2012 Jefferson Awards New York National Ceremony March 6, 2012
AWARDS TO BE PRESENTED AT NATIONAL CEREMONY AT PIERRE HOTEL
ON MARCH 6, NOON TO 2 PM
New York, March 6, 2012 – Two Virginia sisters whose national nonprofit based on treasure hunts has raised more than $7 million in scholarships for the children of military veterans, a Georgia high school student whose environmental activism has led to the recycling of 8,000 tons of waste and a Yale University violin virtuoso whose concerts have raised close to $5 million to help fight children’s neurological disease are among this year’s recipients of the 2012 Jefferson Awards.
Known as the “Nobel Prize for public service,” the Jefferson Awards honor extraordinary individuals and companies whose profound achievements and commitment to their communities are making the world a better place to live.
Among the 2012 honorees are NFL Player Engagement Vice President and former All-Pro defensive back Troy Vincent, Tribeca Film Festival, accepted by cofounders Jane Rosenthal and Craig Hatkoff, and pharmaceutical giant Pfizer Inc.
“This year’s Jefferson Awards recipients have made real and lasting differences in the lives of countless people,” said Sam Beard, who with Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis and U.S. Senator Robert Taft, Jr. founded the Jefferson Awards, now in their 40th year. “Their remarkable contributions – in fundraising, activism, community service and the arts – nobly reflect one of the founding qualities of our republic: a commitment to help one another and serve the greater good. The Jefferson Awards is proud to bestow on them this fitting tribute in recognition of the breadth and scope of their extraordinary achievements.”
2012 Jefferson Awards recipients at the National Ceremony in New York are:
OUTSTANDING SERVICE BY A GLOBECHANGER (25 AND UNDER)
· Rachel (16) and Kelsi (13) Okun, McLean, Va., cofounders, ThanksUSA. Following a family vacation in 2005 where they first became fascinated with treasure hunts, the Okun sisters founded ThanksUSA, an acronym for “Treasure Hunt Aiding Needs of Kids and Spouses of those serving the United States of America.” The organization holds national fundraising treasure hunts based on American history and values, and the money raised goes to fund scholarships for the children of U.S. veterans. Since its founding, ThanksUSA has awarded almost $7.5 million in scholarships to 2,500 families from all branches of the armed services and across all 50 states and the District of Columbia.
· Charles OrgBon III (16), Hoschton, Ga., founder and CEO, Greening Forward. The Georgia high school student launched the environmental activist group in 2008 when he was 12 years old and motivated to help address his school’s litter problem. Greening Forward encourages, engages and empowers people to establish Earth Savers Clubs at schools, workplaces and within communities where they can mobilize to address specific environmental problems. Over the past four years, the organization has reached 6,000 youth in 30 communities in the U.S., Asia and Africa. To date, more than 8,000 tons of waste has been recycled through Greening Forward initiatives.
· Jourdan Urbach (20), New York, N.Y., founder and director, International Coalition of College Philanthropists and Children Helping Children/Concerts for a Cure. A violin virtuoso, the Yale University sophomore is the founder and director of two nonprofit organizations that raise funds to fight children’s neurological disease and fund research. Through fundraising concerts, Urbach has raised $4.8 million, money that has funded 12 life-saving neuro-surgeries, 1,000 cochlear implants to indigent children, pediatric clinics in Africa and the largest music therapy program in the country at the University of Michigan’s Mott Children’s Hospital, which serves 5,000 inpatients a year.
LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD: TRIBECA FILM FESTIVAL
Following the 9-11 attacks on the World Trade Center, Robert De Niro, Jane Rosenthal and Craig Hatkoff founded the Tribeca Film Festival, a catalytic artistic initiative designed to spur economic and cultural revitalization of lower Manhattan through an annual celebration of film, music and culture. Since its founding in 2001, the festival has attracted an international audience of more than 3 million attendees, generating an estimated $725 million in economic activity for New York City.
· Robert De Niro, an Academy Award®-winning actor, director and producer whose three decades performing in such major motion pictures as The Godfather Part II, Raging Bull, Taxi Driver and Cape Fear have endeared him to audiences around the world. [PLEASE NOTE: Mr. De Niro will not be present at the award presentation.]
· Jane Rosenthal, a veteran film producer with a roster of both critically and commercially acclaimed films produced through her and De Niro’s company Tribeca Productions. In addition to cofounding the Tribeca Film Festival, she also co-founded and is co-chairman of the board of the Tribeca Film Institute. Additionally, Rosenthal serves on the board of the National September 11 Memorial and Museum.
· Craig M. Hatkoff, a real estate investor, philanthropist and chairman of Turtle Pond Productions, which includes several new media, entertainment and publishing ventures. Along with his daughters, he also has authored multiple best-selling children’s books.
A five-time Pro Bowler and cornerback whose 15 years in the NFL established him as one of the league’s greatest leaders, NFL Player Engagement Vice President Troy Vincent continues to make significant contributions off the football field. His dedication to community outreach and personal commitment to helping the underserved has always been one of his highest priorities. He and his wife Tommi founded Love Thy Neighbor, a community development corporation that has awarded more than $600,000 in college scholarships to Trenton area students and provides other programs in fatherhood mentoring, educational training and support and community service.
The world’s largest research-based pharmaceuticals company, Pfizer has for more than 150 years made major contributions toward improving the health and wellbeing of human life at every stage. The company and its foundation work to help expand access to reliable, affordable healthcare as well as strengthen healthcare delivery to underserved people throughout the world. Pfizer also is dedicated to reducing its impact on the environment, nurturing a diverse and inclusive workplace and upholding the highest ethical standards across all its business practices. Accepting the award on behalf of Pfizer will be Caroline Roan, vice president, corporate responsibility and reputation.
This year’s awards also mark a special milestone for the cofounder of the Jefferson Awards, as Sam Beard observes his 50th year in public service. Beard, whose career in public service began in 1962 working with former U.S. Senator and Attorney General Robert Kennedy in Brooklyn’s Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood, has had the honor of initiating and then co-chairing a presidential program for seven U.S. presidents, from President Nixon through President George W. Bush.
The National Ceremony in New York will be held beginning at noon on March 6 at The Pierre Hotel, 2 East 61st Street. It will be hosted by Kerry Kennedy, human rights activist, author and president of the Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights.