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Jefferson Awards Foundation Honors Shaquille O’Neal, Bryan Stevenson, Alexis Jones and Mastercard as 2018 National Public Service Award Recipients

New York, NY, March 05, 2018 -- The Jefferson Awards Foundation, the nation's most prestigious and longest-standing organization dedicated to powering and celebrating public service, will honor individuals, organizations and young people leading the nation in their commitment to social good at its annual gala in New York City. The ceremony, to be held on March 12, 2018, at 583 Park Avenue, will celebrate the foundation's 46-year history of inspiring action and multiplying service for maximum impact. Awards will honor national and local achievements in driving change for their communities and worldwide.


"For the past 46 years, our mission has been to amplify and celebrate those representing the very best of America – those who see a need and dedicated themselves to meeting it," said Hillary Schafer, CEO of the Jefferson Awards Foundation. "At a time of great division, we thank the nation's top achievers and unsung heroes for giving all Americans something to celebrate. Our goal by sharing their inspirational stories is to empower others to take action and provide a platform for amazing people to multiply their impact.”

At this year's ceremony, the Jefferson Awards Foundation will honor NBA Hall of Famer and philanthropist Shaquille O’Neal for his dedication to the children of America for the last 25 years. Dating back to his youth in Newark, Shaquille credits the Boys & Girls Clubs of America for teaching him how to become a team player, and ultimately, the leader he is today. As a national spokesperson for the organization, he has spearheaded long-standing events including Shaq-A-Claus, Shaqs-giving, and Toys for Tots.  Additionally, Shaquille donated more than $1 million to improve technology centers within the Clubs and helped to create an online safety program for kids through Microsoft’s partnership with the organization.

Alexis Jones, internationally recognized speaker, media personality, activist, and author, will also be honored.  Originally from Texas, Alexis grew up with four older brothers and moved to Los Angeles where she completed her undergraduate and Masters degree from USC. Alexis founded the non-profit I AM THAT GIRL (501c3), which currently has 1.2M+ girls involved and chapters in 24+ countries. Alexis hosted a TV show on the Red Carpet and worked on shows at Fox Sports, ESPN, CBS, MTV, and TLC. Alexis also founded the company ProtectHer, the first ever educational program for high school and college male athletes on the importance of respecting women. With a wildly acclaimed TEDx talk, instead of villainizing men, Alexis invites, includes and inspires both men and women to be an integral and tangible part of the solution moving forward. Alexis has been invited to speak at The White House, The United Nations, Harvard, Stanford, ESPN, NIKE, Pepsi, Google, DELL, The NFL and The Girl Scouts. Alexis has spoken to millions of youth across the country. Her book I AM THAT GIRL was published in February 2014 with her newest one, Be a Good Human is slated for 2019. Alexis has also teamed up with Leftfield Pictures to produce and star in new, inspiring docu-series that will debut in 2018. She most recently won The Jefferson Award, our country’s highest national honor for public service. She has also been featured as Oprah’s #SuperSoul100, AOL’s MAKERS, was an Ambassador for L’Oreal’s STEM initiative, DELL’s #Inspire100 List, Fast Company’s “Female Trailblazers," ESPN’s “Pop Culture’s Top Ten,” Girl Scout’s Woman of Distinction and highlighted as one of the five most influential women in Texas as a Profiles in Power winner.

Equal justice advocate, widely acclaimed public interest lawyer and New York Times-bestselling author Bryan Stevenson will be honored for his life-long dedication to helping the poor, incarcerated and condemned. The founder and executive director of the Equal Justice Initiative (EJI), under his leadership, the EJI has won legal challenges eliminating excessive and unfair sentencing, exonerating innocent death row prisoners, confronting abuse of the incarcerated and the mentally ill and aiding children prosecuted as adults. In 2018, the EJI will open The Legacy Museum: From Enslavement to Mass Incarceration, an African American history museum in Montgomery, Alabama that explores the legacy of slavery, racial terrorism, segregation, and contemporary issues of mass incarceration, excessive punishment, and police violence. EJI is also opening the National Memorial for Peace and Justice, a national memorial for victims of lynching, in Montgomery, Alabama in 2018.  Bryan is the author of critically-acclaimed best-seller Just Mercy and holds 29 honorary doctoral degrees. 

Michael Fraccaro, Chief Human Resource Officer of Mastercard, will accept the award for Outstanding Service by a Corporation. Mastercard’s service to the community is rooted in a belief of doing well and doing good and that all 13,000 employees can be a force for good. In 2014, Mastercard created the Girls4Tech™ program to engage and inspire school-aged girls to pursue STEM-related (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) careers. They are working to reach 200,000 girls around the world by 2020. The company is similarly passionate about supporting the next generation of entrepreneurs through their partnership with NFTE (Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship), an organization dedicated to inspiring students to dream-up, develop and launch their own businesses in the U.S., Mexico and China.  Companies recognized with this award in past years include Warby Parker, Salesforce, Target and Pfizer.

During the ceremony, the Jefferson Awards Foundation will also recognize Reagan and Payton Garnsey, the 2018 winner of the LEAD360 contest, and present awards to the 2017 national activation winner. LEAD360 makes service easy-to-do, fun and accessible by seeking outstanding youth ideas and replicating the best nationwide. Sisters Reagan and Payton founded Buckets of Love in March 2017 as a way to give back to children in their community.  Since June 2017 Buckets of Love have donated more than 100 buckets filled to the brim with items specifically for children ages 2 to 12 in area hospitals and homeless shelters. Reagan and Payton Garnsey were one of five 2018 finalists announced in February, and they were selected as the winner through an online vote. Their idea will be activated on a national level throughout the remainder of 2018. To date, LEAD360 has impacted more than 12 million lives. The 2017 activation winner is The Charter School of Wilmington for activating Emma’s Art Kits and successfully making and donating 10,055 art kits to 14 local charities across the state of Delaware.

The event is supported by 54 Madison Partners, Aspiration, Australy International, Berenberg Capital Markets, Bloomberg Philanthropies, Citigroup, Credit Suisse, Cleary Gottlieb, Deloitte, Deloitte – NYC, Howard Hughes Corporation, Jefferies, Joele Frank, Wilkinson Brimmer Katcher, Kramer Levin, Labaton Sucharow LLP, Labware, Inc, MasterCard, Morgan Stanley / Tony Cipolla, Move Systems, National Football League, Niagara University, Sandalwood Securities, Stribling & Associates, Sullivan & Cromwell, Tiger Legatus, TS&I Consulting, LLC, U.S. Trust, VaynerMedia, Wachtell and Lipton, Rosen & Katz.

To learn more about the NYC National Ceremony or to purchase tickets, visit:

About the Jefferson Awards Foundation

The Jefferson Awards Foundation (JAF) powers others to have maximum impact on the things they care about most. They are the largest multiplier of public service in America. Through celebration, they inspire action. With programs and partnerships, they drive Americans to change their communities and the world. They are celebrating 46 years of powering public service. To learn more about the Jefferson Awards Foundation, visit: or engage with their community on Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, and Facebook.



A photo accompanying this announcement is available at

Christine Denham
The Jefferson Awards Foundation
[email protected]

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