and were often victims of abuse or neglect. The children, mostly between the ages of 6 and 17, participate in the ranch programs and activities and attend school.

The two $1,000 prize winners are Citizens for Community Values: A Way Out Victims Assistance Program in Memphis, TN and Mile High Ministries in Denver, CO. Citizens for Community Values helps women and children who were victims of sexual exploitation and pornography. They help them to restore their decency and quality of life. Mile High Ministries is a faith-based Christian organization that helps homeless families move to long-term and stable housing.

Other honorees include: Cedar Tree Institute, Marquette, MI; Christian Women's Job Corps of Middle TN, Nashville, TN; Happy Hands Education Center, Inc: School for Deaf Children, Tulsa, OK; Interfaith Housing Coalition, Dallas, TX; Knox County Christian Women's Job Corps, Knoxville, TN; Mariners Church Lighthouse Ministries, Irvine, CA; Neighborhood Christian Centers, Memphis, TN; St. Francis Center of Redwood City, Redwood City, CA; Victory Trade School, Springfield, MO; and Vision Youthz, San Francisco, CA.

All applicants and honorees will be included in the Samaritan Guide, Acton Institute's online directory of more than 1,000 private charities. Users of the guide can access detailed information about each of them at

About the Acton Institute

With its commitment to pursue a society that is free and virtuous, the Acton Institute for the Study of Religion and Liberty is a leading voice in the national environmental and social policy debate. The Acton Institute is uniquely positioned to comment on the sound economic and moral foundations necessary to sustain humane environmental and social policies.

The Acton Institute is a nonprofit, ecumenical think tank located in Grand Rapids, Michigan. The Institute works internationally to "promote a free and virtuous society characterized by individual liberty and sustained by religious principles."

Interviews with Institute staff may be arranged by contacting John Couretas at (616) 454-3080 or at