Cindy Hensley McCain, Muhammad Ali Humanitarian Award for Lifetime Achievement
Cindy serves as co-chair of the Arizona Governor’s Council on human trafficking and on the McCain Institute’s Human Trafficking Advisory Council. She is dedicated to efforts to reduce human trafficking in Arizona, throughout the United States and around the world, as well as working to improve the lives of victims. Through her work with the McCain Institute, several partnerships have been formed with anti-trafficking organizations working on solving various aspects of the problem.
Cindy also served on the Board of Directors for Operation Smile, a non-profit organization whose mission is to repair cleft lips, cleft palates and other facial deformities for children around the world. She was a member of the HALO Trust Board, as well as a founding Member of the Eastern Congo Initiative. She is committed to raising awareness of the travesties facing women and children in The Congo.
She also sits on the Advisory Boards of Too Small To Fail and Warriors and Quiet Waters. Cindy holds an undergraduate degree in Education and a Master’s in Special Education from USC and is a member of the USC Rossier School of Education Board of Councilors.
Cindy is the Chairman of her family’s business, Hensley Beverage Company, which is one of the largest Anheuser-Busch distributors in the nation. She is on the board of Project CURE. Cindy resides in Phoenix with her husband, U.S. Senator John McCain. They have four children.
Jon Secada, Muhammad Ali Humanitarian of the Year Award
Multi-Grammy Award-winner Jon Secada’s career spans over two decades and includes 20 million albums sold and a Broadway starring role in 1995 for “Grease.” His numerous hits, including “Just Another Day,” in English and Spanish established him as one of the first bilingual artists to have international crossover success. Jon also became a popular songwriter for other artists, including Ricky Martin, Jennifer Lopez, Mandy Moore, and Gloria Estefan, including her number one hit “Coming Out of the Dark.”
Born in Cuba, Jon arrived in Miami, Florida at age nine. He is a graduate of the University of Miami, where he also established the Jon Secada Music Scholarship. In addition to his time in the recording studio and on stage, Jon served as a celebrity judge for four years on the international hit show, “Latin American Idol” and participated as a contestant on Univision’s hit dance show “Mira Quien Balia”, the Latin “Dancing with the Stars.”
Under his organization, Jon Secada Charities, Jon has devoted himself to assisting charitable groups all over the world, focusing on children, education, AIDS research, and child abuse. Specifically, he has supported the Pediatric AIDS Unit at Miami’s Jackson Memorial Hospital, the Lifebeat Concert to benefit AIDS research, Amigos Together for Kids, Make-A-Wish Foundation, as well as many other initiatives. His tribute song, “The Last Goodbye,” was dedicated to the families of 9/11 victims. He included an all-star version in Spanish, which was released as a single, with all proceeds going to the victims’ families.
Jon was appointed by former President George W. Bush to serve on the President’s Advisory Commission on Educational Excellence for Hispanic Americans, aimed at closing the educational achievement gap between Hispanic students and their peers. Jon’s commitment to education remains steadfast, as he is currently a visiting professor at Miami Dade College, the University of Miami, and Riverside Community College. He also serves as a celebrity mentor for The Inspire and Develop Artists Program (IDA). In June, Jon hosted an earthquake relief concert for Ecuador. The funds raised provided permanent shelter and relief to a group of orphaned children.
Louis Gossett, Jr., Muhammad Ali Humanitarian Award for Education
Louis Gossett, Jr. is one of stage, film and television’s most recognized and lauded talents. With over three hundred titles to his credit, Gossett has earned some of the industry’s highest honors—including Emmy’s, Golden Globes, NAACP Image Awards, and an Academy Award for his portrayal of Sgt. Emil Foley in “An Officer and a Gentleman”—and now adds author, director, and humanitarian to his accomplishments.
Louis Gossett, Jr. was born in 1936, in Brooklyn, New York. At the age of 17, Gossett caught his first break as the lead for Broadway’s “Take a Giant Step” (1953). His next Broadway role would come in 1959, in the watershed play “A Raisin in the Sun”—a portrayal of African American life written by Lorraine Hansberry.
This led to numerous roles in the 1960s and 70s leading to 1977, when he earned an Emmy for his performance in the groundbreaking mini-series “Roots.” His menacing work in “The Deep” (1977) and portrayal of a tough but fair drill sergeant in “An Officer and a Gentleman” (1982) brought him rave reviews, with the latter role earning him an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor.
A Los Angeles Times best-selling author (An Actor and a Gentleman), Gossett is still working steadily in films and on TV.
With a career spanning six decades, the elder statesman has dedicated this last quadrant of his life to communicate with younger generations and transmit the values of community, self-love, and purpose that have characterized our progress as a people. He established Louis Gossett Jr.’s Eracism Foundation which is dedicated to providing young adults with the tools they need for living a racially diverse and culturally inclusive life. Through his Foundation, Gossett will establish Shamba Centers (Swahili for “farm”) throughout the United States, that offer instruction in cultural diversity, historical enrichment and antiviolence initiatives for young adults, teens and pre-teens to help them understand and eliminate racism by creating a living environment where racism and injustice have a hard time existing.
Sheryl Lee Ralph, Muhammad Ali Humanitarian Award for Global Citizenship
Sheryl Lee Ralph has had success on Broadway, on screen and television, with music, and with her philanthropic endeavors. A triple-threat dreamgirl, Sheryl’s award-winning work includes creating the role of Deena Jones in the legendary Broadway musical, “Dreamgirls” and earning Best Actress nods for Tony and Drama Desk Awards.
Sheryl’s past TV credits include “It’s a Living,” “Designing Women,” “The District,” “Moesha,” and others. On the big screen, Sheryl has appeared in “The Mighty Quinn,” “Mistress,” “To Sleep with Anger” and “The Distinguished Gentlemen.”
She has been named one of the top 10 College Women in America by Glamour magazine and has been recognized around the country for her artistic endeavors, but she finds the most fulfillment in giving back to the global community.
Sheryl has spent the last three decades advocating for those infected by HIV/AIDS and educating others around the world about the importance of knowing their status. She is the founding Director of The Divinely Inspired Victoriously Aware (DIVA) Foundation, a 501(c)3 nonprofit, created as a living memorial to the many friends she lost to HIV/AIDS while a member of Dreamgirls.
In 1990, Sheryl also founded DIVAS Simply Singing!, the longest consecutive running musical HIV/AIDS benefit in the country and has been honored for her one-woman show “Sometimes I Cry,” about the lives, loves and losses of HIV/AIDS-infected women.
Named one of the most FIERCE & FABULOUS Women in America by ESSENCE magazine, Sheryl received her Doctorate in Humane Letters from Tougaloo College and Huston‐Tillotson University for her AIDS activism. Sheryl also holds the distinction of being the youngest female graduate of Rutgers College (RU) at the age of 19. She was awarded the first Red Ribbon Award at the UN for her unique use of the arts in HIV/AIDS activism. Sheryl has also served as AIDS Ambassador for Jamaica’s Ministry of Health. She is on the Board of Trustees of Los Angeles Project Angel Food.
In 2008, she and her husband, Pennsylvania State Senator Vincent Hughes, started Test Together, a campaign that encourages couples to know their status as an essential first step.
Mother of Etienne and Ivy with a blended family of four, Sheryl resides in Los Angeles and Philadelphia with her husband.
John Rosenberg, 2016 Kentucky Humanitarian Award
John Rosenberg is best known as the founding director of the Appalachian Research and Defense Fund of Kentucky, which has long been a refuge and advocate for the poor and disadvantaged in the Appalachian counties of the state, but his life and career go well beyond that.
After receiving a scholarship to Duke, where he earned a chemistry degree, John served in the Air Force. He earned his law degree at North Carolina, and then became a trial attorney in the Civil Rights Division of the Justice Department, where he handled cases involving discrimination in voting, school integration and public accommodations in Mississippi, Alabama, and Georgia.
In 1970, John and his wife Jean moved to Prestonsburg, KY, where he was deputy director of the Appalachian Research and Defense Fund (AppalReD) for Kentucky, which fights such ills as abusive land-use practices and black-lung disease. AppalReD serves 37 counties and has a network of 21 lawyers and 16 support staff. From 1973 to 2001, John served as the director. Since 2001, John has been AppalReD’s director emeritus, helping support its mission and clientele in many ways while maintaining a private, not-for-profit legal practice that focuses on assistance to non-profit corporations serving low-income persons, and pro bono representation of individuals.
But John is much more than a lawyer. He is a leading citizen of Eastern Kentucky, who has tried in many ways to address the region’s poverty, isolation, lack of education, corrupt politics, and domination by the coal industry. John helped draft the Kentucky constitutional amendment negating “broad form” deeds that allowed strip mining. John and his wife Jean are also longtime leaders in the effort to improve education in Eastern Kentucky, especially in Floyd County. Through their efforts, many young people have benefited from the creation of the East Kentucky’s Science Center, now part of the Big Sandy Community and Technical College. John was also very involved in forming the non-profit organization Low Income Housing of Eastern Kentucky, which builds affordable housing for low-income people. Seventy-five homes have been built to date.
Among other accolades, in 2015 he was honored by the ACLU of Kentucky for his lifetime work of leading AppalReD.
Josh Nesbit, Waterford, Virginia received the Confidence award. Josh is the co-founder and CEO of Medic Mobile, a nonprofit organization that builds mobile and web tools for community health workers, clinic staff, and families in the hardest-to-reach communities.
Shawana Shah, Peshawar, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan received the Conviction award. Shawana works to end gender-based violence in her native Pakistan and to provide women a platform to fight for their rights.
Curt Bowen, Boise, Idaho received the Dedication award. Curt is the executive director and co-founder of Semilla Nueva, a nonprofit that develops locally-led farmer education programs that increase the income, rebuild the soils, and improve the food security of Guatemala’s rural poor.
Jakob Schillinger, Tuebingen, Germany received the Giving award. Jakob is the co-founder of OneDollarGlasses, which produces high-quality prescription eyeglasses for a cost of less than one dollar per pair.
Tina Hovsepian, Los Angeles, California received the Respect award. Tina is the founder and executive director of Cardborigami, a nonprofit that supports those who lost their homes due to poverty, natural disasters, or other crises.
Navonel Voni Glick, Tel Aviv, Israel received the Spirituality award. Voni is the chief operating officer of IsraAID and previously served as its programs director, leading disaster-response missions across the world.
Harry Belafonte, legendary and multi-talented artist and social justice activist, received the prestigious Muhammad Ali Humanitarian Lifetime Achievement Award. Harry Belafonte exposed America to world music and spent his life challenging and overturning racial barriers across the globe. Belafonte met a young Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. on King’s historic visit to New York in the early 1950s and developed a deep and abiding friendship. Belafonte played a key role in the civil rights movement, including the 1963 March on Washington. In 1985, disturbed by war, drought, and famine in Africa, Belafonte helped organize the Grammy-winning song “We Are the World,” a multi-artist effort to raise funds for Africa. Belafonte was active in efforts to end apartheid in South Africa and to release Nelson Mandela. Belafonte served as the cultural advisor for the Peace Corps, a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador and was honored as an Ambassador of Conscience by Amnesty International. Recently, Belafonte founded the Sankofa Justice & Equity Fund, a non-profit social justice organization that utilizes the power of culture and celebrity in partnership with activism. Belafonte received the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in November 2014. For health reasons, Mr. Belafonte was unable to attend the event.
Geena Davis, Academy Award-winner, humanitarian, and women’s advocate, was honored as the Muhammad Ali Humanitarian of the Year. Geena Davis, one of Hollywood’s most respected actors, is recognized for her tireless advocacy of gender equality in media nearly as much as for her acting accomplishments. She is the Founder and Chair of the non-profit Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media, which is successfully influencing film and television content creators to dramatically increase the percentages of female characters—and reduce gender stereotyping—in media targeting children 11 and under. In 2015, Davis launched the Bentonville Film Festival (BFF), an unprecedented initiative in support of women and diversity in the entertainment industry and serves as its Co-Founder and Chair. In 2012, Davis was appointed Special Envoy for Women and Girls in ICT for the UN’s International Telecommunication Union (ITU). She is an official partner of UN Women and is also the Chair of the California Commission on the Status of Women. Davis has also received the 2006 Golden Globe Award for Best Performance by an Actress in a Television Series Drama, an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for her role in “The Accidental Tourist” in 1989, and numerous other nominations and accolades. Davis broke ground in her portrayal of the first female President of the United States in ABC’s hit show “Commander in Chief.” Davis is also a world-class athlete (at one time was the nation’s 13th-ranked archer and a semi-finalist in the Olympic Trials).
Dr. Andrew Moore from Lexington, Kentucky, founder of Surgery on Sunday, was named the 2015 Muhammad Ali Kentucky Humanitarian of the Year. Dr. Moore, a plastic surgeon for nearly 40 years, witnessed throughout his career the need for a program to serve individuals who “fell between the cracks” of the health care industry. Dedicated to a population of people often overlooked, Dr. Moore made it his mission to see the working poor receive outpatient surgeries they would not otherwise receive due to their inability to pay. In 2005, he founded Surgery on Sunday, a program that provides essential outpatient surgeries and procedures to the uninsured and underinsured who do not qualify for state or federal programs. It is the first program of its kind in the United States. Relying entirely on volunteers, Surgery on Sunday performs outpatient surgeries the third Sunday of each month at the Lexington Surgery Center, utilizing volunteer physicians, anesthesiologists, nurses and administrative personnel. To date, volunteers have contributed over 90,000 hours of service to assist patients in need. Since inception, the organization founded by Dr. Moore has assisted over 5,600 patients, with that number growing monthly.
Rose Mapendo of the Democratic Republic of Congo was honored with the Muhammad Ali Humanitarian Award for Gender Equality. Rose Mapendo was born in Mulenge, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) in 1963 to a Banyamulenge Tutsi family. She was married at the age of 16 and began raising a family. In the early 1990s, ethnic violence in the DRC changed her world almost overnight. After surviving a harrowing experience that included the arrest of her entire family, execution of her husband, birth of their twin sons in prison, grim negotiations with prison guards to save the lives of her 10 children, Mapendo experienced a seemingly miraculous chain of events that resulted in her family’s rescue and resettlement in Phoenix. While Mapendo adjusted to life in the United States, she never forgot the women that she left behind and emerged from her experience advocating forgiveness and reconciliation. She established the Rose Mapendo Foundation in Phoenix that focuses on instilling a sense of worth and empowerment for women and girls, and emphasizes hope for change.
Age 24 of Bathurst, New Brunswick, Kyla LaPointe was honored for her Confidence as a leading advocate for promoting policy, programming, resources, and other support that will benefit youth who are part of the child welfare system. She played a key role in founding the New Brunswick Youth in Care Network.
A 13-year-old from the Khyber Province of Pakistan, Hadiqa Bashir was honored for her Conviction as the pioneer of Girls United for Human Rights. The Girls United for Human Rights mission is to empower the disenfranchised girls in rural regions of Pakistan, eliminate socioeconomic inequality, facilitate self-reliance, enable local self-governance, and promote people’s advocacy.
31-year-old* Christopher Ategeka received the honor for Dedication. Born and raised in rural Uganda, orphaned at 7, educated at the University of California and Ategeka used his hard-won experience to start Rides for Lives, an organization that manufactures locally sourced ambulances to improve medical access and economic opportunities to those most vulnerable. *Ategeka was 30 years old upon being nominated for the award.
Veronika Scott, age 26, received the Giving award as the founder of The Empowerment Plan, an organization that began around a single idea: to design a coat specifically for the homeless. The organization has now transformed into a system of empowerment in which homeless women are paid to learn how to produce coats for people living on the streets, giving them an opportunity to earn money, find a place to live, and gain back their independence.
Sasha Fisher, age 26, was honored for the Respect core principle. Fisher is the co-founder and executive director of Spark MicroGrants, which enables remote villages in east Africa to design and launch their own social impact projects through a six-month facilitated collective action process.
Tanyella Evans, age 28, was honored for her extraordinary sense of Spirituality. Driven by the philosophy that education is a basic human right, essential to prosperity and peace, Evans co-founded Library For All, an organization that offers a digital library platform to make quality educational resources available to individuals across the developing world.
Jim Brown was presented the Muhammad Ali Humanitarian Lifetime Achievement Award. Jim Brown is known worldwide for his Hall of Fame football exploits as a running back for the NFL’s Cleveland Browns. He boldly stood up for civil rights at a time it was not a cool thing to do, and fought for equality and against injustice with necessitated courage and uncompromising integrity. It was Jim Brown who rallied the premiere athletes of the 1960s to support Muhammad Ali’s right to conscientiously object to service in the Vietnam War. Brown founded the Amer-I-Can Life Management Skills program in 1988, a program that has changed and saved thousands of lives.
Mick Ebeling received the Muhammad Ali Humanitarian of the Year Award for his work as founder and CEO of Not Impossible, LLC, an organization that develops creative solutions to real-world problems. Not Impossible’s latest endeavor, Project Daniel, is the subject of Intel’s latest Look Inside campaign. For Project Daniel, Ebeling flew to Sudan to 3D-print and fit prosthetic limbs for children of the war-torn region, then left the equipment behind with locals he’d trained who continued after he left, thus establishing the world’s first 3D printing prosthetic lab and training facility. Mick also created the Eyewriter: a DIY, open-source, low-cost device that enables individuals with paralysis to communicate and create art using only the movement of their eyes.
Susan Sarandon was honored with the Muhammad Ali Humanitarian Award for Global Citizenship. The Academy-Award winning actress and social and economic activist’s charitable work includes serving as an ambassador for UNICEF, on the board of advisors for the Yéle Haiti Foundation, and on the Advisory Committee for FilmAid International. She also has served on the Amazon Conservation Team (ACT) Board of Directors and is now on their Advisory Board. Susan was Action Against Hunger’s award recipient at the “Restaurants Against Hunger Campaign” gala in 2006, in honor of World Food Day.
Common was given the Muhammad Ali Humanitarian Award for Education. Common, who is a multiple Grammy Award-winning hip hop artist, poet, and guest speaker known to motivate and empower collegiate minds at prestigious universities across the country. In 2000, he launched his own philanthropic effort, The Common Ground Foundation, whose mission is dedicated to the empowerment and development of disadvantaged youth in urban communities by mentoring in three areas: character development, creative expression and healthy living.
The 2014 Muhammad Ali Kentucky Humanitarian Award went to Mr. and Mrs. Robert and Deborah Blair, founders of the West End School in Louisville. West End School is a free, private, college preparatory, Pre-K through Eighth school for young men. West End School strives to address all of the issues boys in the community face by creating an environment of high expectations and personal responsibility. Through the School’s rigorous academic and personal standards, students are encouraged to attain the highest possible level of scholarship, character, and intellectual growth.
Jessica Matthews, a dual citizen of the USA and Nigeria, is the Co-Founder & CEO of Uncharted Play, Inc., an award winning social enterprise. When the power went out at her uncle’s wedding celebration in Nigeria she began to think about how everyday play could change the world. She and her colleagues invented SOCCKET (a soccer ball) and the Pulse (a jump rope), that provides off-grid power and addresses the short-term need for electricity, a challenge at the root of many global ills. She hopes that Uncharted Play will inspire others to become inventors capable of solving the world’s problems. Jessica, a graduate of Harvard Business School, wants to show the world “doing good and good well need not be mutually exclusive.”
Mario Andres Hurtado Cardozo, 22, is the first Colombian youth to win legal recognition as a conscientious objector for non-religious purposes. Raised in an area heavily impacted by violence and illegal military recruitment, at 18 Mario publicly declared himself a conscientious objector and started using art as a form of resistance. Having completed his studies in law and political science, Mario has not received his diploma because he refuses to accept the required military identification card. A hip hop artist, Mario continues his work with Acción Colectiva de Objetores y Objetoras de Consciencia to promote rights and life affirming activities for young people. Working with ACOOC Mario helps to develop strategies in support of conscientious objection, anti-militarization, and active nonviolence in Colombia; they created and shared these ideas through theater and music presentations for the community.
Kennedy Odede, 30, is the founder of Shining Hope for Communities (SHOFCO), the largest grassroots organization in the Kiberia slum where he grew up in Nairobi, Kenya. Kennedy always dreamed about changing his community. In 2004 Kennedy saved 20 cents and bought a soccer ball to start SHOFCO, which combats extreme poverty and gender inequality by linking tuition free schools for girls to accessible social services for all. SHOFCO also offers community-wide services including health care, community empowerment, and water and sanitation. Although he was informally educated, Kennedy received a full-scholarship to Wesleyan University. He graduated in 2012 as the Commencement Speaker and with honors in Sociology. His work has been featured in the PBS documentary Half the Sky.
Talia Leman, 19, is the founder of RandomKid, a non-profit organization that leverages the power of youth to solve problems in the world. Talia began her work in 2005 to support survivors of hurricanes Katrina and Rita. Children across the United States raised $10.4 million under Talia’s leadership, ranking their giving power with the top 5 U.S. corporations. Realizing the power of youth, Talia founded RandomKid, an organization that provides random youth everywhere with cutting edge free resources to grow their initiatives to better the world, and ways to leverage their giving. RandomKid has unified the efforts of 12 million youth from 20 countries to result in bringing aid to four continents. Talia’s “A Random Book about the Power of ANYone” rose to the number one spot on Amazon’s Mover & Shaker list. Talia was named one of Forbes 30 under 30 brightest stars for 2014. She is currently a sophomore at Stanford University.
Sejal Hathi, 22, the Cofounder and Strategic Partnerships Director of Girltank, a hybrid social enterprise incubating the most innovative female entrepreneurs globally. She has served also as the Founder & CEO of Girls Helping Girls, an international nonprofit dedicated to empowering girls to achieve an education and create sustainable social change. empowering young women globally with a presence in 104 countries. Sejal is also a Founding Partner at S2 Capital, an early-stage social fund that invests equity and debt in young entrepreneurs in the developing world. A published author, Sejal graduated from Yale University and is currently a student at Stanford University’s School of Medicine, pursuing a career at the nexus of medicine, technology, and social innovation. Sejal has been recognized globally for her innovative work.
Mastura Rashid, 24, is the founder of The Nasi Lemak Project in Malaysia. While studying at International Islamic University of Malaysia, Mastura began working with young Rohingya refugees and helped establish a literacy center to address the need for access to education in that community. The Nasi Lemak Project feeding homeless youth, began in 2013 with a Generation Change grant from the US Embassy and has grown to include educational programs for the urban poor. By harnessing the power for volunteers and social enterprise, the project is working toward its goal of feeding, educating, and empowering 2000 young people.
Jimmy Carter, the nation’s 39th president, a Nobel Peace Prize winner, co-founder of the nongovernmental, not-for-profit Carter Center, devoted to advancing human rights and alleviating human suffering, received the Muhammad Ali Humanitarian Lifetime Achievement Award. Significant accomplishments of the Carter White House administration included the Panama Canal treaties, the Camp David Accords, the treaty of peace between Egypt and Israel, the SALT II strategic arms limitation treaty with the Soviet Union, and the establishment of U.S. diplomatic relations with the People’s Republic of China. He also was the first president to make human rights a central element of U.S. foreign policy. Since 1982, The Carter Center has worked to resolve conflict, promote democracy, protect human rights, and prevent disease in many of the world’s poorest nations. President Carter has a longstanding agenda of pursuing peace and human rights for all people. He and Muhammad Ali have a history together, for in 1980, President Carter appointed Ali as a special envoy to Africa to lobby for a boycott of the Moscow Olympics following Russia’s military intervention in Afghanistan. Chip Carter, Son of President Carter, accepted the award on behalf of President Carter.
Christina Aguilera—referred to by many to as the “voice of her generation”—received the first ever Muhammad Ali Humanitarian of the Year Award for her work to end global hunger in her role as global spokesperson for Yum! Brands World Hunger Relief and as Global Ambassador for the United Nations World Food Programme. Ms. Aguilera is an acclaimed American singer/ songwriter who has developed a strong following over the past decade for her musical versatility and her deep dedication to philanthropic causes. As one of the most successful recording artists of the decade, Ms. Aguilera has sold more than 43 million records worldwide and won four Grammy Awards and one Latin Grammy Award. In 2012, she was named one of Time Magazine’s Most Influential People in the World. Since 2009, Ms. Aguilera has demonstrated her strong commitment to world hunger issues through her role as global spokesperson for Yum! Brands’ World Hunger Relief effort which raises awareness, volunteerism and funds for the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) and others. Aguilera appears in Yum! Brands’ World Hunger Relief public service announcements, restaurant posters, and online efforts, including the campaign’s website HungertoHope.com. She also appeared in a PSA with Muhammad Ali in 2010 to help WFP Haiti earthquake relief efforts. Her efforts have helped raise millions for WFP and other hunger relief agencies. Aguilera also serves as an “Ambassador Against Hunger” for WFP where she has traveled on relief trips with the organization to Guatemala, Haiti and Rwanda.
Michael Bolton, multi-Grammy Award-winning singer, songwriter and humanitarian, received the first annual Muhammad Ali Humanitarian Award for Gender Equality. Michael has earned two Grammys for Best Pop Male Vocal, 6 American Music Awards, a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and sold over 53 million records worldwide. As a songwriter, he’s achieved several awards, including Songwriter of the Year, and the Hitmakers Award from the Songwriters Hall of Fame. Michael founded the Michael Bolton Charities (MBC), now in its 21st year, advocating on behalf of women and children at risk. In 2000 and 2005, he joined forces with coalitions of women’s and men’s groups, as well as members of Congress to pass, and then reauthorize, the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA). Currently, the MBC is working on the creation of a Family Justice Center in Michael’s home state of Connecticut, as well as in Nevada, where MBC is expanding its mission. Since 1993, over $10 million has been disbursed to organizations across the country.
Mark Hogg, Founder and CEO of Louisville-based WaterStep, was selected as the 2013 Muhammad Ali Kentucky Humanitarian. Through WaterStep, Mr. Hogg’s focus is on providing solutions to the world’s water crisis, from bringing safe water to developing countries to providing water for disaster relief and emergency contingency plans in local communities. He launched his non-profit organization in 1995 as EDGE Outreach and he has since championed the cause on a global level. In 2012, Mr. Hogg refocused and grew the organization to become WaterStep in 2012. That same year, he founded IF Water, an international water conference held in conjunction with Idea Festival ® and speaks to international audiences on clean water issues.
At 22, Tanvi is leading an internationally recognized youth organization – Becoming I Foundation – which involves hundreds of volunteers working on the ground along with a network of more 7000 young people across the globe in the areas of primary and secondary education, sex trafficking, the Right to Education, women empowerment, life skills development and youth leadership. After over five years of fieldwork and research in marginalized and low-income areas in India and a degree in Economics, Tanvi aims to bring young people face to face with community development. Tanvi recently won the Karamveer Puraskar – a National award for Justice and Citizen Action in India. To view Tanvi’s post-Muhammad Ali Humanitarian Awards interview, click here.
At 25 years old, Muhammed calls himself the “slum ambassador.” He was raised in an HIV-positive, Muslim, polygamous family in Bwaise, Kampala’s most notorious slum. At 10 years old, he carried garbage and sold scrap to raise his own school fees. As a young adult, he managed to find his way out of the slum and become educated; however, he never forgot where he came from and had a drive to help others escape a lifetime of poverty. When he graduated in 2009, he formed Action for Fundamental Change and Development (AFFCAD), which is mitigating the impacts of HIV/AIDS and ending poverty while promoting local self-reliance and empowering slum citizens. To view Muhammed’s post-Muhammad Ali Humanitarian Awards interview, click here.
Free-The-Children was founded in 1995 by twelve year old Craig Kielburger. What began as one group of 12 fellow students in Craig’s school has grown to thousands of groups across North America and beyond to become the world’s largest network of children helping children around the world. Free-The-Children’s WEDAY is the largest Youth Empowerment Cause on Facebook globally today. MEtoWE supports service leadership, empowering children of all ages to engage in both local and global action campaigns. To view Craig’s post-Muhammad Ali Humanitarian Awards interview, click here.
Nicholas is a fifteen-year old rising sophomore at the Wheeler School in Providence, RI. Though he began donating his gently used footwear to children in Rhode Island’s local homeless shelters when he was 5, he established the Gotta Have Sole Foundation in 2010 in an effort to give them new, properly fitting footwear. To date, he has outfitted over 10,000 homeless and disadvantaged children living in 21 states within the US with new shoes to call their own, giving them additional sizes each time their feet grow. To view Nicholas’ post-Muhammad Ali Humanitarian Awards interview, click here.
Zachary co-founded a nonprofit organization that conducts free sports clinics for children with special needs, and provides sensitivity training to help other students understand the challenges they face. Having a close family friend with severe autism, Zachary knew that social and athletic opportunities for children with handicaps were very limited in his community, and that these children are often ostracized by their peers. “I was disturbed seeing kids excluded from sports, lunch tables, and even friendships just because they were different,” he said. “Since sports have always been a passion of mine, I felt strongly about giving every child the opportunity to be part of a team.Zachary and his brother sought help from the board of education, local recreation departments, mayors and other community leaders, and began contacting potential donors to fund a nonprofit organization called “SNAP (Special Needs Athletic Programs).” They then set up a regular schedule of clinics in basketball, baseball, soccer, golf, tae kwon do and other activities, all run by student volunteers six nights a week during the school year. To view Zachary’s post-Muhammad Ali Humanitarian Awards interview, click here.
Zahra is an exceptional leader, fighting for gender equality in all aspects of Afghan society by promoting women’s sports and consistently raising the profile of Afghan women. Zahra displays extreme confidence speaking publicly to domestic and international press about Afghan women and their fight for equality. With reporters, and even the U.S. Secretary of State, Zahra confidently and honestly represents young Afghan women to the world, combining modernity with spirituality as a model Muslim athlete. In a country where women’s rights have been portrayed as contrary to Islam, Zahra pushes for equality while paying homage to her religion and culture. To view Zahra’s post-Muhammad Ali Humanitarian Awards interview, click here.