Adam honored with prestigious Jefferson Award

Olivia Wittels
Senior Marketing Coordinator
March 5, 2015

What do Adam Braun, Bill Gates and Barbara Bush all have in common? Besides having a “B” in their names, they are also current and former recipients of the nation’s prestigious Jefferson Award for Public Service. On March 4th, our Pencils of Promise Founder was honored at Gotham Hall in New York City at the Jefferson Award’s annual gala, emceed by CBS This Morning Co-Host, Norah O’Donnell.

Adam received the 2015 Greatest Public Service Benefiting the Disadvantaged award for his work building schools and supporting teachers through Pencils of Promise. The award celebrated the more than 270 schools PoP has built in Laos, Guatemala and Ghana, and highlighted Adam’s efforts to provide sustainable access to education for all children, no matter where they are born.

PoP Jefferson Award

In 1972, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, Senator Robert Taft Jr. and Sam Beard founded the Jefferson Awards Foundation. 43 years later, the Jefferson Awards National Ceremony remains one of the most prestigious celebrations of public service in America. Some of the foundation’s most prominent honorees include Steve Jobs, Elie Wiesel, Peyton Manning and Michael Bloomberg. The Foundation states that, “by celebrating the outstanding service” of these individuals, “we are amplifying their solutions for others to apply in their own communities.” A 70-member Board of Selectors comprised of leaders in numerous fields, including Laura Bush, Michael Douglas, Teresa Heinz Kerry, Neil Simon and Whoopi Goldberg, selects the Jefferson Awards National Ceremony winners each year.

At the gala, Adam was honored alongside Buffalo Bills running back Fred Jackson, who received the Jefferson Award for Greatest Public Service by an Athlete, and Founder and Head of The East Harlem School Ivan Hageman, who was presented with the award for Greatest Public Service by an Entrepreneur.

AB Jefferson Award

Besides honoring prominent public figures, the Jefferson Awards also recognize the “unsung heroes” of public service. Through programs like Lead360, Students in Action and GlobeChangers, the Foundation “supports, trains and empowers today’s youth to be leaders, problem solvers, entrepreneurs and impactful global citizens.” It was so exciting for Adam and Pencils of Promise to be featured alongside such inspiring individuals!

“Every year the Jefferson Awards Foundation honors the top social entrepreneurs and philanthropists in the nation with this gala,” said Hillary Schafer, Executive Director of The Jefferson Awards. “It is an honor to have so many individuals from all walks of life dedicated to public service attending our event to be recognized for their continued achievements.”