About Jefferson Awards - News, Weather and Classifieds for Southern New England



  • Nominate Your Hero

  • Each year, NBC 10 searches for volunteers who have done wonderful things for their communities in Southern New England. A panel of independent judges from the area will choose three winners of the prestigious Jefferson Award for Public Service.

    NBC 10 has partnered with United Way of Rhode Island to find local people who have gone above and beyond for their communities, but with little or no recognition.

    The submission period has closed.

    Winners will be announced in March, and will be invited to attend a breakfast award ceremony. Of the three winners, one will be chosen to represent our area at the Jefferson Awards National Ceremonies in Washington D.C. in June.

  • Background and History

  • In 1972, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, U.S. Sen. Robert Taft Jr. and Sam Beard established The Jefferson Awards.

    The purpose of the Jefferson Awards is to honor individuals for their achievements and contributions through public and community service in order to inspire and encourage others to get involved.

    The Jefferson Awards are presented on two levels: national and local. National award recipients represent a "Who's Who" of outstanding Americans. On the local level, Jefferson Awards recipients are ordinary people who do extraordinary things without expectation of recognition or reward.

    The national awards are given in five categories:

    • Greatest Public Service by an Elected or Appointed Official
    • Greatest Public Service by a Private Citizen
    • Greatest Public Service Benefiting the Disadvantaged
    • Greatest Public Service by an Individual 35 Years or Younger
    • Outstanding Public Service Benefiting the Local Community

    Past winners of the national award include Jimmy Carter, Walter Cronkite, Gen. Colin Powell, Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, Oprah Winfrey, Kirk Douglas, Arthur Ashe, Paul Newman, Lance Armstrong, Peyton Manning, Bill and Melinda Gates, among many others.

    The Jefferson Awards is the nation's largest media partnership highlighting service to America.

  • Mission

  • The mission of the Jefferson Awards is to encourage and honor individuals for their achievements and contributions through public and community service. Through our Media Partners we seek to inspire volunteering in local communities. Through our Champions, we seek to energize volunteering in the workplace. Through our Youth Service Initiative, we seek to double volunteering in high schools.
  • Selection Criteria

  • The selection criteria for the national and local Jefferson Awards winners are parallel.

    There are two basic considerations:

    • Outstanding Personal Acts
    • Community Impact

    First, the selectors review acts of courage, vision, dedication, and tenacity. Is there anything outstanding, unique, heroic about the nominee and his or her character?

    Second, they review the impact on the community. Public service is about serving people and communities. As the nominee addresses important issues facing local communities or the country, has the nominee had a measurable impact?

    Jefferson Awards highlight the "Unsung Heroes." Eligibility includes volunteers as well as paid professionals who go well above and beyond their expected service. "Unsung" means not normally in the media.

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