Congressional Award Board of Directors –
Thank you for another year of supporting Congress’ only charity. Together, we recognize outstanding young citizens from across the nation who bring millions of service hours to communities. The Award builds character and goal setting by following the mission of promoting initiative, service, and achievement in our young people. With your participation, The Award is able to offer quality educational programming to enrich the participant experience. 2021 was a year for innovation and progress, from hosting an unprecedented number of new programming events to moving digital with record books. The board expanded with new members and was able to come together in person for the September board meeting at the Washington Nationals stadium.
We invite you to read below the positive impact our program brought to youth this year – made possible by your collaboration and leadership.
2021 STATEWIDE AND DISTRICT CEREMONIES
In March, students across the Garden State gathered for The Congressional Award 2021 New Jersey Virtual Statewide Ceremony. Presented by Bayer, the event recognized 87 youth medalists for their dedication to bettering their communities through voluntary public service in addition to achieving long-term personal goals. The ceremony was led by Congresswoman Mikie Sherrill, who represents New Jersey’s 11th Congressional District – home to Bayer US. Additional Congressional speakers included Congressman Donald Norcross (NJ-01), Congressman Andy Kim (NJ-03), Congressman Josh Gottheimer (NJ-05), and Congressman Tom Malinowski (NJ-07). Patrick Lockwood-Taylor, President of Bayer U.S., offered opening remarks for the event.
In April, students across the Peach State came together for the first Annual Congressional Award Georgia Statewide Ceremony. Presented by Aflac, the virtual event recognized 54 youth medalists for their dedication to bettering their communities through voluntary public service in addition to achieving long-term personal goals. The ceremony was led by Congressman Barry Loudermilk (GA-11) and Congresswoman Lucy McBath (GA06) – who represent the congressional districts with the highest number of medalists from GA this year. Speakers and presenters also included Congressman Buddy Carter (GA-01), Congresswoman Nikema Williams (GA-05), Congresswoman Carolyn Bourdeaux (GA-07), and Congressman Sanford Bishop (GA02). Brad Knox, Senior Vice President and Counsel at Aflac, hosted the program. Read the press release here.
In April, Members of Congress in California recognized 404 Bronze, Silver and Gold medalists from The Golden State. Presented by Otsuka, the 2021 Congressional Award California statewide ceremony provided an opportunity for elected officials to connect with their young constituents and recognize them for their hard work over the past year. Members of Congress in attendance included Congressman Ted Lieu (CA-33), Congresswoman Linda Sanchez (CA-38), and Congresswoman Judy Chu (CA-27). Innes Meldrum, SVP & Chief Commercial Officer of Otsuka, kicked off the ceremony with congratulatory remarks for the students and discussed the importance of mental health for youth during this time. Read the press release here.
In April, the Wyoming Congressional Award council recognized 47 youth medalists for earning bronze, silver and gold Congressional Awards. Awards were presented by U.S. Senator John Barrasso, U.S. Senator Cynthia Lummis and Congresswoman Liz Cheney. Read the press release here.
Florida District 18
Congressman Brian Mast recognized over 70 Bronze, Silver, & Gold Medalists from FL-18 for their commitment to service and self-improvement. Partners for the ceremony included Sophia Eccleston, External Affairs Manager at Florida Power & Light.
2021 BOARD EVENTS
The September 2021 Board of Directors meeting at the Washington Nationals stadium.
The 26th annual charity Chief of Staff Golf Tournament at the TPC Potomac course in October.
Executed by Committee Chair Jonathan Heafitz.
Monthly Power Lunch Series
Conversations from freshman Members of Congress. Moderated by board members
Congressman Richie Torres (NY-15)
Moderated by Ray Kerins, The Next Security Group
Congressman Pete Sessions (TX-17)
Moderated by Skip Braziel, Prudential
Congresswoman Marie Newman (IL-3)
Moderated by Missy Foxman, ESA
Senator Cynthia Lummis (WY)
Moderated by Shawn Whitman, FMC
Congressman Bryon Donalds (FL-19)
Moderated by Jonathan Heafitz, PCMA
Congresswoman Marilyn Strickland (WA-10)
Moderated by Molly Ryan, Global Blood Therapeutics
Congresswoman Chrissy Houlahan (PA-6)
Moderated by Steve Hartell, Amazon
Congresswoman Stephanie Bice (OK-5)
Moderated by Ray Kerins, The Next Security Group
Congressman Frank Mrvan (IN-1)
Moderated by Ray Hall, Boeing
2021 PROGRAMMING HIGHLIGHTS
2021 Gold Medal Ceremony with Otsuka
The 2021 Gold Medal Ceremony recognized 518 accomplished youth participants from across the nation. On Friday, July 30, 2021, The Congressional Award hosted a day-long virtual event with interactive webinars, panels, and the Gold Medal Ceremony. Participants had the opportunity to attend 4 webinars, featuring the Mental Health Webinar and a Bright Futures Workshop.
The Mental Health webinar was a time for youth to learn the importance of mental health and how they can create healthy coping skills. A meditation session was hosted by the Mattie Rhodes Center. The guest speakers included Congressman Cleaver, Congressman Trone, Congressman Beyer, and Otsuka CEO Kabir Nath. Board members included
The Bright Futures Workshop introduced participants to career paths where they could learn from professionals in the field. For the morning, the STEM workshop featured board member Dr. Linda Mitchell and was hosted by Pamitha Weerasinghe from the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research. The Business featured Perrin Quarshie, the CEO of Realblocks, and was hosted by board member Mitch Drazin. The Government workshop was featured U.S. Senator John Barrasso and was hosted by board member Shawn Whitman.
The afternoon panels consisted of a STEM workshop, featured Dr. Linda Mitchell and hosted by board member Missy Foxman. The Business workshop featured Congressman Andy Kim and was hosted by board member Sanyin Siang. The Government workshop featured Congresswoman Jennifer Wexton and was hosted by board member Kathryn Weeden.
The Congressional Award was excited to announce in August 2021 a digital record book for participants. On Submittable, participants can digitally save their progress along the way and submit their applications when they are ready. This successful transition resulted in faster approval times for participants. Other great features of Submittable include the ability to obtain digital validator signatures, paperless submission, and tracking application status.
Financial Literacy Program with Intuit
The Congressional Award partnered with Intuit and EverFi to create free tools to teach financial literacy to any student who is interested in learning about financial topics, including credit, budgeting, and many more. The webinar included guest speakers Congressman Don Payne, Jr. and Congressman Anthony Gonzalez. This program includes a message from Congresswoman Joyce Beatty, Chair of the House Financial Services Committee.
Mental Health for Teens Program
with Otsuka and Ford Motor Company Fund
The Congressional Award has teamed up with both Otsuka and Ford Motor Company Fund to conduct free, interactive, virtual mental health workshops for young people in response to the impact on teens during the pandemic. These webinar sessions occurred in various districts:
Atlanta Mental Health Workshop: July 2021
Presented by Ford Fund and Usher’s New Look
Tacoma Mental Health Workshop: May 2021
Congressman Adam Smith
Presented by Ford Fund
Kansas City Mental Health Workshop: February 2021
Congressman Emanuel Cleaver
Presented by Ford Fund
Students Connecting with Seniors Program
with Charter Communications
The Congressional Award Foundation has partnered with Charter Communications to provide virtual opportunities for Congressional Award participants to engage with senior citizens across the nation. To launch this project, Charter Communications sat down with Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers and Congresswoman Yvette Clarke to discuss why this is such an important voluntary public service project.
Pathways to Careers
with Boeing and Atrium Health
The Congressional Award launched the CAF Career Center – a hub for youth participants to find internship and career opportunities from corporate partners, helpful one-pagers on how to market themselves to potential employers, alumni highlights, and insights from experts in the business community. The series started with sponsors from Boeing and Atrium Health, expert speakers included our board members Brad Knox and Sanyin Siang, and the guest speaker was Congressman Greg Murphy.
Scouting Webinar with Smithfield Foods
The Congressional Award has partnered with the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) since 1999. The Award created the Scouting Toolkit Page to engage current Scouts with the program and show how the skills and activities from Scouting can be applied and help Scouts earn The Award. This webinar included speakers such as Congressman Sanford Bishop, Congressman Glenn Thompson, Congressman Pete Sessions, and Congressman Garamendi.
Military Youth Webinar with the Yellow Corporation
The Congressional Award created a toolkit page to encourage military youth to start their journey and earn Congress’ highest award for youth. Since military youth often move many times before graduating, the great part about the Congressional Award’s program is that you can bring it with you wherever you go. This webinar include speaks such as Congressman Anthony Brown, Congressman Richard Hudson, and Congressman Brian Mast.
Café Radio Podcast
The Congressional Award Foundation partnered with DC Radio and Eliot-Hine Middle School to create a podcast series designed to educate youth about the program and offer valuable career insights from alumni and leaders. This student-led podcast covers the journeys of six individuals in their quest to earn the Congressional Award Medal. This podcast was moderated by Dr. MarTeze Hammonds, a Congressional Award advisor. The pilot episode of the podcast features a conversation with Board Chairman Paxton Baker.
STAY TUNED FOR 2022
In January, the NCAA partnership toolkit for Student-Athletes
with conversations about athlete mental health by NCAA Chief Medical Officer Dr. Brian Hainline.
In January, a power lunch with Congressman Peter Meijer (MI-3).
In February, the North Carolina Statewide Ceremony.