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2018 Slumberland “Making a Difference” Award – Polar Plunge

The National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, Upper Midwest Chapter is proud to recognize excellence in video production and storytelling.  Our corporate partner, Slumberland, is all about making lives better.  To honor the spirit of both organizations, we present the Slumberland “Making a Difference” Award.  

logo_4-colorTelevision & video has the power with one story to change one life.  That’s why many of us got into the industry.  This award honors the measurable changing of someone’s life or lives in our communities with one piece of video storytelling.  Nominations are accepted from the performing, creative, technical or administrative roles within the industry. Neither nominators nor nominees need to be members of NATAS.  This is a very special plaque award recipients will receive at the 19th Annual Upper Midwest Regional Emmy® Gala at the Radisson Blu Hotel at the Mall of America in Bloomington, MN on October 8th, 2018.

2018 Slumberland “Making A Difference” Award Recipient


Ian Leonard-Chief Meteorologist, FOX9 KMSP-TV

KMSP-TV promoted, broadcasted, supported and—you got it—Plunged with the Minnesota Special Olympics!

FOX 9’s Chief Meteorologist, Ian Leonard, has been heavily involved with the Polar Plunge for the nearly ten years. He’s supported this wonderfully crazy event in more ways than one. Whether he’s convincing people to sign up for the Plunge during his weather forecast or high-fiving them at one of the many metro-located sites, Ian’s always sure to be associated with Plunge somehow. With his contagious positive personality, Ian is a key contributor to the Plunge who has helped to make it the incredible event that it is today.

Whether it be advocating individual Plunges during weather segments, broadcasting Plunge PSAs and promotions, showcasing our wonderfully brave Plungers in a TV spot, volunteering at many of the below freezing Plunge sites or even Plunging along, FOX 9 has always shown a deep commitment to the Minnesota Special Olympics Polar Plunge.

Outside of his role as FOX 9’s Chief Meteorologist, Ian forms a Plunge team on his personal time, comprised of family, friends, co-workers and Special Olympics supporters alike. This group, made up of more than 40 individuals, takes the icy cold dip together at the Minneapolis Polar Plunge every year. In 2018, the team raised $62,281.

This type of campaign that FOX 9 produced for the Polar Plunge helps to maximize Minnesota Special Olympics events which, in turn, supports more than 8,200 Special Olympics Minnesota athletes across the state. During the 2018 Polar Plunge season, more than 13,000 participants raised $3.6 million dollars for Special Olympics Minnesota. This would not have been possible without the support and partnership with the FOX 9 team.

The great promotional work FOX 9 has provided to the Polar Plunge and Special Olympics Minnesota has helped to raise funds that have supported more than 16,000 individuals within SOMN’s Young Athletes, Unified Schools and traditional Special Olympics sports.