Jefferson Awards for Public Service

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Jefferson Awards for Public Service
Industry Public Service, Non-Profit
Founded 1972
Founder Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis
Robert Taft, Jr.
Samuel Beard
Headquarters Wilmington, Delaware

The Jefferson Awards Foundation was created in 1972 by the American Institute for Public Service.[1][2] The Jefferson Awards are given at both national and local levels.[3] Local winners are ordinary people who do extraordinary things without expectation of recognition. Local winners come from national networks of "Media Partners" and "Corporate Champions", and from the associated "Students In Action", Lead360 and GlobeChangers programs. The Jefferson Awards Foundation is led by its Executive Director, Hillary Schafer, its President, Sam Beard, and its Chairman, Joseph N. Sanberg, in conjunction with the Foundation's Board of Governors.


JAF channels the power of public service. Like their namesake Thomas Jefferson, they believe service inspires passion in individuals and lasting solutions in communities and the nation. Their programs support service – by delivering the right tools for engagement, empowering anyone to generate maximum, measurable impact and by using celebration to inspire.

They train and activate Americans to be leaders in schools, communities, workplaces, the country and the world. With celebration, they say thank you. They elevate the stories of America’s best citizens, and we inspire all to take greater action.

National awards

Celebrating giving back to the community, the nation and in some cases the world, the annual Jefferson Awards were bestowed on 15 recipients from throughout the country whose lives, careers and volunteer activities embody the finest examples of public service in a range of human endeavor.

The awards are presented each year during a ceremony in Washington, D.C., during the third week in June, where a broad array of honorees are recognized – from high-profile individuals who have dedicated the better part of their lives to public service to celebrated professional athletes to largely unheralded community-based volunteers. Also recognized are organizations – companies that represent the pinnacle in corporate citizenship and schools that best reflect the Jeffersonian ideals of citizen involvement.


In 1972, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, U.S. Senator Robert Taft, Jr., and Samuel Beard founded the Jefferson Awards for Public Service to establish a Nobel Prize for public and community service. The Jefferson Awards is led by the Board of Selectors who choose the national winners and oversee the activities of the organization. Co-founder Sam Beard is currently the President & CEO.

Jefferson Awards Foundation

The Jefferson Awards Foundation is the country’s longest standing and most prestigious organization dedicated to activating and celebrating public service. Through their programs they train and empower individuals to serve and lead in their communities, amplifying their impact through our vast network of media partners, mentors and volunteers.The Jefferson Awards Foundation is a non-profit organization that "recognizes, inspires and activates volunteerism and public service in communities, workplaces and schools across America." The Institute was founded in 1972 by Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, U.S. Senator Robert Taft, Jr. and Sam Beard.

Board of Selectors

Board of Selectors include:



In 1977, the Jefferson Awards began a partnership with the media. They reached out to newspapers, radio and television stations in local communities and asked them to join in a unique partnership to highlight "Unsung Heroes." It is claimed that this is America’s largest media partnership promoting grassroots volunteers. The Jefferson Awards has over 125 partners in more than 70 communities. They reach over 100 million Americans. The value of the print and air space exceeds $150 million per year.

The media reaches out to the public seeking nominations. A local selection committee picks the winners who are then honored on air or in print. One local volunteer represents each community at the National Jefferson Awards Ceremonies in Washington, DC in June.

In 2006, they began working with business journals to honor outstanding companies benefiting local communities.

Some current media partners include: WGAL, The Star-Ledger, Times Union, The Columbus Dispatch, WBNS, The Toledo Blade, The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, WJAR, and KPIX.

Corporations, colleges and universities

In 2006, the Jefferson Awards began inviting corporations, colleges and universities, local governments and non-profits to become Jefferson Awards Champions. Champions recognize outstanding employee volunteers and encourage other employees and retirees to volunteer.

These are cause-marketing partnerships based on bottom-line considerations. Champions join the Jefferson Awards to create a co-branded program that helps them recruit new employees, retain existing employees, and build teamwork and customer loyalty.

The list of Champions includes: Eat'n Park Hospitality Group, Inc., Allstate Insurance, Verizon, Coca-Cola, Aramark, Deloitte, Pacific Gas & Electric Company, Eli Lilly, National Grid, Cincinnati Children's Hospital, Adobe, AstraZeneca, the University of Toledo, Conseco, the State of Delaware, ReedSmith, Exelon, RCI, Macy’s, Heinz, Highmark, and others.

Each Champion presents a Jefferson Award to an outstanding employee volunteer every month. One outstanding volunteer and the program manager are honored at the National Jefferson Awards Ceremonies in Washington, DC in June.

National organizations

To help further the goal of reaching over 3 million students, the Jefferson Awards has formed partnerships with national organizations to help initiate service and pass volunteerism onto the next generation.

National partnerships include: All Stars Helping Kids, Communities in Schools, Health Corps, UGIVE, Ways to Help, Girls on the Run, NFL Player Engagement, Rustic Pathways, and Build-a-Bear Workshop.

Youth Leadership Partners include: Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association and Deloitte.

United States Senate

The Jefferson Awards has a formal partnership with the United States Senate as a result of U.S. Senate Resolution 461, passed June 2, 2006.[4] Senate sponsors included Joseph Biden, Richard Durbin, Trent Lott, and Richard Lugar.

The Jefferson Awards created a National Report on Volunteerism and presented it to the U.S. Senate on Tuesday, June 22, 2010.

For over 35 years, the Jefferson Awards has been a key national leader in recognizing and encouraging volunteerism. Through a unique network of Board Members, past recipients, Media Partners, Corporate Champions, Youth Service Partners, youth service programs, and an increasing use of the social media and modern communications to highlight "ordinary people performing extraordinary service."

The Jefferson Awards used these assets and outreach to make a Specific focused annual report to the U.S. Senate and the White House on volunteerism and community building.

List of all past national winners


U.S. Senator John Heinz Award for Outstanding Public Service By An Elected or Appointed Official

S. Roger Horchow Award for Outstanding Public Service by A Private Citizen

Outstanding Public Service Benefiting the Disadvantaged

Samuel S. Beard Award for Outstanding Public Service by An Individual 35 Years or Under

Outstanding Public Service by an Athlete

Lifetime Achievement in Public Service

Outstanding National or Global Service by a Young American Twenty-Five Years or Under

Outstanding Public Service by a Corporation

1973 Henry Kissinger John W. Gardner Cesar Chavez Joseph A. Yablonski
1974 Elliot Richardson Ralph Nader Thomas Szasz Maynard Jackson
1975 Peter W. Rodino Jr. Katharine Graham Rev. Leon Sullivan R. Emmett Tyrrell, Jr.
1976 Arthur F. Burns, Alan Greenspan, William E. Simon John D. Rockefeller, III Rev. Theodore Hesburgh Vilma S. Martinez
1977 Michael Mansfield Art Buchwald Howard Rusk Max Cleland
1978 Hubert H. Humphrey Paul Mellon Jerry Lewis Bernard Powell
1979 Kenneth Gibson, William Donald Schaefer, Coleman A. Young Howard Jarvis Jesse Jackson Denis Hayes
1980 Cyrus R. Vance Norman Borlaug Allard Lowenstein US Olympic Hockey Team
1981 Warren Christopher Walter Cronkite Marva Collins David Stockman
1982 Howard H. Baker Bob Hope Claude Pepper Henry Cisneros
1983 Paul A. Volcker Kirk Douglas Helen Hayes Jan Scruggs
1984 William H. Webster J. Peter Grace Maude E. Callen Sally Ride
1985 James A. Baker, III Lee Iacocca Betty Ford Trevor Ferrell

Mary Beth Tober

1986 George P. Shultz H. Ross Perot Eugene Lang Robert Hayes
1987 Justice William J. Brennan Irving Brown Ginetta Sagan Steven Jobs
1988 C. Everett Koop James W. Rouse Fr. Bruce Ritter Marlee Matlin
1989 Paul Nitze Leo Cherne Kimi Gray Marc Buoniconti
1990 General Colin Powell Jimmy Carter Jaime Escalante Anne Donahue
1991 Dick Cheney Robert C. Macauley Marian Wright Edelman Wendy Kopp
1992 Justice Thurgood Marshall Faye Wattleton Eunice Shriver Michael Brown and Alan Khazei
1993 Carla Hills James Burke Arthur Ashe Mary Taylor
1994 George Mitchell, Bob Michel Jim and Sarah Brady Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward Wayne Meisel
1995 Justice Harry Blackmun Walter H. Annenberg Barbara Bush Stacey Bess
1996 Sam Nunn Brian Lamb Rosalynn Carter Andrea Jaeger
1997 Robert Dole Nancy Brinker Oseola McCarty Michael Danziger
1998 Robert Rubin Oprah Winfrey Thaddeus S. Lott, Sr. Bobby Jindal
1999 Daniel Patrick Moynihan Elizabeth Dole Millard Fuller Anthony Shriver
2000 John Glenn Elayne Bennett Benjamin Carson, M.D. Faith Hill
2001 Madeleine Albright Ted Benna Dorothy Height Lance Armstrong
2002 Rudolph Giuliani Lilly Tartikoff Bill and Melinda Gates Chad Pregracke Ray Chambers
2003 Condoleezza Rice Anne Douglas Mathilde Krim Matthew Meyer
2004 Justice Sandra Day O'Connor Ken Burns Rev. Fred L. Shuttlesworth Kristen Lodal and Brian Kreiter
2005 Lee H. Hamilton, Thomas H. Kean Vartan Gregorian Dave Pelzer Benjamin Shuldiner
2006 John Lewis Michael Feinberg and David Levin I. King Jordan Peyton Manning
2007 Richard Daley Jeffrey Sachs Geoffrey Canada Lindsay Hyde
2008 Joe Lieberman Edward Jagen Darell Hammond Ocean Robbins
2009 Edward Kennedy Greg Mortenson, Pamela Hawley William E. Milliken Jennifer Staple
2010 Michael R. Bloomberg, Cory A. Booker Paul Farmer, M.D. Jim Gibbons Tad Skylar Agoglia Nnamdi Asomugha, Tyrus Thomas, Curtis Gunderson, Stuart Holden, Dwight Howard, Dirk Nowitzki, Justin Tuck, Lauryn Williams, Venus Williams, Ryan Zimmerman Marlo Thomas[5] Ellie Duke, Katherine Foronda, Ted Gonder, Dallas Jessup, Emma Lindle, Tristan Love, Jessie Mintz, Zoe Ridolfi-Starr, Joe Tigani, Kelly Voigt
2011 Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg Bill Shore Jerry M. Reinsdorf Brittany and Robbie Bergquist Drew Brees, Tamika Catchings, Stephen Curry, Warrick Dunn, Brad Davis, Ernie Els, Ryan Hall, Paul Pierce, CC Sabathia, Brian Westbrook Sicomac Elementary School - Student Council, Sashin Choksh, Morgan Hartley, Greg Nance, Nick Hebert, Patrick Ip, Talia Leman, Sarah Nuss, Mordecai Scott, Jessica Singer, Tyrone Stevenson, Vanessa Strickland Prudential Financial, Starkey Laboratories, Inc.
2012 David H. Petraeus Harry Connick, Jr. and Branford Marsalis Richard Proudfit[6] Amber Lynn Coffman Marty Lyons, Troy Vincent [7] Robert De Niro Pfizer[8]
2013 Tom Coburn, Patrick Leahy[9] Elie Wiesel[10] Dolores Huerta[11] Neilesh Patel[12] Mark Ein[13] General Electric[14]
2014 Gabrielle Giffords[15] Charles Best,[16] | Andrew Shue[17] Pedro Jose Greer[18] Jack Andraka, Ryan Patrick[19] Mariano Rivera,[20] James Thrash[21] Tom Brokaw[22] Maria Keller,[23] Lillian Pravda Weyerhaeuser
2015 Sonia Sotomayor[24] Jeffrey Skoll,[25] | Ivan Hageman[26] Adam Braun[27] Lauren Bush Lauren[28] Fred Jackson,[29] Robby Novak & Brad Montague of Kid President[30] Corinne Hindes & Katrine Kirsebom of Warm Winters [31] Target Corporation[32]

See also


  1. "Jefferson Awards". Atlanta, Georgia: Gray Television. 2011. Archived from the original on 28 May 2011. Retrieved 28 May 2011. The American Institute for Public Service created the Jefferson Awards in 1972, honoring those who have dedicated time to public service.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. "Capital Region Jefferson Awards honor local volunteers". San Francisco: Hearst Communications. Archived from the original on 28 May 2011. Retrieved 28 May 2011.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. Harris, Dianne (2007), "Chapter 3: Where to find grants & types of grants", The complete guide to writing effective & award winning grants (Google book), Ocala, Florida: Atlantic Publishing Company, p. 84, ISBN 978-1-60138-046-3, OCLC 182779620, retrieved 28 May 2011, For example, the Jefferson Awards for Public Service are sponsored by media outlets, and awards are given at the local and national levels. The award consists of a specially designed medal and media publicity for the cause of the recipient.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  11. "Dolores Huerta Receives National Award". Huffington Post. 20 June 2013.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  15. "Courage, Compassion & America's Best Kept Secret". Huffington Post. 11 June 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  28. "When Making a Difference: Conversations with Lauren Bush Lauren of FEED". Huffington Post. 28 June 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  30. "Here's what we learned after spending five minutes with Kid President". USA Today.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>