New York, Oct. 01, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- On Thursday, September 30, 2021, Multiplying Good held its virtual 49th Annual Jefferson Awards program. The organization honored the public service work of Joan Ganz Cooney, Co-founder of Sesame Street, Dr. Anthony Fauci, JUST Goods, DeAndre Brown, Executive Director of Lifeline to Success, Margot Bellon & Isabel Wang, Founders of Bridging Tech, and Jess Ladd, Founder of Callisto, as well as, youth and local grassroots, unsung heroes who have made an extraordinary impact on others through service.
"For nearly 50 years, the Jefferson Awards has elevated the good that is happening all around us," said Hillary Schafer, CEO of Multiplying Good. "When we celebrate service on our biggest stage, those stories echo across the nation, reaching thousands of Americans and inspiring them into action.
CBS Evening News anchor, Norah O'Donnell co-hosted the event with Mark Mullins of WRTV, Sharon Chin of KPIX, and Dean Stephens of WCIV. The full show is available for viewing at https://www.multiplyinggood.org.
DeAndre Brown, Executive Director of Lifeline to Success, received the Jefferson Award for Outstanding Public Service Benefiting the Disadvantaged. "Working with the formerly incarcerated population means working with individuals who have been silenced and in a lot of ways invisible," explained Brown. "As much as this award is a celebration of what I've done, it confirms that more people see the contributions our clients are having in their communities."
Joan Ganz Cooney, Co-founder of Sesame Street, was presented with the Award of Lifetime Achievement in Public Service in recognition of her work in helping bridge the gap of early education within underserved communities and young children. Previous recipients of the award include Marlo Thomas, Harry Belafonte, and Billie Jean King, among others.
Anthony Fauci, M.D. received the U.S. Senator John Heinz Award for Public Service by an Elected or Appointed Official for his decades-long career as the Director of NIAID. In his role, Dr. Fauci has overseen an extensive research portfolio of basic and applied research to prevent, diagnose, and treat diseases such as HIV/AIDS, respiratory Infections, diarrheal diseases, tuberculosis, and malaria. "I believe I have a personal responsibility to make a positive impact on society, " state Dr. Fauci. "I've tried to accomplish this goal by choosing a life of public service."
Kara Rubin, Vice President, Brand & Product Strategy, accepted the Jefferson Award for Outstanding by a Corporation on behalf of JUST Goods. Co-founded by Drew Fitzgerald and Jaden Smith, JUST empowers people to make the world cleaner and healthier by providing sustainable products, that reduce the impact humans have on the planet.
The Samuel S. Beard Award for Outstanding Public Service by an Individual(s) 35 & Under was presented to Margot Bellon & Isabel Wang, founders of Bridging Tech, a nonprofit organization dedicated to bridging the digital divide. "When we set out to make access to technology more equitable, winning an award was the furthest thing from our minds," Bellon and Wang said. "It feels amazing to have our work recognized, and we hope it helps bring more attention to the inequities so many families experiencing homelessness face when accessing technology."
Jess Ladd, founder of Callisto, received the S. Roger Horchow Award for Outstanding Public Service by a Private Citizen for developing technology to combat sexual assault, support survivors, and advance justice. The award is named in honor of the famed American retailer and Broadway producer who died in 2020. Horchow was a longtime supporter of Multiplying Good and the Jefferson Awards. Previous recipients of the award include Oprah Winfrey, Harry Belafonte, and Billie Jean King, among others.
In addition to honoring national figures, Multiplying Good gave awards to individuals who participate in its Media Partner, Recognition, and Youth programs. Five community leaders received the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Award for Outstanding Public Service Benefiting Local Communities. The recipients were nominated for the top award by their respective media outlets.
Rusty Boruff (WQAD, Moline, Illinois), was honored for founding One Eighty, a nonprofit to help people turn their lives around, after reshaping his own life following addiction, homelessness, and incarceration.
Martin Casado & Mariel Triggs (KPIX/ KCBS, San Francisco, California), founders of MuralNet, were honored for their work in bringing reliable high-speed internet to more than a third of tribal lands nationwide with little to no connectivity.
Katie Nzekwu (Rotary Club of Cincinnati, Cincinnati Enquirer, WKRC, Cincinnati, Ohio), co-founded Found Village, and is on a mission to equip foster youth with the tool needed to reach self-actualization.
Toni Short (The News Journal, Wilmington, Delaware), was honored for her work founding Lighthouse for Broken Wings and her work with those who have been impacted by homelessness.
Miamie Sleep (KCWY, Casper, Wyoming), owner of Mimi's House, a youth homes for girls and one for boys, was honored for her work with homeless teens by providing them with a safe haven and teaching essential life skills.
One individual received the Jefferson Award for Outstanding Public Service by an Employee.
Kimber Nicoletti-Martinez (Purdue Univesity) is an advocate for America Farm Workers and their families and founded the Multicultural Efforts to end Sexual Assault (MESA) and expanded the work to offer community-based solutions for healthier communities free of violence.
Multiplying Good honored four youth service teams for service work conducted as part of Multiplying Good's Students In Action (SIA) program. After competing in Multiplying Good's Public Service Pitch Day against other SIA teams in their respective communities, the winning teams were eligible to receive either a Bronze, Silver, or Gold Award.
Fishers High School, Fishers, Indiana, tied for the Bronze Award for their work on racial equity and the development of the podcast "You Broke It, Let's Fix It" that has opened the conversation between students and their community.
Cooper High School, Minneapolis, Minnesota, tied for the Bronze Award for their service of engaging their community through their work organizing a statewide walk out, in just six days, in response to the deaths of George Floyd and Daunte Wright.
Wren High School, Piedmont, South Carolina, was the Silver Award winner in recognition of their service around mental health awareness and fostering an acceptable environment for discussing mental illness following the suicide of a fellow classmate.
Valley ChangeMakers, Los Angeles, California, received the Gold Award in recognition of their service of combatting issues affecting the San Fernando Valley because of wildfires. Through wildfire restoration, development of education materials and partnership in their community, they were able to bring significant awareness to wildfires impacting their community.
During an 'In Memoriam' segment narrated by Multiplying Good's co-founder Sam Beard, the organization paid tribute to past Jefferson Award recipient Anne Douglas, Hall of Fame Baseball player and Multiplying Good supporter Hank Aaron, and Board of Selector and Trailblazer, Cicely Tyson, all of whom died this year.
"Jefferson Award recipients represent the highest level of service to others," Schafer explained. "By telling their stories, we encourage them to do even more and inspire others to make a difference through service."
In addition to the award presentations, the event included an Instagram Live pre-show featuring interviews with award recipients as well as Multiplying Good's CEO, board members, and past Jefferson Award recipients.
About Multiplying Good
Multiplying Good is a national nonprofit that believes in the power of service to others to unleash potential, inspire individuals, and transform lives. Multiplying Good fuels personal growth and leadership development through a continuum that starts with engagement and culminates in recognition. It has offices in 11 communities across the country, delivering on-the-ground impact where it is needed most. Founded in 1972 by Sam Beard, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, and Senator Robert Taft, Jr., the organization has recognized the extraordinary public service of thousands with its Jefferson Award. To learn more, visit MultiplyingGood.org or follow Multiplying Good on Facebook.
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