Giovanna Andrews with her daughter, Isabella Harper PHOTO CREDIT: WILLIAM BRETZGER, THE NEWS JOURNAL


Like mothers, service to others transforms lives! In celebration of Mother's Day, we're highlighting a few Jefferson Award recipients whose service work and impact illustrate the power of service and the important roles moms play in our lives. 


Giovanna Andrews, 2019 Jefferson Award recognized by The News Journal (WILMINGTON, DE) 

After the birth of her daughter when she was 21-years-old, Giovanna Andrews felt inspired to give back to the many people who helped her when she was pregnant and a young mother. Because of this, she launched Harpers Heart, which aims to support the needs of expecting mothers and mothers with children aged 0-24 months. Harpers Heart helps young families obtain essentials such as diapers, wipes, blankets, clothing, and infant furniture. On one occasion, Andrews, who was worried no one would come to her event, saw more than 100 people in a line wrapped around the room. The event eventually became the 2,500 diaper giveaway.


Kristen Bell  2020 S. Roger Horchow Award For Outstanding Public Service By A Private Citizen

Kristen Bell is an actress, singer, producer, and philanthropist. She firmly believes giving back is both an obligation and a privilege. Recently, she was named an Advocate for the United Nations’ Women’s Peace and Humanity Fund. She is part of The Alliance of Moms, which supports pregnant and parenting teens in the Los Angeles’ foster care system, and Baby2Baby, which provides low-income families with children ages 0-12 with diapers and cribs clothing, and other basic necessities. Kristen was the driving force behind the No Kids Policy, which pressured many media companies to change their policies and no longer run unauthorized paparazzi photos of celebrities’ minor children.


Kimberly Collica-Cox, Ph.D., 2018 National Jefferson Award for Outstanding Public Service by an Employee 

Dr. Kimberly Collica-Cox is an associate professor at Pace University. At Pace, she serves as the adviser to the Criminal Justice Society and Alpha Phi Sigma student organizations. She developed a civic engagement course, which resulted in the creation of the Parenting, Prison, and Pups (PPP) program, volunteering her time as the program’s director and lead trainer. PPP is an animal-assisted therapy-integrated parenting program offered to female inmates in Manhattan and Westchester County.


Mariska Hargitay, 2019 National Jefferson Award for Outstanding Public Service Benefiting the Disadvantaged

In addition to being an Emmy and Golden Globe Award winner, Mariska Hargitay is the Founder of the Joyful Heart Foundation, whose mission is to transform society’s response to sexual assault, domestic violence, and child abuse, support survivors’ healing. Hargitay, a mother of three, stars as Olivia Benson, a dedicated and emotionally driven detective and commanding officer of New York City’s Special Victims Unit, a role she credits with awakening her to the burdens that survivors of trauma often carry: the weight of shame, judgment, and isolation.


Ingrid Johnson, 2018 Jefferson Award, recognized by NJ Advance Media - Newark, NJ

Ingrid Johnson’s 13-year old daughter was kidnapped and held captive for 11 months. Searching the streets of New Jersey and New York, with minimum support, Ingrid – a mother of three – used every instinct she could muster to find her daughter. Now she works tirelessly to ensure that no one’s daughter is a victim of human trafficking. She volunteers with Covenant House of Newark, works with the Newark and New Jersey Coalition against Human Trafficking, and has served on boards such as Nancy's Place, Communities in Cooperation, and the Sanar Wellness Institute. Ingrid has also testified before the New Jersey Senate to advocate for legislation to support laws and services to assists victims.


Linda Owens, 2021 Jefferson Award recognized by KPIX CBS San Francisco Bay Area recently celebrated Linda Owens of Hayward, California, who was honored with a Jefferson Award by our Media Partner, KPIX. Owens, who is 78-years-old helps babies in foster care. She recently took in her 81st infant as a foster parent. The Washington Post recently wrote, "She is called several times a year to pick up newborns who cannot live with their birth mothers by court order. Many of the babies were exposed to drugs in the womb and stayed with Owens until a judge rules they can be reunited with their parents or they are adopted, she said." Owens took in her first newborn in 1987.


Michelle McMullen, 2018 Jefferson Award, recognized by WQAD News 8 - Davenport, IA & Moline & Rock Island, IL 

In 2013, Michelle McMullen’s son Jordan passed away at age 14 after battling a rare and aggressive form of cancer. Jordan’s positive attitude brought so much joy to his classmates, teachers, friends, the media, and those throughout the Quad Cities Area that he inspired Michelle to start Jordan’s Joy, a nonprofit organization that helps children living with rare and life-threatening diseases. Jordan’s Joy does more than raise money for families. It creates joy and memories so that children have something to look forward to and look back on. Recently Jordan’s Joy surprised Noah Holton – a 13-year-old with a form of Cerebral Palsy – with a big check for a wheelchair ramp and a shopping spree at a video game store.