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

Voluntary Public Service Requirement Leniency

The Foundation lifts restrictions of direct vs. indirect service requirements for the foreseeable future


We understand that this is a trying time for participants and their families, especially when it comes to completing Voluntary Public Service activities while quarantined. The Foundation wants to ensure that we are supporting youth and providing avenues for success in our program during this unprecedented time.

Our current guidelines require that at least 75% of Voluntary Public Service activities be direct service hours in which participants are interacting with and providing a direct service to the community they are serving. No more than 25% of Voluntary Public Service should be indirect service like planning, training, fundraising, etc.

However, given the current circumstances of COVID-19 and in order to ensure the safety of participants, The Congressional Award will lift the restrictions of direct vs. indirect service requirements for the foreseeable future, enabling participants to complete their activities from their homes.

We encourage participants to change or adjust their goals to conform to social distancing/stay at home practices and advise that participants discuss these challenges and how they overcame them on their Record Book submissions.

Additionally, our team has been working to identify new and creative ways that participants might be able to complete Voluntary Public Service hours in the age of coronavirus.

The following are projects worth considering:

  • Meeting immediate needs: Making and/or securing PPE (personal protective equipment) like masks, face shields, isolation gowns, disposable gloves to be donated to health workers.
  • Volunteering remotely for non-profit organizations
  • Assisting public schools with the implementation of remote learning and/or helping educators with grading/administrative work
  • Virtual tutoring/mentoring
  • Packaging and delivering essential supplies to the elderly or home-bound or to students who rely on meals from their schools
  • Organizing digital fundraisers for non-profits or crisis response groups
  • Writing letters to those serving in the armed forces abroad, children in medical isolation, or persons under quarantine
  • Making articles of clothing for hospital patients
  • Donating blood the safe way
  • Making signs and writing thank you notes for first responders, hospital staff, and medical workers.

Safety is paramount. Participants should remember to always protect themselves and follow recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and state/local officials when setting their goals.

Find additional tools and tips for completing The Congressional Award from home here.

Our team remains a resource as we all navigate this ever-evolving situation. Participants that want feedback on their service ideas should contact their program manager.

Ford’s Pamela Alexander, Larry H. Miller’s Amanda Covington Join Congressional Award Board of Directors

Washington, DC (March 10, 2020) — The Congressional Award Foundation announces the election of Pamela Alexander and Amanda Covington to the National Board of Directors, effective immediately.

“We’re privileged to welcome Amanda and Pamela to our team during a time of growth and innovation for our organization. Each bring unique talents and perspectives that will strengthen our leadership and tighten our focus on the future of Congress’ award program for youth,” said Paxton K. Baker, Chairman of The Congressional Award Board of Directors.

Pamela Alexander is Director of Community Development for Ford Motor Company Fund, the philanthropic arm of Ford Motor Company.

In this position she is responsible for leading Ford Fund’s community engagement and outreach initiatives with key non-profit organizations throughout the U.S. These include Ford Fund’s nationally recognized teen driving program, Driving Skills for Life, multicultural and women’s initiatives, and community development programs.

Prior to her appointment in the Ford Fund, Pamela held a variety of positions in the Ford Motor Company Governmental Affairs office, ranging from policy development on strategic issues and manager of the Company’s PAC and grassroots activities.

Ms. Alexander dedicates her time and has served on various nonprofit boards including the GRAMMY Museum Foundation, the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, the NAACP Foundation, the Memorial Foundation, the National Civil Rights Museum, and the Dean’s Advisory Committee of the University of Michigan School of Dentistry.

Recognized as one of Ebony Magazines 2020 Power 100, Ms. Alexander has also been honored with a “High Heels in High Places” award by the Trumpet Foundation, a “Corporate Trailblazer” award from Rainbow PUSH, the Community Service award from the Arab American and Chaldean Council, and was in African Americans on Wheels as one of the auto industry’s most influential African-American women.

Amanda Covington is Chief Communications & Government Relations Officer for the Larry H. Miller Group of Companies.

She recently served as Senior Vice President, Communications and Government Relations for Vista Outdoor Inc. Covington has more than 20 years of experience leading corporate communications and government relations strategies impacting financial communications, crisis communications, domestic and international media/public relations, corporate branding and advertising, digital media, employee relations, public policy and legislation, industry associations, and community relations.

Covington serves as both a trustee and a board member for the Walker Institute of Politics and Public Service for Weber State University, an advisory board member for the Utah Women’s Leadership Institute, a member of the University of Utah College of Social and Behavioral Science Advancement Board, and a board member of the Utah chapter of National Association of Corporate Directors.

Learn more about Pamela and Amanda here.

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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Call for 2020 Gold Medal Record Books

Going for Gold this year?

In order to be eligible for the 2020 Gold Medal class, participants must meet two deadlines:
Record Books are due no later than February 1, 2020
Revisions are due no later than March 15, 2020


Are you planning to be part of the annual Gold Medal Ceremony in Washington, D.C. this summer? Be sure to submit your Gold Medal Record Book to the national office no later than February 1, 2020 at 11:59 p.m ET. This is a postmark, email, and fax deadline.

Submissions made after February 1st will be grouped with the 2021 Gold Medal class.

If you currently have a submission in review or pending, you have until March 15, 2020 at 11:59 p.m. ET to submit any revisions.

Unsure about your status?
Contact your state’s program manager with your question.

Meet the 2020 Gold Medal class:
Once again, this year’s class is on pace to be the largest in program history. See where each hail from.

$25.00 Registration Fee Takes Effect January 1, 2020

The participant registration fee will increase from $15.00 USD to $25.00 USD for all new enrollees. This new policy will take effect on January 1, 2020.


Participants that have already registered are in no way affected by the fee increase. Those that register online prior to 12:00 a.m. ET on January 1, 2020 will continue to pay the one-time $15.00 USD registration fee.

The registration fee will be used to offset increased program and administrative costs associated with the day-to-day business of the organization – including new program materials and postage. As The Congressional Award is completely privately funded, the fee increase will help maintain the quality of the program from initial registration through the Gold Medal level for every youth.

As always, The Congressional Award Foundation strives to maintain a low cost for all young people participating in the program. The last change in the fee structure was in January 2011 when the registration fee increased from $10.00 USD to $15.00 USD per participant.

It is important to note that the registration fee is not designed to prohibit or deter new participants from enrolling in the program. Youth that need financial assistance should contact the National Office at (202) 226-0130 or information@congressionalaward.org.

Southern California Student Leaders Earn Congress’ Award for Youth

Yorba Linda, CA (November 14, 2019) — On Saturday, November 9, 2019, The Congressional Award Southern California Ceremony presented by Otsuka America Pharmaceutical, Inc. recognized nearly 200 student leaders for personal goal-setting and acts of citizenship.

U.S. Representatives Judy Chu (CA-27), Gil Cisneros (CA-39), and Katie Porter (CA-45) presented the awards on behalf of the United States Congress at the Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum in Yorba Linda, California.

U.S. Representatives Chu and Porter present The Congressional Award Silver Medal to Thomas Williamson of Anaheim Hills.

“It is my privilege to honor these incredible youth with The Congressional Award, the highest award for youth legislated and presented by the United States Congress,” said Congresswoman Judy Chu. “In order to qualify, these honorees have volunteered their time to achieve goals in public service, personal development, physical fitness, and expedition/exploration. I have been so impressed by the creativity and care demonstrated by these young people. Their devotion to success is a benefit to our entire area, and an example to others. Congratulations!”

The event was made possible by Otsuka America Pharmaceutical, Inc., who served as the Title Sponsor. On a journey of creativity and innovation for more than 95 years, the San Francisco based global pharmaceutical business has not only discovered and developed treatments for complex medical conditions – but made a deliberate effort to engage youth in local communities.

Congressman Cisneros delivers remarks the recipients and guests.

Congressman Cisneros delivers remarks the recipients and guests.“I want to congratulate all 22 recipients of The Congressional Award for California’s 39th district,” said Congressman Gil Cisneros. “I am constantly impressed by the abundance of talented youth in our community. Their unwavering commitment to improving themselves and others around them is truly inspiring. The Congressional Award program has challenged our youth, and it is great to see CA-39 students answering the call and not only exceeding, but demonstrating that they will be future leaders. It was a privilege to recognize each of the awardees accomplishments and join their families in celebration.”

The ceremony also borrowed the talents of FOX 5 San Diego’s Chris Murphy as master of ceremonies.

After the ceremony, recipients and guests were able to tour the presidential library and museum.

“As a UC Irvine professor, I’ve witnessed up close and personal the tenacity and compassion of young people in our community,” Congresswoman Katie Porter said. “I was proud to recognize the accomplishments of the 187 Congressional Award recipients from Southern California, and I look forward to seeing what they’ll accomplish in the future.”

Congressional Awardees receive recognition for their accomplishment.

Congressional Awardees receive recognition for their accomplishment.California ranks number one in both the number of enrolled participants and Congressional Awards earned annually. The Golden State’s 24th-53rd congressional districts have produced 7,431 awardees all-time. There are currently 6,535 participants pursuing the award in the region. The 187 Congressional Award Medalists honored this year contributed 38,749 hours of voluntary public service to their communities.

Download the program for event details and full recipient list.

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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Atrium Health’s Jim Dunn Brings Expertise in Culture, Diversity and Inclusion to Congressional Award Board of Directors

Washington, DC (November 5, 2019) — Elected to The Congressional Award Foundation’s National Board of Directors in June 2019, Jim Dunn has since helped steer the organization’s recruitment strategy and participant engagement by focusing on inclusion and creating content that inspires.

Jim Dunn, PhD, DHA, DAST, FACHE, currently serves as Executive Vice President and System Chief Human Resources Officer for Atrium Health, one of the most comprehensive and highly integrated not-for-profit healthcare systems in the nation. As a member of the executive leadership team, Dunn leads teams that focus on the engagement of Atrium Health teammates – from recruitment through retirement.

“I am thrilled and honored to have been selected to serve on The Congressional Award Foundation Board as the U.S. Congress’ only charity and award program for youth,” said Dunn. “Its mission of recognizing initiative, service, and overall achievement aligns with both Atrium Health’s mission of health, hope and healing for all but also my own personal passion of developing future generations of workforce leaders.”

Dunn is revered as a national expert in culture, diversity and inclusion, and the employee experience.

Prior to joining Atrium Health in April 2018, Jim served as Executive Vice President and Chief Talent Officer for Parkland Health and Hospital System in Dallas, Texas, Human Resources and Learning Executive for the Cleveland Clinic, Chief Learning Officer for Texas Health Resources, and National Vice President of Human Resources and Talent Retention Strategies for the American Cancer Society.

His work history also includes progressively responsible roles as a research scientist with the Georgia Tech Research Institute and leading the global human resources operations for former President Jimmy Carter at the Carter Presidential Center in Atlanta.

Among his notable achievements, Dunn has received the Outstanding Business Leader Award from the Dallas Business Journal, the South Dallas Outstanding Leader Award, and the Global Strategic HR and OD Award from the Organizational Development Institute for his work on informal cultures. He also was named among the 2018 Most Influential African-Americans in Corporate America by Savoy Magazine.

Dunn holds a bachelor’s degree in chemistry and macro-environmental science from Howard University, a master’s degree in business administration from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), and a Master of Public Health degree in occupational health from Emory University. Additionally, he holds multiple doctoral degrees in education, organizational development, and healthcare administration from Emory University, Benedictine University, and the Medical University of South Carolina, respectively.

He has served as adjunct and distinguished faculty for multiple universities including the Harvard School of Public Health, MIT Sloan School of Management, Morehouse School of Medicine, Emory University, University of Chicago and the University of Texas at Dallas.

He is also a state registered professional mediator, specializing in workplace conflict resolution strategies, and a fellow (FACHE) and faculty member of the American College of Healthcare Executives.

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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Merrill Eisenhower Atwater, Vanessa Green Sinders Elected to Congressional Award Board of Directors

Washington, DC (October 24, 2019) —The Congressional Award Foundation announces the election of Merrill Eisenhower Atwater and Vanessa Green Sinders to the National Board of Directors, effective immediately.

“These additions to the Board of Directors truly bolster our already impressive team,” said Paxton K. Baker, Chairman of The Congressional Award National Board of Directors. “Merrill and Vanessa each bring unique skill sets from their respective industries and will play a vital role in shaping the future and direction of our organization.”

Merrill Eisenhower Atwater is the Chief Executive Officer of People to People International. Since assuming this role in 2018, he has conducted a campaign of global partnership and understanding.

As both a globally and locally recognized influential leader, Merrill has been recognized with numerous honors and awards. He was recently chosen as the Honorary Ambassador to Chuncheon City in South Korea, was recognized nationally by the Federal Aviation Administration for his work in Kansas Aviation with the Impact Award, and was also included in Business Magazine, Ingram’s 40 Under 40.

Before joining People to People International, he served as the Director of Aviation for the state of Kansas and held numerous successful positions conducting international business and relations for global companies.

Merrill is the great-grandson of President Dwight D. Eisenhower and has been a long-term ambassador for The Congressional Award Foundation.

Vanessa Green Sinders is the Senior Vice President for Federal Legislative Affairs at Charter Communications.

In this role, she is responsible for directing the company’s strategic policy and political engagement with Congress and the Administration.

Previously, Vanessa served as the Senior Vice President and Department Head for Government Affairs at the American Hotel and Lodging Association and Chief of Staff for the Campaign to Fix the Debt.

Additionally, Vanessa spent almost ten years working in the U.S. Senate where she served as Chief of Staff to U.S. Senator Scott Brown and Policy Director for U.S. Senator Judd Gregg.

Learn more about Merrill and Vanessa here.

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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Reps. Malinowski, Payne, Jr. Honor New Jersey Youth with The Congressional Award

Summit, NJ (September 26, 2019) — Nearly 100 New Jersey student leaders were recognized by Congress for their personal goal setting and community service at a statewide Congressional Award ceremony held on Saturday, September 21, 2019.

U.S. Representatives Tom Malinowski (NJ-07) and Donald Payne, Jr. (NJ-10) presented the awards on behalf of Congress.

“I want to congratulate all 98 recipients of The Congressional Award for New Jersey,” said Congressman Payne, Jr. “I was excited to give our youth such a prestigious honor. I know it was not easy to earn. But they showed tremendous character in their commitment to the goals they set for the program. I am very proud of them and look forward to being part of the ceremony again next year.”

Congressman Malinowksi assured guests that the future was in good hands with these students assuming leadership roles. “This country belongs to you, the young people. And it’s up to you to make it better. And that’s what you all have done – you’ve decided you must step up and do something.”

Anesha Santhanam of Edison, NJ receives the Silver Medal from U.S. Representatives Payne, Jr. and Malinowski and Celgene’s Patrick Gliha and Rich Bagger.

The event was made possible by Celgene Corporation, who once again served as the Title Sponsor and host venue. The global biopharmaceutical company has become a perennial partner of Congress’ award program for youth by supporting the development of the program both locally and nationally.

Celgene’s Rich Bagger, Executive Vice President of Corporate Affairs & Market Access, and Patrick Gliha, Senior Director of State Government Relations and a member of The Congressional Award’s Board of Directors, were on hand to congratulate this year’s honorees.

The ceremony borrowed the talents of WABC-TV journalist Anthony Johnson as master of ceremonies.

Attendees look on as Congressman Payne, Jr. delivers his remarks.

New Jersey remains one of the most active states in The Congressional Award’s national portfolio, ranking within the top ten states in both the number of enrolled participants and number of awards earned. The Garden State has produced 6,622 awardees all-time. There are currently 4,563 participants pursuing the award. The 98 New Jersey Congressional Award Medalists being honored this year have contributed 22,634 hours of voluntary public service to their communities.

Learn more about this year’s recipients with the ceremony program and photo gallery.

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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Gary Payton Selected as Horizon Award Recipient

Washington, DC (September 17, 2019) — Congress will honor former NBA player Gary Payton with the Horizon Award at The Congressional Award Foundation’s 25th Annual Golf Classic on September 23, 2019.


Embraced as one of the most prolific point guards of all time, Gary Payton played 17 seasons in the NBA for the Seattle Super Sonics, Milwaukee Bucks, Los Angeles Lakers, Boston Celtics, and Miami Heat. Nicknamed “The Glove,” Payton remains the only point guard to win the NBA Defensive Player of the Year award.

Payton is a two-time Olympic Gold Medalist (1996, 2000), NBA Champion (2006), nine-time NBA All-Star, NBA Defensive Player of the Year (1996), and was inducted into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame in 2013.

While his accolades on the court are enough to cement a storied legacy, Payton believes his biggest accomplishment is yet to come.

A passion and responsibility for helping at-risk youth reach their potential is what now drives Payton. Through several charitable contributions, Gary has become a force for good for the people in the very streets where his humble beginnings began. He has made it his mission to help every child receive the equal access to education and opportunity.

Much of Gary’s humanitarian efforts have been rooted in his native Oakland, California.

He set up The Gary Payton Foundation in 1996 to provide safe places for recreational activity, and to help underprivileged youth stay in school. In 2001, Mr. Payton made a personal commitment to renovate the gym of the East Oakland Youth Development Center (EOYDC), a youth center he attended as a child. And most recently he has given back to his high school alma mater’s basketball program.

As an active player, Gary made an impact in each community where he resided. He has volunteered and offered financial support to important youth service organizations like the Ronald McDonald House, Boys & Girls Club of America and the Make-a-Wish Foundation.

He authored Confidence Counts in 1999, an autobiographical children’s book illustrating the importance of self-confidence through events in his own life.

“Gary will forever be known as one of the most complete guards the game of basketball has ever seen. After hanging up his jersey he has since made the case that he is an even more complete man – one of character, integrity, and altruism. On behalf of The Congressional Award Foundation, I am proud to recognize Mr. Payton’s community involvement and creation of opportunities for our nation’s youth to thrive,” said Paxton Baker, Chairman of The Congressional Award National Board of Directors.


The Horizon Award
A special recognition from the Joint Leadership Commission of The Congressional Award Foundation and its Board of Directors, the Horizon Award recognizes individuals from the private sector who have worked to expand opportunities for all Americans through their own personal contributions.

Previous recipients include personalities like Drew Brees, America Ferrera, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, Bob Lanier, Wynton Marsalis, Curtis Martin, Gail Miller, Cal Ripken, Jr., Pat and Emmitt Smith, and Arnold Schwarzenegger.

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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