Story by Peggy Hodgsen Kremer
Click HERE for nomination form.
Nominations are open for the 2024 Jefferson Awards – known as the Nobel Prize for community service.
Greater Cincinnati is one of over 90 communities in the country that present a local Jefferson Award, said Bill Shula of Bethel, who chairs the local awards program that is administered by the Rotary Club of Cincinnati. Doug Adams of Indian Hill, a 2005 local Jefferson Award winner, is assistant chair.
The local winner will become a finalist for one of the five prestigious national awards presented in Washington, D.C. in June by the national service organization Multiplying Good. In the past 17 years, nine local awardees have gone on to become national winners.
“Rotary administers the local selection process, but you don’t have to be associated with the Rotary to be nominated,” said Shula. “The award recognizes a special person in our community who has created a program that serves an unmet need, or a special volunteer who has provided extraordinary services to an organization,” said Shula.
“Many of these organizations have roots in very personal experiences. People have seen a need and worked to make a real and lasting difference.”
Local awardees have championed programs focusing on hunger, teen suicide, homelessness, cancer care, education, health, family needs and youth programs building character and confidence.
Shula said the awards program is a showcase for what’s good in our community. “It is inspiring to see what we have going on in our community and the services that our residents can access,” he said.
The national Jefferson Awards program was founded in 1972 by Cincinnati native Robert Taft and former first lady Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis. Besides honoring community service through five national Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Awards for Outstanding Public Service Benefiting Local Communities, the Jefferson Awards include recognitions for outstanding service in more than a dozen categories, from service by public officials and professional sports figures to service by private citizens, students and corporations.
Deadline to submit a nomination is 5 p.m. Feb. 16. The local award program will be March 21, with emcee Tanya O’Roarke of WCPO Channel 9. The Cincinnati Enquirer partners with The Rotary Club of Cincinnati to present the local awards program.
The Rotary Club of Cincinnati was Cincinnati’s first Rotary Club, founded in 1910. It is a service and networking organization for business and community leaders and has a mission to provide selfless service in the community and the world.