The Center for Public Leadership (CPL) at the Harvard Kennedy School (HKS) has announced that the 2008 Gleitsman Citizen Activist Award will go to Billy Shore, co-founder of Share Our Strength. The award and the $100,000 prize that accompanies it will be presented to Shore on Nov. 19 at a reception in Cambridge, Mass.
While working on Gary Hart’s senatorial and presidential campaign staffs, Shore co-founded Share Our Strength (SOS) in 1984 with his sister, Debbie. He has served as the organization’s executive director ever since. During his tenure, SOS has become the leading organization working to end childhood hunger in America. Partnering with the food service and culinary industries to create programs such as Share Our Strength’s Taste of the Nation and Share Our Strength’s Great American Bake Sale, SOS has raised more than $200 million. Co-marketing arrangements with companies such as Timberland, American Express, Tyson Foods, Domino Sugar and C&H Sugar, Food Network, Lexus, and SYSCO have brought in millions more to feed children and educate them about nutrition, as well as to raise awareness about hunger in the United States.
In 1997, Shore launched Community Wealth Ventures, a for-profit subsidiary of Share Our Strength, to provide strategic advice to nonprofits looking to create income-generating activities. In addition, Shore has written four books about leading change by creating community wealth.
“Everyone has a strength to share, and creating opportunities for others to do so has been a way of empowering people to make a difference in their communities,” Shore said upon learning of his selection for the award. “Solving the challenges our country faces requires more than effective political leaders. It requires effective citizens. I’m grateful that such citizen activism is recognized, uniquely and powerfully, by the Gleitsman Award, and in a way that will surely inspire others to greater action as well.”
Casey Otis-Cote, assistant director of CPL’s Gleitsman Program in Leadership for Social Change, observed, “There are two kinds of poverty in our country: those who don’t have and those who don’t know. Billy Shore has labored mightily over the past quarter-century to eradicate both. The 2008 Gleitsman Award not only recognizes Billy’s outstanding achievement, it also sets his example of inventiveness and perseverance in high relief, catalyzing the work of grassroots leaders everywhere.”
Judges for the 2008 award included Candace Lightner, founder of Mothers Against Drunk Driving; J.B. Schramm, founder and CEO, College Summit; Aviva Argote, director, Hauser Center for Nonprofit Organizations, HKS; Stanley Sheinbaum, founding publisher of New Perspectives Quarterly; and David Gergen, director, CPL, HKS. The judges received nominations and supporting materials from all across the country, and winnowed the list down to six finalists. The award recipient was chosen by majority vote.
Echoing the judges’ sentiments, Gleitsman Foundation secretary and treasurer Cheri Rosché, who is the partner of now-deceased Alan L. Gleitsman, added, “Alan founded the Gleitsman Citizen Activist award program to recognize people who make a difference, tell their story, and make others aware of what one person can do. Billy is an ideal choice to receive this award because of his twofold genius. He has galvanized the restaurant industry by getting people to contribute what they do best: cook for, create, and host memorable dining experiences. And he’s raised all this money without taking funds away from the donations contributors would have given to other causes.”