The Congressional Award and Intuit Launch Personal Finance Program to Help Teens From All Backgrounds ‘Own their Financial Futures’

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Bethie Woodall
woodall@congressionalaward.org

 

 

 

 

 

PDF Version

Washington, DC (October 22, 2020) —Intuit, maker of TurboTax, QuickBooks, and Mint, and the Congressional Award Foundation (CAF) strengthened their commitment to student leaders of diverse economic and social backgrounds, in coordination with CAF’s Diversity & Inclusion Initiative, by launching a new program to help youth take ownership of their financial futures.

The two organizations announced their collaboration, which will address the knowledge-gap in personal finance and prepare tomorrow’s increasingly diverse workforce with the tangible skills and attributes necessary to excel in their professional and personal futures. This collaboration with Intuit will be the founding corporate partnership of CAF’s Diversity & Inclusion Initiative.  The program aims to provide benefits that are inclusive of those in under-served communities across the nation.

“Financial literacy is a critical skill needed to be successful in today’s job market and in the future. Many young people, including those in economically challenged communities, would benefit from increasing their financial literacy to better prepare them for future jobs. We’re proud to partner with the Congressional Award Foundation to empower the next generation to build strong skills that prepare them for future success,” said Chris Leahy, Vice President, Global Corporate Affairs, and Chief Public Policy Officer at Intuit.

In the spirit of CAF’s Diversity & Inclusion Initiative, the program is open to all youth regardless of ability, circumstance, and socioeconomic status. The personal finance program will help students build critical financial knowledge, develop and apply their skills using project based learning activities using real world tools, and enforcing their learnings by volunteering their time to give back to their community.” As part of the program, students will also be encouraged to volunteer their time to give back to their communities.

Participants of the Congressional Award program, current and previous, are encouraged to utilize these resources to hone their money management skills, regardless of where they are starting off.  Whether a student is complete beginner or has experience managing personal finances, the Congressional Award and Intuit have created a program to help those of any background gain expertise for a more secure financial future.

The online Financial Literacy Center consists of four main playlists – Financial Foundations, Investing in your Future, Building Financial Capability, and Adulting.  Each playlist hosts interactive modules and lessons for youth to make their way through as they review topics from how a credit card works, to budgeting, to homeownership, retirement, and more.

The new partners are optimistic that exposure to different simulations, lessons, and curriculum resources will ignite students’ passions and interests in money management.  The program will also create a path for upward mobility for students who may not have access to these resources on their own.

“We are so pleased to offer our medalists and aspiring medalists the opportunity to take control of their future in this way,” said Erica Heyse, National Director of the Congressional Award Foundation. “The program aims to help students implement financial management strategies through a seamless, simple, and fun process.  Our participants can take what they learn from these lessons and apply it to their real lives at a young age.  The impact this can have is immeasurable.”

Partnership Launch

The Congressional Award and Intuit announced their partnership during the 2020 Virtual Gold Medal Ceremony. The announcement directed the class of 478 Gold Medalists to complete the modules as they prepare to graduate high school and college and head off into the workforce.

During the event, medalists also heard from Congressman Jim Himes of Connecticut’s 4th congressional district.  Congressman Himes, a member of the Financial Services Committee, has made it a priority throughout his political career to help American consumers, support small businesses, and assist middle- class families through policy.  “These modules that have been crafted by Intuit and the Congressional Award Foundation will provide immense opportunity for upward mobility in our country’s youth,” says Himes. “All Americans should have the chance to feel secure with their finances, become homeowners, or start small businesses to help grow our economy.  Learning about these principles at a young age is extremely advantageous to individual financial success and to our economy as a whole.”

About The Congressional Award

The Congressional Award is the United States Congress’ only charity and the highest honor bestowed upon a youth civilian through the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives. Established by Congress as a public-private partnership in 1979 under Public Law 96-114, the program recognizes initiative, service, and achievement in youth ages 13 ½ – 23.

About Intuit

Intuit’s mission is to power prosperity around the world. We are a mission-driven, global financial platform company with products including TurboTax, QuickBooks, Mint and Turbo, designed to empower consumers, self-employed and small businesses to improve their financial lives. Our platform and products help customers get more money with the least amount of work, while giving them complete confidence in their actions and decisions. Our innovative ecosystem of financial management solutions serves more than 50 million customers worldwide. Please visit us for the latest news and in-depth information about Intuit and its brands and find us on social. Learn more about our education programs at: www.intuit.com/partners/education-program/.

 

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“Find Your Why”: Congressional Award Foundation Hosts Entrepreneurship Panel for Gold Medalists

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Rachel Mallory, Manager of Corporate Partnerships

mallory@congressionalaward.org


October 7, 2020

Washington, DC

Last Saturday, The Congressional Award Foundation hosted an interactive “Entrepreneurship” Panel as part of the first-ever virtual Gold Medal Ceremony, which honored 478 incredible young leaders with the highest recognition bestowed by Congress.

The panel was moderated by Romero Brown, of Romero Brown Consulting, who led a thoughtful discussion with experienced government and industry leaders, including:

  • Congressman Jim Himes, Represents Connecticut’s 4th Congressional District
  • Brad Knox, Aflac
  • Chiling Tong, National Asian American Chamber of Commerce (ACE)
  • Dr. Brian K. Johnson, Advance Higher Education, LLC
  • Kirk Spahn, Institute for Civic Leadership

Panelists shared valuable life skills and strategies for success in the business world. Attendees were also given the opportunity to ask their own questions related to entrepreneurship and their personal goals.

Finding purpose, networking and learning, and promoting a diverse workplace were highlights of the discussion.

“Find your why,” shares Dr. Brian K. Johnson (Advance Higher Education, LLC), referring to the importance of understanding your purpose for going into business. Dr. Johnson is a seasoned educational administrator and entrepreneur with more than 25 years of experience in higher education, as a professor, consultant, and business owner.

“Be curious and stay curious – always learn,” was advice given by Brad Knox, who joined Aflac in 2006 and is responsible for leading Aflac’s Federal Relations team.

Panelists discussed the value of developing marketing skills and finding opportunities to network with others. Congressman Jim Himes shared how business prepared him for politics, “In business, learn how to communicate and market.”

How can young people explore entrepreneurship? Kirk Spahn of the Institute for Civic Leadership is a fourth-generation educator with more than two decades in the field. To foster creativity, Spahn shares the importance of giving students the environment to thrive – “Encourage the students to dare to dream and dare to take risks.”

The value of diversity in all areas of business was emphasized. Chiling Tong (National ACE) has intensive experience in economic and business development, with a focus on enhancing the growth of minority business enterprises. Tong shares, “Private institutions can implement changes in their company by creating initiatives that foster more diverse and inclusive work environments – companies that establish diversity programs can expect a more innovative office with more creativity and higher retention rates.

The virtual Gold Medal Ceremony, usually held in person at The Capitol Visitor Center, is one of several steps taken by The Congressional Award Foundation to support and celebrate America’s youth during the pandemic. To learn more about some of the other ways The Congressional Award has responded to the pandemic and upcoming programs and updates, visit us at our website.

For reporters working on national stories and/or members of TV, radio, new media broadcasting:

Bethie Woodall, Director of Events & Strategic Communications

woodall@congressionalaward.org

Erica Heyse, National Director

heyse@congressionalaward.org

For reporters working on local stories, partner organization/congressional staff inquiries, or general information:

Matt Tick, Program Director

tick@congressionalaward.org


“We Can Bridge the Gap”: Congressional Award Foundation Hosts Nonprofit Leadership Panel for Gold Medalists

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Rachel Mallory, Manager of Corporate Partnerships

mallory@congressionalaward.org


October 7, 2020

Washington, DC

Last Saturday, The Congressional Award Foundation hosted an interactive “Nonprofit Leadership” Panel as part of the first-ever virtual Gold Medal Ceremony, which honored 478 incredible young leaders with the highest recognition bestowed by Congress.

The panel was moderated by Ray Kerins, Senior Vice President and Head of Communications, Government Relations & Policy for Bayer Corporation, who led a thoughtful discussion with experienced government and industry leaders, including:

  • Congressman David N. Cicilline, Representing Rhode Island’s 1st Congressional District
  • Merrill Eisenhower Atwater, People to People International
  • Depelsha McGruder, The Ford Foundation
  • Adan Gonzalez, The Puede Network
  • Deborah Rutter, The John F. Kennedy Center

The panel discussed the value of nonprofit organizations in the United States, along with the challenges and opportunities that arise when in the nonprofit sector.

“Make sure your voice is heard loudly in the democracy that you are a part of,” expressed Congressman David N. Cicilline. The Congressman also spoke to the value of nonprofits when he served as Mayor of Providence, Rhode Island, expressing that many of his accomplishments during this time were because of “efforts from intense partnerships with nonprofits.”

Merrill Eisenhower Atwater, great-grandson of President Dwight D. Eisenhower, serves as the Chief Executive Officer of People to People International. “We can bridge the gap and promote cultural understanding through tolerance and diversity,” says Atwater, who also shares that education, cultural exchange, and humanitarian work around the world are crucial to their success as an organization.

Adan Gonzalez developed the Puede Network as a way to meet the needs of his community. In the panel, Gonzalez explained how his nonprofit organization started with only seventeen students tutoring in his backyard, but has now grown to reach over 5,000 families in a recreation center. “It is my responsibility to create opportunities that don’t exist in my neighborhood – we are successful when we are no longer a need.”

Depelsha McGruder is the Ford Foundation’s Chief Operating Officer and Treasurer. “The nonprofit world is not without financial pressure,” she explained, encouraging youth to learn valuable business and financial management skills.

How can young people get involved with the causes they care about? Deborah Rutter, President of The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, spoke of her own experiences, “I am doing what I do because I am emotionally drawn to this work. Stay focused and explore opportunities, and you will have success.”

The virtual Gold Medal Ceremony, usually held in person at The Capitol Visitor Center, is one of several steps taken by The Congressional Award Foundation to support and celebrate America’s youth during the pandemic. To learn more about some of the other ways The Congressional Award has responded to the pandemic and upcoming programs and updates, visit us at our website.

For reporters working on national stories and/or members of TV, radio, new media broadcasting:

Bethie Woodall, Director of Events & Strategic Communications

woodall@congressionalaward.org

Erica Heyse, National Director

heyse@congressionalaward.org

For reporters working on local stories, partner organization/congressional staff inquiries, or general information:

Matt Tick, Program Director

tick@congressionalaward.org


“Our Success is How We Are Able to Lead”: Congressional Award Foundation Hosts Women in Leadership Panel for Gold Medalists

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Rachel Mallory, Manager of Corporate Partnerships

mallory@congressionalaward.org


October 7, 2020

Washington, DC

Last Saturday, The Congressional Award Foundation hosted an interactive “Women in Leadership” Panel as part of the first-ever virtual Gold Medal Ceremony, which honored 478 incredible young leaders with the highest recognition bestowed by Congress.

The panel was moderated by Sanyin Siang, Founding Executive Director of the Coach K Leadership and Ethics Center (COLE), who led a thoughtful discussion with experienced government and industry leaders, including:

  • Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee, Representing Texas’ 18th Congressional District
  • Karen Gally, Otsuka
  • Kerry McLean, Intuit
  • Keira Lombardo, Smithfield Foods

Building confidence and fostering curiosity were highlights of the discussion. Attendees were also given the opportunity to ask their own questions related to leadership.

“Our success is how we are able to lead, guide, comfort, and get through it on the other side – so many of our problems today are because people do not understand each other,” shared Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee, in a powerful statement. She encouraged the Gold Medalists to be the champions of seeing people from their eyes to help solve problems and be the solution.

Panelists shared how they have overcome fear when finding their voice in the workplace. Keira Lombardo, who serves as Executive Vice President of Corporate Affairs and Compliance for Smithfield Foods, gave this advice, “If you’re not naturally confident, I found that the only way to get through it is to push yourself to swallow your fear and deliver your message.”

How can young leaders advance in the workplace? “Don’t be afraid to ask for what you want. Be more assertive than you think you should be,” shared Karen Galley, Vice President & General Counsel for Otsuka, a pharmaceutical company.

“Engage fully with everything you do with 100% curiosity,” said Kerry McLean, who leads Intuit’s legal and global corporate affairs teams as they work to support Intuit’s mission of powering prosperity around the world. “Ask a lot of questions, don’t worry so much about what others think.”

The Congressional Award Foundation also announced their partnership with Intuit, maker of TurboTax, QuickBooks, and Mint, to develop their Personal Finance Program to help youth own their financial future while earning hours towards their Congressional Award Personal Development goal. The program is open to all youth regardless of ability, circumstance, and socioeconomic status.

The virtual Gold Medal Ceremony, usually held in person at The Capitol Visitor Center, is one of several steps taken by The Congressional Award Foundation to support and celebrate America’s youth during the pandemic. To learn more about some of the other ways The Congressional Award has responded to the pandemic and upcoming programs and updates, visit us at our website.

For reporters working on national stories and/or members of TV, radio, new media broadcasting:

Bethie Woodall, Director of Events & Strategic Communications

woodall@congressionalaward.org

Erica Heyse, National Director

heyse@congressionalaward.org

For reporters working on local stories, partner organization/congressional staff inquiries, or general information:

Matt Tick, Program Director

tick@congressionalaward.org


“You’ve Got to Use Your Life to Make a Difference.”: Congressional Award Foundation Hosts Race Relations & Social Justice Panel for Gold Medalists

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Bethie Woodall, Director of Events & Strategic Communications

woodall@congressionalaward.org


October 7, 2020

Washington, DC

Last Saturday, The Congressional Award Foundation hosted an interactive “Race Relations & Social Justice” Panel as part of the first-ever virtual Gold Medal Ceremony, which honored 478 incredible young leaders with the highest recognition bestowed by Congress.

The panel was moderated by David Osman, Clinical Quality Program Administrator at Anthem, who led a thoughtful discussion with experienced government and industry leaders, including:

  • Jodie Geddes, Coming to the Table
  • Courtney Christian, PhRMA
  • Councilmember Will Jawando, Montgomery County Council
  • Dr. Hakim J. Lukas, Virginia Union University

Race issues and intersectionality were highlights of the discussion. Attendees were also given the opportunity to ask their own questions related to leadership.

Panelists shared with youth how they can empower one another and influence real change. Dr. Hakim J. Lukas, who serves as the president of HBCU Virginia Union University, gave this advice, “You’ve got to use your life to make a difference.  We need to use our lives in a way that we don’t have to die for change anymore, but we can live for it.”

“A lot of times, people think policy changes can only come from an elected office, but no, policy is happening every day in the rooms that you’re in and the spaces that you occupy… you have the opportunity to influence policy” shared Councilmember Will Jawando, in a powerful statement. He encouraged the Gold Medalists to broaden their perception of what policy is and how we can all influence social, economic, and racial changes in our communities.

What kind of discrimination are we dealing with today? “We are at an inflection point right now, where every industry is trying to figure out how to be better and show up better for black and brown communities… Systemic racism is as real as any disease, and our industry is not immune.” shared Courtney Christian, Senior Director of Policy and Research at PhRMA, a trade group representing companies in the pharmaceutical industry.

“We can dismantle systems and structures, and there is healing work that needs to be done in our bodies, our communities, and with our land” said Jodie Geddes, who serves as Vice President of the Board of Managers of Coming to the Table, a program that provides leadership, resources, and a supportive environment for all who wish to acknowledge and heal wounds from racism that is rooted in the United States’ history of slavery.

The virtual Gold Medal Ceremony, usually held in person at The Capitol Visitor Center, is one of several steps taken by The Congressional Award Foundation to support and celebrate America’s youth during the pandemic. To learn more about some of the other ways The Congressional Award has responded to the pandemic and upcoming programs and updates, visit us at our website.

For reporters working on national stories and/or members of TV, radio, new media broadcasting:

Bethie Woodall, Director of Events & Strategic Communications

woodall@congressionalaward.org

Erica Heyse, National Director

heyse@congressionalaward.org

For reporters working on local stories, partner organization/congressional staff inquiries, or general information:

Matt Tick, Program Director

tick@congressionalaward.org


Washington Nationals Minority Owner, Paxton Baker, Talks Baseball and The Congressional Award

By Anna Laible

Anna Laible is a 15-year old Congressional Award participant from Leighton, PA who is a Kid Reporter for Sports Illustrated Kids. She has covered professional and local events like the NASCAR Pocono 400, MLB Little League Classic, Little League World Series, US Women’s Soccer National Team, USA Luge, UNC – Duke basketball, a Ninja event for a local non-profit, a PA State Football championship, and more!

Check out more of Anna’s stories here.


When do you first remember loving baseball?

I was probably 6 or 7 years old when I fell in love with baseball and started collecting baseball cards. I went away to an academy and my father moved my collection and they were lost. I used to memorize the names and capacities of all the stadiums in the league. I never knew that something like this, that I was passionate about, would end up being very, very helpful to me throughout the course of my career. I was a concert promoter, promoting concerts first at Temple University, and then overseas music festivals in the islands of Saint Lucia, Jamaica, Aruba, Trinidad, Turks and Caicos, Cayman Islands, Barbados, and Bermuda. I later organized shows in Europe, like Amsterdam, Holland, Reykjavík, Iceland and Jakarta, Indonesia. At each venue I would go to I would have to know the capacity in order to sell tickets and know how to move equipment to maximize capacity. So something like baseball, something as simple as remembering statistics and tidbits, ended up helping me in my career.

Did you play baseball as a kid?

I played shortstop and second base. I still love baseball and I play pick up softball every now and then.

What was your favorite baseball team growing up?

The Oakland Athletics. I was born in Los Angeles and my brother was a fan of the Rams and Dodgers. For some reason I liked the Oakland teams, the A’s for baseball and the Raiders for football. They had some great teams in the early 1970s that won multiple World Series championships.

Have you ever owned part of a professional team before the Nationals?

Not prior to the Nationals. Since the Nationals, I joined a partnership with Mark Ein who owns the Washington Kastles of the World TeamTennis league. Not a lot of people necessarily know about the franchise, but it was founded in 1973 by Billy Jean King and it hosts both women and men’s singles, doubles, and mixed doubles. The format is unique because the individual match total counts towards a collective number. You could win one match 5-2 and another 1-5 and the numbers can tilt against you depending on how many you win. Then at the end there may be a runoff for the team that has the most points and they pick which [type of match] they want to do. If they have a really good men’s singles player, they will say they want a men’s single or women’s, they will say women’s single. Now I have the bug, and I’ve been looking at sports opportunities and ownership in other countries as well as teams in other leagues.

What would you say the differences are between minority and majority owners?

Minority owners, in my opinion, kind of add extra sauce and extra energy to our ownership group. The majority owners get the chance to make the final decision because they have the most stock and shares of the team but minority owners add energy, they add relationships. When I first came aboard the Lerner group and we were vying to buy the team from Major League Baseball, they told me I could be as involved or uninvolved as I wanted to be. Originally, when we bought the team from Major League Baseball, I was General Manager of a TV channel and President of a production company called BET (Black Entertainment Television). I traveled 40-42 weeks out of the year so I didn’t have a lot of time to put into the baseball group but I contributed to different components of the operation, helping vendors come into the park and then also forming relationships with City Hall and politicians. Outside of baseball, you may know that I am Chairman of The Congressional Award Foundation, so I have built a lot of relationships with members of Congress. I would say adding my relationships, my ideas, my energy, and my input was what I brought to the ownership team. I think that through these partnerships, even though you have a majority owner, everybody has a chance to give input. And fortunately, my partners [the Lerner family] value our input.

What would you say your favorite part about owning the Nationals is?

Probably living out something that I couldn’t even dream of in my childhood. I am living a dream. I love being able to interface with the Washington, D.C. metropolitan community. I have built a lot of friendships and relationships over the years because of my participation in baseball, so it’s given me a lot of opportunities in other fields.

How did you first get connected with The Congressional Award?

I was General Manager of a company called BET Jazz, and there was a person who worked at the Award as the Development Director. I had known her from when she worked for American Airlines, an airline I still fly with frequently. They originally asked me to run a public service announcement, which are like 30 second TV spots. I produced a public service announcement for them. After that, they asked me if I would join the board of directors, After about a year of service to the board I was voted Vice Chairman and 2 years later, Chairman. I’ve been Chairman for the past 13 years! I really like volunteerism. Throughout the course of my career, I’ve been a volunteer on multiple occasions. I think volunteerism is something that is very important, something that is near and dear to my heart. When I’m asked to volunteer, the answer is generally always, “Yes.” The Congressional Award gives me a good opportunity to participate with youth, engage in volunteerism, and be a good, positive civic servant. To me, the leader is someone who actually serves the organization and that’s something I really appreciate doing.

What do you think is the most important aspect of The Congressional Award?

Giving volunteerism a direction. The components of Voluntary Public Service, Personal Development, Physical Fitness, and Expedition/Exploration weaves it all together in a quality program that young people can participate in and grow with. They can have check marks, like all those really good questions that you have on your list. Your work gives you a good stature on how to direct and put things together.

What would you say to kids who are interested in starting The Congressional Award?

I think it’s a wonderful program and it requires a lot of discipline as you know. Discipline, sticking with your goals, and follow through are vital to completing the program. It’s a hard program, so it’s not something that you can just buzz and whizz through. You have to be focused on it, very directed. If you can get into it and stick with it, it will be a meaningful experience in your life and you will know that you have accomplished something special.

478 Youth Presented with Congressional Award Gold Medal

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – written by Jordan Lindsey
September 28, 2020
Washington, DC

For a condensed PDF press release, click here.

The program’s first-ever virtual event took time this past Saturday to recognize students for their dedication to initiative, achievement, and service.


WASHINGTON, D.C., September 26, 2020 — Last Saturday, the United States Congress honored 478 incredible young leaders with The Congressional Award Gold Medal in the program’s first-ever virtual Gold Medal Ceremony.  Due to the coronavirus pandemic, this is the first year the Gold Medal Ceremony has been held virtually,  providing a unique opportunity to celebrate the efforts made by some of America’s most exceptional youth.

The Congressional Award Gold Medal is the highest honor that a Member of Congress can bestow upon a youth civilian. This year’s Gold Medalists are the most recent addition to an exceptional group of individuals who have received the prestigious award throughout the program’s 41-year history. Each Gold Medalist has completed at least 400 hours of Voluntary Public Service, 200 hours of Personal Development and Physical Fitness, respectively, and a 5 day, 4-night Expedition/Exploration over the span of a minimum two years.

Hosted by the Chairman of The Congressional Award, Paxton Baker, the ceremony began with an inspiring video message from Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi. Pelosi congratulated the medalists and encouraged their continued commitment amidst the pandemic:

“Our nation is at a pivotal moment, as our communities confront the unprecedented coronavirus crisis and fight the systemic injustices that continue to undermine the strength of our democracy. If we are to meet these enormous challenges, we need your leadership, your imagination, and your commitment to serving others.”

Throughout the ceremony video, Chairman Baker took viewers to several of Washington, D.C.’s landmarks including the Capitol Building, Nationals Park, the Washington Monument, and the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial.  Chairman Baker also interviewed each of the ceremony’s special guests: Wolf Blitzer, Senator Mike Enzi, and Emmitt Smith.

Speaking from his experience in becoming a journalist and CNN’s Lead Anchor, Wolf Blitzer encouraged the medalists,

“Find what you really, really love doing and see if there’s a good career path you can take, that will enable you to do that on a day-to-day basis. You’ll do it well—if you love what you’re doing.”

United States Senator from Wyoming, Mike Enzi humbly told Chairman Baker,

“My reward is watching the youth respond to Congressional Awards, and develop through Congressional Awards, and then do things after the Congressional Awards.”

NFL Hall of Famer and businessman Emmitt Smith shared the wisdom he had gained from his family and throughout his career,

“We all have a responsibility to each other, not only to earn the right to be respected and give respect, but to take the opportunity to help another person in need.”

Videos and photos submitted by the Gold Medalists were shown with participants highlighting aspects of the program that meant most to them. Medalist Abhinav Krishnan from North Carolina said,

“The Congressional Award program has given me the ability to see past my social circles in my everyday life and see the true challenges that my real community faces.”

Carson Beck of Arizona commented on some of his Voluntary Public Service work:

“I was able to learn about giving back to my community through raising money for wounded veterans, and redoing a rock wall for a youth outreach center in my community.”

Lavanya Neti from California told viewers how the program

“inspired me to start my own non-profit, Schools for Success, where I guide and motivate other young people to complete their own charitable projects.”

Among other medalists’ videos, special remarks were given by Congresswoman Katie Porter (CA-45), Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee (TX-18), Congressman Richard Hudson (NC-8), and Congresswoman Liz Cheney (WY-0).

“I hope you all will join me in congratulating these young people for all their hard work in making our community a better place,” said Congresswoman Porter, who’s district had the most Gold Medalists this year, with 42 awardees.

Also giving special remarks was Senator for New York, Kirsten Gillibrand, who told the medalists

“Your dedication and service to your communities is needed now more than ever. You’ve shown you not only have what it takes to lead the next generation, but to lead our country into the future.”

As the ceremony video came to a close, viewers were shown a message from Senate Majority Leader, Mitch McConnell:

“I’m proud of the bright young people in Kentucky, and around the country, who have committed time and talent to serving their communities. I’m excited to see all the good that you’ll continue to do.”

Following the ceremony video, Gold Medalists tuned in for a Keynote Address from Congressional Award Board Member and past Gold Medalist (class of ’04) Mateo Magdaleno. Magdaleno is an internationally known, community servant leader and professional empowerment speaker with an inspiring story that stresses the importance of never giving up on the pursuit of an education despite the challenges involved.

Focus on the things you do have, and not the things you don’t have. Work with what you’ve got! We can change our attitudes towards our circumstances. Choose happiness. Choose gratitude.”

Following the Keynote, National Director of The Congressional Award, Erica Heyse made a few exciting announcements and conducted live giveaways for Washington Nationals merch.

Among the announcements was The Congressional Award’s latest partnership in coordination with the program’s Diversity & Inclusion initiative, with Intuit.

Check out The Congressional Award’s Personal Finance Program, powered by Intuit, here.

The medalists then joined virtual break-out networking sessions with The Congressional Award Board Members, sharing their experiences with the program, their interests, and taking advantage of the opportunity to connect with their peers.

Four afternoon panels on topics of interests to the medalists included discussions around nonprofit leadership, race relations and social justice, women in leadership, and entrepreneurship. Panelists featured an array of social, government, and industry leaders committed to work in each area of focus.


Panel #1 | Women in Leadership: Breaking Barriers and Shattering Glass Ceilings

  • Keira Lombardo (Executive Vice President, Corporate Affairs and Compliance, Smithfield Foods)
  • Kerry McClean (Executive Vice President, General Counsel and Corporate Secretary, Intuit)
  • Karen Gally (Vice President & General Counsel, Otsuka)
  • Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee (Texas’ 18th Congressional District)

Moderator:

  • Sanyin Siang (Founding Executive Director, COLE, Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business)

Panel #2 | Nonprofit Leadership: Where Business and Social Change Intersect

  • Merrill Eisenhower Atwater (CEO, People to People International)
  • Adan Gonzalez (Founder & Executive Director, Puede Network)
  • Deborah Rutter (President, The Kennedy Center)
  • Depelsha McGruder (COO & Treasurer, Ford Foundation)
  • Congressman David Cicilline (Rhode Island’s 1st Congressional District)

Moderator:

  • Ray Kerins (Senior Vice President and Head of Communications, Government Relations & Policy, Bayer)

Panel #3 | Entrepreneurship: Betting on Yourself

  • Brian K. Johnson (President & CEO, Advance Higher Ed LLC)
  • Brad Knox (Senior Vice President & Counsel, Aflac)
  • Chiling Tong (President & CEO, National ACE)
  • Kirk Spahn (Founder & President, Institute for Civic Leadership)
  • Congressman Jim Himes (Connecticut’s 4th Congressional District)

Moderator:

  • Romero Brown (CEO, Romero Brown Consulting)

Panel #4 | Race Relations & Social Justice: Not a Trend, but a Lifelong Commitment to Progress

  • Dr. Hakim J. Lucas (President & CEO, Virginia Union University)
  • Councilmember Will Jawando (Montgomery County Council, Attorney, Activist)
  • Courtney Christian (Senior Director of Policy and Research, PhRMA)
  • Jodie Geddes (Co-Manager, Coming to the Table)

Moderator:

  • David Osman (Clinical Quality Program Administrator, Anthem)

The virtual ceremony, usually held in person at The Capitol Visitor Center, is one of several steps taken by The Congressional Award Foundation to support and celebrate America’s youth during the pandemic. To learn about some of the ways The Congressional Award has responded to the pandemic and upcoming programs and updates visit us at our website.

The Gold Medalist Class of 2020 come from 41 states, contributing a combined total of over 226,000 hours of Voluntary Public Service to their communities – the states with the highest number of awardees being California, Wyoming, Texas, New Jersey, and New York. See our fact sheet for our full list of medalists from this year and other interesting facts.


For reporters working on national stories and/or members of TV, radio, new media broadcasting:
Bethie Woodall
woodall@congressionalaward.org

Erica Heyse
heyse@congressionalaward.org

For reporters working on local stories, partner organization/congressional staff inquiries, or general information:
Matt Tick
tick@congressionalaward.org

U.S. Congress to Honor Youth Nationwide with Congressional Award Gold Medal in First-Ever Virtual Ceremony

MEDIA ADVISORY
Contact: Bethie Woodall | woodall@congressionalaward.org
Download PDF Version


What
The Congressional Award Gold Medal Ceremony will recognize 478 Congressional Award recipients across the nation for their goal-setting achievements in voluntary public service, personal development, physical fitness, and expedition/exploration.

When
Saturday, September 26, 2020
1:00 p.m. ET

1:00 p.m. | Ceremony Opening & Medalist Recognition
2:00 p.m. | Keynote & Giveaways
2:15 p.m. | Medalist Break-Out Groups & Networking
3:00 p.m. | Panel Discussions

 

Where
The ceremony, which is traditionally held in the Congressional Auditorium at the U.S. Capitol Visitor’s Center, will take place virtually this year.

Who
The Gold Medalists, their families, as well as loved ones will virtually attend. The Gold Medal Ceremony will include video messages from various Members of both the House and the Senate as well as influential speakers including messages from Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, and interviews with guests Wolf Blitzer, Emmitt Smith, and Senator Mike Enzi.

Media Information
View a list of this year’s 478 awardees (including hometowns).
Download a copy of the ceremony program.
Full event info, as well as the full list of panelists and moderators, can be found here on our website.


The Congressional Award is the U.S. Congress’ only charity and the highest honor bestowed upon a young person through the Senate and House. Established by Congress as a public-private partnership in 1979 under Public Law 96-114, the program recognizes initiative, service, and achievement in youth ages 13 ½ – 23.

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Virtual Expeditions & Explorations

Participants may submit Virtual Expeditions/Explorations through January 2021


Due to travel restrictions and safety concerns associated with the COVID-19 pandemic, all participants will be able to submit Virtual Expeditions/Explorations with modified guidelines through January 1, 2021.

Each participant will be required to choose a country/location and pick activities from the guide below to explore the history, culture, and customs of the location they have chosen. If multiple countries or locations are chosen, participants will be given the option to compare and contrast the locations through their activities and research.

Submission Requirements

Bronze Certificate: 1 activity with a 1-page write-up
Silver Certificate: 2 activities with a 2-page write-up
Gold Certificate: 3 activities with a 3-page write-up
Bronze Medal: 4 activities with a 5-6-page write-up
Silver Medal: 5 activities with a 7-8-page write-up
Gold Medal: 6 activities with a 9-10-page write-up


Activity Guide

Virtual Museum Tours: Participate in a virtual tour of the museum(s) of your choice and discuss the history of some of your favorite pieces and how each influenced the history and culture of your chosen country.

National Park Tours: Embark on a virtual tour of a national park(s) and explore related topics (i.e. geology of the park, local flora/fauna, etc.) of your choice and discuss the geological make-up of the park, the wildlife, and how the park has changed over the years.

National/International Landmark Tours: Virtually visit a landmark and discuss its history as well as some facts that you learned from the tour.

Literary Art Review: Watch your favorite international film or read one of the classic books from your country. If you cannot find either a film or book, newspapers, articles, journals, and poetry are also acceptable. Provide a detailed write-up discussing the impact the film/book/scholarly work had on the country and how that literary work shaped thoughts and society during that time.

Documentary Review: Watch and review a documentary on a particular location and prepare a write-up discussing the movie.

Interview a Local: Take time to interview someone who lives in the country or works at the museum/landmark you are writing a report on. Your write-up should include details of the interview and what you learned from the discussion.

A Taste of the World: Prepare a favorite/new food that represents the location you are researching. Provide a detailed write-up on your preparation as well as the origins of the food or drink, if applicable. Many traditional foods have stories so be sure to include this in your write-up.

Architectural Review: Research and study buildings or structures from your chosen location and provide a detailed write-up on the influences, impacts, and history of the architecture. You may also compare and contrast architecture from different periods of time within your chosen location, or compare more than one location.


Write-Up Guidelines

If a participant chooses a Virtual Expedition/Exploration over a traditional Expedition/Exploration, the activity guide prompts and questions below will replace the questions on the standard Record Book Expedition/Exploration page. Each write-up should fully address the prompts from the activity guide as well as the questions below.

1) What interests you about the topic you chose to learn about? Do you have a personal connection to the place or culture that you studied? Was this somewhere that you were planning to travel in person before you had to change your plans and stay home, or somewhere that you might never have thought to go on your own?

2) Why did you choose the specific activities? If you chose to consume media (art, literature, film, etc.) what drew you to the form that you chose? If you chose something hands-on, was this a skill you already possessed, or were you starting from scratch?

3) Did you have a specific plan about how you were going to complete your activities? Please discuss the steps you took to complete your required activities. How did you do your research? Did you search the internet for films to watch, or call someone who might be able to share recipes? Please be detailed about your journey from the planning stages to the finished product.

4) Did your activities raise any new questions for you about your topic? If you were going to start your project over, what would you do differently? Did you miss any important details in your original plan? If someone wanted to follow your plan, would they be fully immersed in your topic?

5) If you were traveling to learn about your topic in person, how would your experience have been different? How would being in a museum to learn about your topic have been different than learning it at home? Would you have faced a significant language barrier? Did you learn more about a part of the world that is either hazardous or logistically difficult to reach? How would travelling in person have changed what kind of immersion you were willing to take on?

6) Did your activities open a topic you would like to explore more in the future? Do you feel motivated to engage with this topic in person in the future? How did your activities challenge any ideas you might have had coming into your topic? If you are not motivated to explore this topic more in the future, why is that?

7) What interesting facts did you learn about the history and culture of the location/destination you researched?

Write-Up Template

Use this template for your Virtual Expedition/Exploration write-up.

The Foundation Announces Task Force on Curriculum and Virtual Programming

Education Leaders Unite to Develop Emotional and Mental Health Summer Programs for Students


WASHINGTON, D.C., May 19, 2020 — Today, The Congressional Award Foundation (CAF), the United States Congress’ public-private partnership for young Americans, created the Task Force on Curriculum and Virtual Programming, following the suspension of its annual Gold Medal Ceremony. The task force will provide middle, high school, and college students with at-home resources for emotional and mental health, STEM education, and opportunities to remain engaged in community service. The group is chaired by CAF board member Dr. Linda Mitchell, extension professor and regional extension coordinator, Mississippi State University.

The Congressional Award Foundation Task Force on Curriculum and Virtual Programming is developing content for students and educators alike within virtual learning platforms. The task force recently released opportunities for Congressional Award participants to complete their goals from the safety of their homes with the introduction of Tools and Tips in the Age of Coronavirus and Feel Good News: Participants Answering the Call to Service. Guest speakers, lecturers, Congressional Award presentations, guidance for effective goal-setting, and opportunities to meet immediate needs through volunteerism are among the programs that will soon be available.

“We are excited to bring together an alliance of exceptional leaders in education to assist in the evolution of The Congressional Award Foundation and how it serves America’s youngest constituents during these challenging times,” said Paxton Baker, Chairman of the Board of The Congressional Award Foundation. “Many of our teens are withdrawing and finding it difficult to navigate through this period of isolation away from friends, sports, and hobbies. There is concern from parents and teachers that students do not have the experience with self-care and methodology to bring joy and passion back into their lives. We are committed to filling that void.”

Among the committee, members include Congressional Award Foundation board of directors and alumni in the education and non-profit sectors: Dr. Brian Johnson, president & CEO, Advance Higher Ed, LLC (Washington, D.C.); Kathryn Weeden, former principal, United States Senate Page School (Washington, D.C.); Laura O’Connor, registrar, Cedar Valley High School (Eagle Mountain, Utah); Mateo Magdaleno, chief education officer, IDQ Group, Inc. (Dallas, Texas); Mitch Draizin, president, CUNY LGBT Advisory Council (New York, New York); and Romero Brown, chief professional officer, Romero Brown Consulting (Acworth, Georgia).

The committee formed in response to the suspension of The Congressional Award Gold Medal Ceremony, prompted by the COVID-19 pandemic, originally scheduled to take place June 15-17, 2020 at the United States Capitol. The Ceremony traditionally welcomes members of the United States Congress, public and private partners, and industry and civic leaders to recognize gold medalists before an audience of their families and peers in a multi-day event. Last year’s ceremony recognized 538 youth across 42 states and territories who logged at least 800 hours of voluntary public service, personal development, physical fitness, and expedition/exploration activities.

To learn more about The Congressional Award or to support the mission during this transition, including donations, please visit www.congressionalward.org.

About
The Congressional Award is the United States Congress’ only charity and the highest honor bestowed upon a youth civilian through the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives. Established by Congress as a public-private partnership in 1979 under Public Law 96-114, the program recognizes initiative, service, and achievement in youth ages 13 ½ – 23.

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Download PDF Version

Contact:
Kyle Rosenbaum, for The Congressional Award
(212) 266-0222
krosenbaum@kylearnett.com