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About the Torch Awards

BBB Center for Ethics is working to equip tomorrow’s employees today. Our passion for a better marketplace is what drives us, and we won’t stop until we’ve completed our mission: to better our community by providing ethics education, direction, and recognition to employers and employees of today and tomorrow. The Torch Awards for Marketplace Ethics is more than just one of the programs designed to accomplish our mission; it’s the Center’s pinnacle event. With each year’s Torch Awards, we set out to set better organizations apart. It goes beyond ethics recognition . . . because we believe celebrating the best in our community’s businesses and nonprofits make us all better. In order to be named a Torch Award recipient, applicants must first subject themselves to intense self-evaluation of their practices. This application guides applicants through that process and helps them collect the information judges need to name the next outstanding class of Torch Award recipients.


How to Complete a Torch Awards Application

Use the electronic form to submit your Torch Awards for Marketplace Ethics application. Hard copies of applications will not be accepted. We suggest typing your answers in a Word Doc. first then copy and paste your response to each question in the space allotted. Your organization may not exceed the space provided for each question, and character allotments for each question have been provided. This form can be saved and resumed for your convenience. Just follow the directions to email the link to yourself when prompted.

Judging Criteria

Business/nonprofit applicants for the Torch Awards for Marketplace Ethics will be judged based on their ethical practices, not their business savvy, according to the following guidelines:

  • High ethical standards of behavior towards clients, volunteers, donors, employees, and the communities in which they provide services;

  • ethical practices demonstrated surrounding their client service relationships;

  • long-standing history/reputation of ethical practices in the marketplace;

  • acknowledgment of ethical marketplace practices by industry peers and in the communities they serve;

  • ethical policies that are effectively communicated to employees;

  • ethics policies that demonstrate a long-standing history of ethical practices and accountability in the community; and

  • training programs that assist employees in carrying out established ethics policies.


Judging Process

Applications are evaluated by an independent panel of judges selected from the business, nonprofit, and academic communities. The judging process is as follows:

1.  BBB reviews each application to ensure the Minimum Submission Requirements are satisfied, that the applicant has completed the Torch Awards Entry Form & Contact Sheet, and answered all Application Questions.

2.  Applicant’s answers - exactly as they appear in their electronic submission - are sent to the judges for preliminary review and scoring.

3.  The judges meet with an independent facilitator to review their preliminary scores and to discuss the applications. The judges make all Torch Awards Honoree and Recipient selections.

Minimum Submission Requirements

For Businesses

  • Must have a B rating or higher, including at the Headquarters location if applicable, with BBB

  • BBB files may not contain any concerns about the business’ marketplace practices, and there may not be any concerns about the business’ industry. Although BBB Accreditation is not a requirement, the business must uphold BBB’s Standards of Trust. In addition, if the business has been involved in major government lawsuits or government actions involving marketplace transactions in the past three years, this information must be disclosed as part of your entry and will be considered by the judges.

  • Business applicants must have a physical location in BBB Cincinnati’s 20-county service area that has been in operation for at least 3 years and meet all applicable BBB Standards at the time of application.


For Nonprofits

  • Nonprofit applicants must be 501(c)(3) BBB Accredited Charities that meet all 20 Standards for Charity Accountability at the time of applying. Applicants may be participants in the BBB Accredited Charity Seal Program, but are not required to participate in this optional program to submit a Torch Awards application.

  • The applicant’s most recent Charity Review (i.e., report to the public) must have been issued by BBB Cincinnati, the BBB Wise Giving Alliance, or another local BBB within the past 18 months (BBB Charity Reviews are performed every 2 years).

  • Nonprofit applicants must have a physical location in BBB Cincinnati’s 20-county service area that has been in operation for at least 3 years and meet all applicable BBB Standards at the time of application.


BBB Cincinnati’s 20-county service area

Ohio: Adams, Brown, Butler, Clermont, Clinton, Gallia, Hamilton, Highland, Jackson, Pike, Lawrence, Scioto, and Warren counties

Kentucky: Boone, Campbell, and Kenton counties

Indiana: Dearborn, Ohio, Ripley, and Switzerland counties

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