Awards for May 2008

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School officials from across the nation accept the MetLife Foundation’s Breakthrough award for improving the academic performance of low-income students.

Photo: The MetLife Foundation

Breakthrough Schools Grant Awards 

For: High-achieving middle and high schools that improve the academic performance of students living in poverty with strategies that other schools can learn from.

By: The MetLife Foundation and the National Association of Secondary School Principals.

Winners Include: Ashe County Middle School, Warrensville, N.C., for extensive services offered by its health center, its 4-H-sponsored after-school program and rigorous curriculum; Florence Middle School, Florence, Ala., for implementing academic programs and student enrichment activities into its lunch periods; Westwood High School, Memphis, Tenn., for promoting shared leadership and civic engagement among its students; Wheaton High School, Silver Spring, Md., for its academic programs and its in-school and after-school intervention programs.

Paul Ylvisaker Award for Public Policy Engagement 

For: A foundation that has affected public policy through strategies that can inform and inspire others to become engaged in policy work.

By: Council on Foundations

Winner: McCormick Tribune Foundation, for improving education for at-risk children under 5 in Chicago by raising public awareness of early childhood issues, and by investing in professional development for early childhood educators, in public policy advocacy and research, and in building organizational capacity.

Contact: Evelyn Gibson (703) 879-0691,

Critical Impact Awards 

For: Foundations that have supported innovative projects to address societal issues in communities and nations.

By: Council on Foundations

Winners Include: The Tow Foundation, for its efforts to improve the juvenile justice system in Connecticut.

Contact: Evelyn Gibson (703) 879-0691,

Heidi O’Brien (left) and Stephanie Clark of Humane Society Youth, winners of the Harris Wofford Award.

Photo: Humane Society Youth

Harris Wofford Award 

For: Organizations that engage young people in service and service-learning.

By: Youth Service America

Winners: Humane Society Youth, for educating youth about kindness and respect for animals, and engaging them in animal protection, through its newspaper (KIND News), its free workshops and its online Humane High School.

National Caring Awards 

For: Five adults and five teens who have worked to improve the lives of others.

By: The Caring Institute

Winners include: The Rev. Cecil Williams of Glide Memorial Church, San Francisco, who oversees social programs that tutor children, provide meals and assist working parents; Dick Grace, owner of Grace Winery and founder of Grace Family Foundation, for raising money for programs that fight child abuse. Also, Jamie Harper, 19, of Grand Island, Neb., who recruits young people to address environmental issues; Alexandra Holderman, 14, of Mishawaka, Ind., who created a project to supply needy children with blankets, diapers and clothes; Dallas Jessup, 16, of Vancouver, Wash., who wrote and produced a film to teach young girls and women how to protect themselves from violence; Ashlee Kephart, 16, of Brooklyn Center, Minn., who founded Kids for a Better World, which donates money and supplies to children’s hospitals, orphanages and at-risk families; Vasanth Kuppuswamy, 18, of Charleston, S.C., who raised money to improve facilities and buy supplies for a school in India.

Contact: (202) 547-4273,

Alec Dickson Servant Leader Award 

For: Leaders in the service-learning movement who improve the lives of young people and influence others to perform service.

By: National Youth Leadership Council

Winners: James and Pamela Toole of Minnesota, who worked in the council’s professional development department, have written books about service-learning and operate the nonprofit Compass Institute, which works for systemic improvements in education.

Contact: (651) 999-7360,

Awards Available

International Essay Contest for Young People 

For: An individual under age 15 and an individual age 15 to 25 who best explain how to address the social, cultural, environmental or economic problems faced by their communities.

By: The Goi Peace Foundation and United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).

Deadline: June 30

Contact:, 011 81(3) 3265-2071 (Japan).

Advertise Your Cause Media Challenge 

For: Anyone under 20 who creates the most clever new Public Service Announcement campaign idea, using media – such as video, storyboards, print, online banner campaigns or viral marketing concepts – that will have the broadest impact.

By: By Kids For Kids and

Deadline: June 30

Contact: For BKFK, John Forrester at (323) 702-3684, media @ For Do Something, Janell Vantrease, (212) 691-2800.

The Inclusion Champion Award 

For: Individuals who have made a measurable and sustainable impact on promoting the inclusion of youth with disabilities.

By: Mitsubishi Electric America Foundation.

Winner: Marvin Laster, director of the Boys & Girls Clubs of America’s Embracing Inclusion Initiative, who helped develop an inclusion manual, best-practice guide and assessment tool that are used by more than 4,000 Boys & Girls Clubs.

Contact: Torri Dunlap (858) 225-5680,