Jefferson Awards for Public Service
|Industry||Public Service, Non-Profit|
|Founder||Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis
Robert Taft, Jr.
The Jefferson Awards Foundation was created in 1972 by the American Institute for Public Service. The Jefferson Awards are given at both national and local levels. 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.
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:
- Douglas C. Adams
- George L. Ball
- Alex Beard
- Hon. Peter G. Bourne
- Cynthia Clay Briggs
- Ellen Burstyn
- Andrea Cherny
- Cris Collinsworth
- Chris Coons
- Tatiana B. Copeland
- Joyce Cowin
- Kirk Douglas
- Michael Douglas
- Albert R. Dowden
- Giselle Fernandez
- Harold E. Ford, Jr.
- William H. Frist, M.D.
- Patrick J. Geraghty
- Whoopi Goldberg
- Earl Graves, Sr.
- Paula M. Grigsby
- Teresa Heinz
- Roger Horchow
- Mary King
- Thomas B. King
- Peter Klein
- Rita Benson LeBlanc
- Alex Lopez-Negrete
- Ronnie Lott
- Trent Lott
- Richard Lugar
- Patricia M. Lyons
- Paul Maslansky
- Peter Max
- Mitch McConnell
- Bill Milliken
- Barry Munitz
- Alexandra Nechita
- David P. Nicoli
- Doug Poretz
- Harry Reid
- Joseph P. Riley, Jr.
- Elliott Roosevelt, III
- Jack Russi
- Robert Sakowitz
- Sam Salman
- Barbara Saltzman
- Joseph N. Sanberg
- Hillary Beard Shafer
- Mark G. Shafir
- Neil Simon
- Lesley Stahl
- Kathleen Kennedy Townsend
- Cynthia Ekberg Tsai
- Jeffrey A. Turi
- R. Emmett Tyrrell, Jr.
- Cicely Tyson
- Troy D. Vincent, Sr.
- Chris Wallace
- Harris Wofford
- Jeffrey P. Yarbro
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.
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.
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.
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. 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
- "Jefferson Awards". kbtx.com. 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.
- "Capital Region Jefferson Awards honor local volunteers". San Francisco: Hearst Communications. Archived from the original on 28 May 2011. Retrieved 28 May 2011.
- 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.
- "Dolores Huerta Receives National Award". Huffington Post. 20 June 2013.
- "Courage, Compassion & America's Best Kept Secret". Huffington Post. 11 June 2014.
- "When Making a Difference: Conversations with Lauren Bush Lauren of FEED". Huffington Post. 28 June 2015.
- "Here's what we learned after spending five minutes with Kid President". USA Today.