Two nonprofit groups that work to improve the lives of New Orleans children have received donations of $10,000 from Zurich North America in tribute to their leaders’ inspirational work.

Zurich Classic Community Impact Awards were presented to Melissa Sawyer, co-founder and executive director of the Youth Empowerment Project, and to Gerald Williams, co-founder and CEO of Directed Initiatives for Youth/Excite! All Stars.

The awards were presented in connection with the Zurich Classic PGA Tour golf tournament, held April 23-26 at TPC Louisiana just outside New Orleans. The award recipients — part of the Fore!Kids Foundation group of supported charities — make significant contributions to building resilient and sustainable communities through their inspirational leadership and ability to enact positive change.

Sawyer helped launch YEP in 2004 and has guided it to become the largest organization addressing the comprehensive needs of court-involved and out-of-school New Orleans youth. In 2014, the organization served more than 1,100 kids through seven local facilities.

Williams and his wife founded Directed Initiatives for Youth/Excite! All Stars in 2007 to improve the lives of New Orleans’ youth through summer programs, year-round enrichment opportunities and athletics.

Since the organization’s beginning, the number of participants has increased from 25 to 200, with another 100 kids on a waiting list.