Jefferson Awards Announces Strategic Alliance with the NFL Player Engagement, Charles Fazzino and IvyConnect, While Celebrating 41 Years of Honoring Service to Others

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Today the nation’s highest honor for community service is being awarded to 20 extraordinary individuals and organizations whose selfless, noble and compassionate work has improved the lives of countless people and amplified our collective commitment to helping one another and contributing to the larger good. Honorees include: Grassroots “Unsung Heroes,” Employee Volunteers and Students, U.S. Senators Tom Coburn and Pat Leahy, Professor Elie Wiesel; Dolores Huerta, Neilesh Patel and Mark Ein, Founder and Owner of the Washington Kastles, and many others.


Jefferson Awards Medallion

There are opportunities every day, to make a difference in somebody’s life," said Joe Sanberg, Jefferson Awards Chairman

The nation’s highest honor for community service is being awarded today to 20 extraordinary individuals and organizations whose selfless, noble and compassionate work has improved the lives of countless people and amplified our collective commitment to helping one another and contributing to the larger good.

Co-founded in 1972 by Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, U.S. Senator Robert Taft, Jr. and Sam Beard, known as the “Nobel Prize of public service,” this year’s Jefferson Awards – now in its 41st year – recognizes contributions to service in eight separate categories, including: Greatest Public Service by an Elected or Appointed Official; Greatest Public Service by a Public Citizen; Greatest Public Service Benefiting the Disadvantaged; Greatest Public Service by an Individual 35 Years or Under, and Outstanding Service by an Athlete.

“It is so easy to dismiss the opportunity to do something good, because you are hoping to do something great. There are opportunities every day, to make a difference in somebody’s life. The Jefferson Awards encourages individuals to do something. Do not wait. Do not wait to do something, because you think it is small.” said Joe Sanberg, Jefferson Awards Chairman. “This is seen in the extraordinary work that our recipients are doing every day to touch the lives of so many people.”

Under the leadership of Troy Vincent, NFL Senior Vice President for Player Engagement, the Jefferson Awards and the NFL Player Engagement have created a new strategic alliance. The Jefferson Awards will join with NFLPE to combine our efforts toward the PREP community (ages 25 years and under; male and female) to motivate, train and measure the impact of youth making their communities and the world a better place. Together, we will foster academic excellence, social commitment, community values, and the power of sports to create well-rounded, successful young adults.

“For years both the NFL and the Jefferson Awards have each been deeply and firmly committed to community service,” said Troy Vincent, Senior Vice President of NFL Player Engagement. “We are extremely excited about the opportunity to assist young people in becoming 21st Century leaders beginning with their families, their peers and as partners in their community.”

NFLPE will help support the Jefferson Awards Youth Service Challenge. This year 2012-2013, the Challenge had 3,673 student-led projects and involved more than 900,000 students across the country. Through the Jefferson Award’s partnership with the U.S. Conference of Mayors, 173 mayors have signed on to participate. With the NFLPE’s support next year, to highlight the importance of student service and its community impact, we will launch a joint social media contest in the spring of 2014 with students competing for national prizes.

Charles Fazzino is one of the most popular artists in the world, and the world’s most popular 3-D artist. As the creator of 3-D limited edition fine art silkscreen serigraphs, he is best known for his obsession with bright colors and wonderful detail, the frenetic energy that infuses his work and a unique hand-assembled 3-D layering technique that brings his images to life.

June 2013 ends the Jefferson Awards’ celebration of its 40th Anniversary. The vision is for Charles to be our “Official Artist” for the next ten years – through 2022. His work is exhibited in hundreds of fine art galleries and museums in twenty different countries. He is an officially licensed artist of the National Football League and the Super Bowl (2000 to the present), Major League Baseball and the MLB All-Star Game (2003 to the present) and the US Olympic Team (2000 to the present). He recently created official artwork for the President’s Challenge for the President’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports, the NASCAR Sprint Cup series, the NHL All-Star Game, Belmont Stakes, Daytona 500, Indy 500, the Country Music Awards, the Grammy Awards, and the President William J. Clinton Foundation. Charles is a graduate of the School of Visual Arts in New York City.

The Jefferson Awards is proud to announce that we have entered into a partnership with IvyConnect, a private community that connects inspiring thought leaders, innovators, and do-gooders. IvyConnect’s membership is made up of exemplary entrepreneurs, artists, policy-makers, and distinguished professionals, predominantly ages 24 to 45.

Part of IvyConnect’s mission is to encourage its members to be active citizens who give back to their communities. IvyConnect was co-founded by Harvard Business School classmates Beri Meric and Philipp Triebel, whose vision is “to create a more inspired world by connecting remarkable people who make a global difference.” Through private art gallery receptions, speaker series, trips, social impact projects, and a sophisticated digital platform, IvyConnect facilitates strong connections, meaningful conversations, and important community service opportunities. IvyConnect’s goal is to connecting outstanding people across 50 global cities within the next five years.

U.S. Senator Tom Coburn and U.S. Senator Pat Leahy
U.S. Senator Tom Coburn wins the 2013 Jefferson Award for a lifetime of distinguished and dedicated service. Senator Coburn’s public service is demonstrated in many forms: as medical doctor to his community, a deacon to his congregation, and a U.S. Senator to his constituents.    Senator Coburn stands out for his advocacy of term limits, expanding seniors’ health care options, protection of home healthcare in rural areas, access to cheaper medications, and preventing the spread of AIDS to infants. He is currently one of three doctors serving in the U.S. Senate. He has treated more than 15,000 patients and delivered more than 4,000 babies.

U.S. Senator Pat Leahy wins the 2013 Jefferson Award for a lifetime of distinguished and dedicated service. Senator Leahy is recognized for his integrity, independence and bipartisan leadership. Senator Leahy stands out for his leadership in immigration reform, his belief in an open and transparent government, protection of individual privacy, environmental protection, human rights, education and health care reform. Leahy is the most senior U.S. Senator.

Elie Wiesel, Holocaust survivor and Co-Founder of the Elie Wiesel Foundation
Elie Wiesel was born in 1928 in Sighet, Transylvania. He was fifteen years old when he and his family were deported by the Nazis to Auschwitz. His mother and younger sister perished, his two older sisters survived. Elie and his father were later transported to Buchenwald, where his father died shortly before the camp was liberated in April 1945.After the war he became a journalist and was encouraged to write about his experiences in the death camps. The result was his internationally acclaimed memoir, Night (La Nuit), which has since been translated into more than thirty languages.

The Elie Wiesel and his wife created the Elie Wiesel Foundation, rooted in the memory of the Holocaust. Elie Wiesel wins the Jefferson Award for his ongoing efforts to combat indifference, intolerance and injustice through international dialogue and youth-focused programs that promote acceptance, understanding and equality.

Dolores Huerta, Co-Founder, National Farmworkers Association
Dolores Huerta wins the 2013 Jefferson Award for her lifetime advocating for labor and civil rights, co-founding the National Farmworkers Association, later the United Farm Works, and serving in countless roles on behalf of workers, immigrants, and women.

Born in April 1930, Heurta’s community activism began while still a student in Stockton High School. After briefly teaching grammar school, Dolores left her job and began a lifelong crusade to correct economic injustice, noting, “I couldn’t stand seeing kids come to class hungry and needing shoes. I thought I could do more by organizing farm work    than by trying to teach their hungry children.”

In 2002, Huerta founded the Dolores Huerta Foundation, a “community benefit organization that organizes at the grassroots level, engaging and developing natural leaders.” The foundation seeks to create leadership opportunities for “community organizing, leadership development, civic engagement, and policy advocacy in the areas of health and environment, education and youth development, and economic development.

Neilesh Patel, D.D.S., founder of HealthCare Volunteer advocates global healthcare
Dr. Neilesh Patel wins the 2013 Jefferson Award for playing a lead role in creating HealthCare Volunteer, one of the world's largest listing of health-related volunteering opportunities. The HealthCare Volunteer network encompasses 2,600 volunteer spanning more than 150 countries.

Dr. Patel has been passionate about volunteering since high school. At age 17, Neilesh founded, one of the world's largest student-run volunteer computer consulting organizations in the Bay Area.

During dental school, Neil Patel said he spent many “pizza nights” – subsisting on pizza and pulling all-nighters teaching himself how to program and build a Web site, which became the backbone of HealthCare Volunteer. He was driven by the belief that all qualified applicants should have the opportunity to volunteer.

In 2005, during a trip to South America in 2005, Dr. Patel encountered countless individuals needing dental care, but couldn’t find volunteer opportunities. Other dental students also wanted to volunteer. This was the beginning.

Mark Ein, Founder and Owner of the Washington Kastles
Mark Ein wins the 2013 Jefferson Award for his exceptional contributions to the District     of Columbia and surrounding communities. Ein currently chairs The District of Columbia Public Schools Education Fund (DCPEF) that has raised over $80 million of private philanthropic support for the DC Public School System in just four years.

Mark Ein is the Founder and Owner of the Washington Kastles, Washington, DC’s World Team Tennis (WTT) franchise. The team has been honored for its contributions both on and off the court, including being named the USTA Mid-Atlantic’s 2011 Organization of the Year.” The 2011 team made history by becoming the first team in the 36 year history of the league to complete a perfect season with its 16-0 record. Ein credits this success to the strong sense of team building that comes out of their special emphasis in giving back to the community.

Presented to five “Unsung Heroes” for their extraordinary and selfless volunteer work in their community.

-Dr. Joseph Bailey, Tupelo/Columbus, MS (nominated through WLOV, WTVA & WKDH-TV)
In 2009, Dr. Joseph Bailey founded the Tree of Life Clinic in Tupelo, MS, with its mission to provide quality, free health care to any person who cannot afford to pay. He was aware that a large segment of the population in Northeast Mississippi was without access to quality health care. He had the vision to start a free clinic that provided much-needed medical services. Since its founding, over 7,000 patients have been seen and more than 28,000 prescriptions have been filled. The dental clinic has seen over 150 patients with an average of 40-50 teeth being pulled per clinic since its opening. Dr. Bailey not only took the lead in starting the Clinic, but twice a month he volunteers to see patients there.

-Ed and Sue Goldstein, Warren, New Jersey (nominated through The Star-Ledger)
When their young daughter Valerie was diagnosed with cancer in the early 1970's, Sue and Ed Goldstein learned that pediatric cancer patients living in New Jersey had to travel to New York or Pennsylvania for treatment. For six years they endured long commutes. Valerie died at the age of nine in 1976. The Goldstein’s were determined that no family should have to travel great distances to receive quality care for a child with cancer. They began fundraising from their living room. It was tireless work that led to the opening of the first Valerie Fund Children's Center in Overlook Hospital in 1977. Today, there are seven not-for-profit Valerie Fund Centers located in New Jersey, New York and metropolitan Philadelphia. Each is staffed with social workers, counselors, psychologists and child life specialists to enfold the entire family in a blanket of individualized care. More than 4,000 children are treated annually--a network that is one of the largest of its kind in the country.

-Robert Nevins, Albany, NY (nominated through Times Union)
Robert founded the Saratoga War Horse program, a horse-based healing program for veterans. This program teaches veterans how to manage trauma and stress by interacting with retired racehorses in an effort to help war veterans reintegrate into our society and civilian life. Robert served in Vietnam as a medevac pilot for the 101st Airborne, and was wounded in action in 1971. He also served in the NY National Guard. Nevins, 63, retired as an airline captain to work on making War Horse a national model for preventing suicide among military personnel. Robert and his team of specialists hope the program will treat 700 veterans and service members annually.

-Oral Lee Brown, San Francisco, California (nominated through KPIX-TV and KCBS-AM)
In 1987, Oral Lee made a promise to the first graders at Brookfield elementary school in Oakland. She said if they worked hard, she would see them through college, paying their tuition. Of that first class, 19 of the 23 students graduated from high school and enrolled in college. Oral Lee didn’t stop there. On the wall of her office in Oakland, she proudly shows off photos of her babies– as she calls them– six more classes of students headed to college. Oral Lee has helped over 100 students have a better future and she has dreams of starting a boarding school.

-Jeffrey Ryan Futrell, Memphis, TN (nominated through The Commercial Appeal)
As a former “ranking” member of the notorious Los Angeles gang, the Crips, Jeffery Futrell paid a price for his gang life, the murder of his 6 year-old daughter. Jeffery is president and CEO of Young Man University, an agency he founded that uses the power of Christ and the fundamentals of family and fellowship to bring young men out of the cycle of violence. He works in three area high schools. At Northside High School, the average GPA has risen from a weighted 0.79 to 2.85. He has documented that 39 former gang members are now attending college and 284 youths with gang affiliations received their high school diplomas.

Presented to two exceptional individuals whose volunteer work reflects the deep and abiding commitment of their employers to making a difference in the communities where their employees live and work.

-Doreen Cadieux, San Jose,CA (Company: Deloitte)
Doreen Cadieux, partner with Deloitte Tax LLP, realized soon after graduating she was very fortunate to have grown up with a supportive family. Understanding not everyone has the same help, she began volunteering to promote second chances for those that have had stumbles in life. She began volunteering with InnVision in 2007, an organization that addressed the cycle of homelessness. She was appointed board chair in 2009 and helped execute a merger with another organization in 2012 forming InnVisionShelterNetworks. The combination is the unity of the two remarkable organizations with a mission dedicated to helping homeless families and individuals return to self-sufficiency and permanent housing. InnVision Shelter Network is now one of the leading shelter/housing and supportive service providers in Northern California, supporting over 20,000 homeless men, women, and children annually.

-Theresa Uchytil-Etler, (Company: AstraZeneca)
Theresa Uchytil-Etler’s can-do spirit blossomed early. Born without a left hand, she was inspired by doctors and volunteers at Shriners Hospitals for Children. Theresa resolved not let her handicap limit her ability to compete with other children. Theresa became a baton twirling champion with her school band. In 2000, she won the Miss Iowa contest, and became a national spokesperson for Shriners and an advocate for Americans with disabilities. Since 2003, Theresa has volunteered for the Junior League of Kansas City, Missouri (JLKCMO), where she co-chaired the League’s largest fundraiser generating more than $800,000. She also initiated programs for at-risk children and restructured the 1,400-member organization’s leadership curriculum and membership development plan. Today, Theresa sits on the JLKCMO Board of Directors and serves as the Director of Training.

-General Electric
General Electric wins the 2013 Jefferson Award for “Outstanding Service by a Major Corporation” for its commitment to citizenship and volunteerism. In 2012, the GE family donated more that $220 million to communities and non profit organizations. Since 2005, GE employees and volunteers have given more than 9 million hours of their time on more than 30,000 projects spanning 55 countries. GE employees volunteered 1.3 million hours in 2012 while their local Volunteer Councils directed more that $800,000 in grants to community organizations. GE’s Global Community Days bring together all employees in one geography on the same day for a volunteer event. Employees volunteered nearly 110,000 hours at these events in 2012. GE works on things that matter and their more than 300,000 employees work each day to make the world work better.

Presented to a single school whose exemplary program of student volunteerism has successfully instilled the values of service, leadership and ethics.

-Thornton High Schools District 205, South Holland, Harvey and Dolton, Illinois
Thornton Township High Schools District 205 (Thornton, Thornwood and Thornridge) is a comprehensive public high school district serving over 5000 students of south-suburban Chicago.

During the 2012-2013 school year, the District 205 Students in Action Leadership Team, run through the Student Board of Education, sponsored and assisted with multiple community service projects in support of local non-profits and causes by raising over $177,000 via cooperative efforts. Often attracting local attention for their accomplishments and service highlights, more than 75,800 hours of community service have been logged and dozens of service superstars recognized.

The District 205 Jefferson Awards team motto is: “promoting service leadership through excellence, respect and pride.”

-TGIF – Turn Grease Into Fuel Westerly, Rhode Island
This year’s award winning project received perfect scores from the national Environmental Judges. TGIF engaged 126 restaurants to collect 138,000 gallons of waste cooking oil, which they turned into 110,000 gallons of biodiesel that provides emergency heat to the homes of 210 families through partnerships with area non-profits. Their success is a win for the environment as they use a clean-burning alternative, offsetting 2 million pounds of carbon dioxide from entering the atmosphere, a win for local governments saving millions in unclogging sewers, and finally a win for needy families.

-Ben Simon & Lauren Behgam, Food Recovery Network
The Food Recovery Network (FRN) ( unites students at colleges across America to fight food waste and hunger by recovering surplus food from their campuses that would otherwise go to waste and donating it to people in need. Founded in September of 2011, it has since expanded to reach 22 college campuses and recovered over 165,000 pounds of food that would otherwise have been wasted. During that time, FRN has been covered by MSNBC, ABC, LA Times, and the Washington Post, and was recognized by Guidestar as one of the top student-run nonprofits of 2012. By 2017, FRN hopes to expand to 1,000 colleges and recover 10 million pounds of food, changing the way America thinks about food waste.
Ben Simon, age 23, is FRN's Founder and Executive Director. He helped start the first chapter at University of Maryland and has since been leading the national organization. Lauren Behgam, age 20, is Co-Founder and Director of Expansion. She helped start the second chapter at Brown University and leads the national expansion effort.

About the Jefferson Awards for Public Service – Building a Culture of 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 that serve as Media Partners in more than 50 communities.

They have 23 Champions that highlight service excellence in the workplace – companies such as Nationwide, Aramark, Heinz, Safeway, Prudential and National Grid. In our Youth Service Initiatives, through our Deloitte Students In Action, we operate in 325 high schools in 13 communities. We have trained more than 8,800 student leaders. The schools report 6.8 million hours of service, valued by the Independent Sector at $150 million. Through our Youth Service Challenge, more than 170 mayors have signed on to shine a positive spotlight on student-led service projects. In year four, more than 900,000 young Americans participated in 3,674 projects.

President John F. Kennedy said, “One person can make a difference and every person should try.” From the beginning in 1972, more than 50,000 grassroots “Unsung Heroes,” employees in the workplace, young Americans and 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


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