NFL and New York Jets Legend Marty Lyons Wins the 2013 Jefferson Award For 30 Years of Giving Back

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Robin Hood Foundation, three young "Globechangers" and well known entrepreneur also win Jefferson Awards. CBS newscaster Lesley Stahl served as Mistress of Ceremonies.

Jefferson Awards for Public Service

Known as the 'Nobel Prize for public service,' the Jefferson Awards celebrates its 40th anniversary

Known as the “Nobel Prize for public service,” the Jefferson Awards, at a national ceremony held today at the Pierre Hotel, honored former New York Jets and NFL defensive tackle Marty Lyons for Outstanding Service by a Professional Athlete. Dedicated to reaching out to terminally ill children, the Marty Lyons Foundation has granted over 6,000 wishes since its founding and has expanded its philanthropic efforts throughout twelve states.

The Jefferson Award was presented to Lyons by NFL great, Troy Vincent; a fifteen year veteran cornerback, who now serves as Senior Vice President of NFL Player Engagement. Vincent was the 2012 recipient of this coveted award for community service. Previous recipients in the outstanding athlete category include former Buffalo Bills quarterback and NFL Hall of Famer Jim Kelly and NHL Hall of Famer, Pat LaFontaine.

“Marty Lyons’ life-long, personal commitment to community service and making a difference in the lives of others, comes from that same spirited dedication we all saw in him when he played in the NFL,” said Troy Vincent, “I am honored to present this Jefferson Award to one of our own--someone who is such an inspiring example of the extraordinary impact both present and former NFL players are making in our communities.”

“I am humbled to receive this award and accept it on behalf of the children who have come through the doors of our foundation these past thirty years,” said Marty Lyons, now a New York Jets radio analyst, “Once you have witnessed the strength and courage seen in the eyes of a child facing a life-threatening illness, you fully understand the meaning of your own mission. Their spirit of hope and belief that anything is possible, reminds all of us what the focus of our own lives must be.”

The Robin Hood Foundation received the 2013 Lifetime Achievement Award. Hailed by Fortune magazine as “one of the most innovative and influential philanthropic organizations of our time,” Robin Hood has donated $1.25 billion dollars since 1988 to end poverty in New York City.

Recipients of the “Globe-Changers” youth service award included a Yale University senior whose international non-profit Girls Helping Girls has trained and mentored thousands of girls worldwide to incubate entrepreneurial projects in more than twenty countries; a 22 year old coder whose organization Code The Change has generated over $250,000 worth of value for the social sector, and a Pittsburgh teenager whose military veteran-focused group Seeds of Hope is expanding nationwide.

The award for Outstanding Service by an Entrepreneur went to Gerald Chertavian, whose organization Year Up provides professional training to low-income youth.

Founded by Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, Senator Robert Taft Jr., and Sam Beard, and now celebrating its 40th anniversary year, 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.

“This year’s Jefferson Awards recipients have made real and lasting differences in the lives of countless people across the United States,” said Sam Beard, the Jefferson Awards President.

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About the 2013 Jefferson Awards National Ceremony Recipients:

2013 OUTSTANDING SERVICE by an ATHLETE: MARTY LYONS
New York Jets Player; Jets Radio Analyst; Chairman, Marty Lyons Foundation,
New York, New York

Marty Lyons' football experience matured under the guidance of the late Paul "Bear" Bryant at the University of Alabama where he was recognized as consensus first-team All-American in 1978. His athletic skill propelled him to be a first round draft pick in the 1979 National Football League draft. His professional football career with the New York Jets spanned eleven years, 1979-1989. He played both defensive tackle and defensive end and was a member of the Jets’ famed “New York Sack Exchange” along with Mark Gastineau, Abdul Salaam and Joe Klecko.

In 1982, three events led to the founding of the Marty Lyons Foundation – the passing of his father, the birth of his eldest son; and the passing of a little boy for whom Marty was a Big Brother. The foundation focuses on fulfilling special wishes for children diagnosed with a terminal or life threatening illness. Over 30 years, the Foundation has fulfilled over 6,000 wishes. The Foundation has grown to include 13 chapters covering: Alabama, New York, New Jersey, Florida, North Carolina, South Carolina, Maryland, Massachusetts, Georgia, Connecticut, Texas, Virginia and Pennsylvania.

2013 LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD:
THE ROBIN HOOD FOUNDATION

The Robin Hood Foundation is honored for following their single mission for 25 years:
End Poverty in New York City. Over the course of its history, Robin Hood has distributed more than $1.25 billion to hundreds of the most effective New York City-based soup kitchens, homeless shelters, job training programs and other vital services that give New York’s neediest citizens the tools they need to build better lives for themselves and their families. Robin Hood employs a rigorous system of metrics and third-party evaluation to ensure accountability, and works closely with its grantees to make them even more successful. Robin Hood’s board of directors covers all of the organization’s fund-raising and administrative costs, so 100% of every dollar you donate goes to helping New Yorkers in need.

Robin Hood established a Relief Fund in the wake of 9/11 to help New Yorkers recover from the devastating terrorist attacks that rocked New York City. Robin Hood reactivated the Relief Fund following Hurricane Sandy and has raised more than $67 million – including more than $50 million from the historic “12-12-12 Concert for Sandy Relief” held at Madison Square Garden -- to help individuals and communities rebuild and recover.

Robin Hood was founded by a team of visionaries including Paul Tudor Jones II, Peter Borish, Glenn Dubin, David Saltzman, and the late Maurice “Moe” Chessa. Robin Hood’s board of directors is led by Barry Sternlicht and the vice chairs are David Einhorn and John A. Griffin.

2013 OUTSTANDING SERVICE by an ENTREPRENEUR: GERALD CHERTAVIAN Founder and CEO, YEAR UP, Boston, MA

Gerald Chertavian is dedicated to closing the opportunity divide that exists in our nation. Determined to make his vision a reality, Gerald combined his entrepreneurial skills and his passion for working with urban young adults to found Year Up in 2000.

An intensive one-year training and education program that serves low-income youth ages 18-24, Year Up provides the technical, professional and communication skills needed to empower urban young adults to make successful transitions to careers and higher education. Gerald Chertavian cites, “There are 6.7 million young adults out of work and out of school. There are 14 million middle-skill jobs that are unfilled.”

Year Up offers low-income youth the skills and training to close that gap. We’re creating a ‘hand up’ not a ‘hand out.’” Year Up is one of the fastest growing non-profits in the nation. It has been recognized by Fast Company and The Monitor Group as one of the top 25 organizations using business excellence to engineer social change. Year Up has also been named one of the nation's top 50 non-profits to work for by the Non-Profit Times.

Gerald began his career on Wall Street as an officer of the Chemical Banking Corporation. Following graduate school, he co-founded Conduit Communications and fostered its growth to more than $20 million in annual revenues and more than 130 employees in London, Amsterdam, New York and Boston. Following the sale of Conduit to i-Cube in 1999, Gerald turned his full attention to opportunities for others.

Gerald earned a B.A. in Economics, Phi Beta Kappa, Summa Cum Laude, from Bowdoin College and an M.B.A. with Honors from Harvard Business School. His 2012 book, A Year Up, was a New York Times Best Seller.

2013 OUTSTANDING SERVICE BY A GLOBECHANGER (25 AND UNDER)
THREE HONOREES:

SEJAL HATHI
Student, Yale University, Age 21, Founder, Girls Helping Girls, New Haven, CT
Sejal Hathi founded the international nonprofit Girls Helping Girls at age 15 and, as President, has since helped train and mentor thousands of girls worldwide to incubate entrepreneurial projects addressing needs in more than 20 countries. Girls Helping Girls strives not only to bridge international cultures, but, more profoundly, to channel the power harvested from the girls' collaborative service projects to Eradicate Poverty, Increase Access to Education, Improve Health, and Promote Peace. Girls Helping Girls has spread to 12 U.S. cities, trained and mobilized over 30,000 girls worldwide and has raised over $50,000 to provide books, school supplies, scholarships, food and water to support girls’ basic education overseas. Sejal is currently a student at Yale University studying molecular biology and global health.

SAM KING
Student, Stanford University, Age 22, Founder, Code The Change, Palo Alto, CA

Sam King created and leads Code the Change (codethechange.org) a national organization that creates “Code Jams:” events to engage computer science students in meaningful programming projects to benefit nonprofit organizations. What makes Code the Change truly innovative is its national network and connectivity to campuses across the country. Projects started at one Code Jam campus can be continued, completed or modified at another. To this end, Code the Change is forming a national network of schools, connecting computer scientists with nonprofits. Since 2009, Code the Change has generated over $250,000 worth of value for the social sector.

ALEXIS WERNER
Student, Shaler Area High School, Age 17, Founder, Seeds of Hope,
Pittsburgh, PA

Alexis Werner has witnessed first hand the issues faced by America’s veterans when they come home. Both Alexis’ mother and stepfather have been repeatedly deployed as members of the Armed Forces, and her stepfather has been diagnosed with severe Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Alexis learned that she was not alone – that 1.5 million American veterans are at risk of becoming homeless due to a shortage of affordable housing and livable income, PTSD and a lack of family or friend support systems. In 2011, Alexis founded Seeds of Hope to start planting “Victory Gardens” around Pittsburgh to spread awareness about the stress and difficulties of the transition once a veteran comes home and to provide baskets of fresh food to troops and their families. The gardens are all planted and cared for by kids. In its inaugural season, Seeds of Hope delivered 75 baskets of produce to the Oakland VA and Hunt Armory and managed 10 Victory Gardens. Seeds of Hope is now expanding nationwide and has received numerous accolades, including first place in the Jefferson Awards Youth Service Challenge in 2011 and first place in the Environmental Action category in the 2011 Fairchild Challenge.

Milestone Recognition

This year’s awards also mark a special milestone for the co-founder 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, which have led to the creation of more than 2 million-inner city jobs and more than $200 billion of financing.

About the Jefferson Awards for Public Service

The Jefferson Awards was founded in 1972 by Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, U.S. Senator Robert Taft, Jr. and Sam Beard as the “Nobel Prize for public service.” Named for one of America’s most influential Founding Fathers and the principal author of the Declaration of Independence, the Jefferson Awards’ central tenet is that each and every citizen shares a responsibility to work towards the betterment of their communities through economic participation, public service, volunteerism and other such efforts to improve life for all. Today, the mission of the Jefferson Awards is to “collaboratively engage the nation in public service and volunteering by providing training, inspiring and enabling action, measuring impact and celebrating the achievements of exceptional individuals.”

The Jefferson Awards has 110 local newspapers, television and radio stations serving as media
partners in more than 50 communities. 23 “Champions” highlight service and excellence in the
workplace – including such companies such as Nationwide, Aramark, Heinz, Safeway, Prudential and National Grid.

In our Youth Service Initiatives, including our “Deloitte Students In Action,” we operate in 325 high schools in 16 communities. We have trained more than 7,000 student leaders. The schools report 5.2 million hours of service, valued by the Independent Sector at $109 million. Through our Youth Service Challenge, more than 150 mayors have signed on to shine a positive spotlight on student-led service projects. In year two, more than 800,000 young Americans participated in 4,900 projects.

President John F. Kennedy said, “One person can make a difference and every person should try.”

From the beginning, since 1972, more than 50,000 grassroots “Unsung Heroes,” from employees in the workplace, young Americans and to non-profit volunteers have won
Jefferson Awards through our Media Partners, corporate Champions and Youth Service
Initiatives.

For more information on the Jefferson Awards, visit http://www.JeffersonAwards.org.

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Michael Knowles
m.knowles@jeffersonawards.org
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