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How it Works

Nominations are open year round. We run a month long digital campaign in the summer to solicit nominations for all national categories. Our Board of Selectors is then tasked to vote for finalists in September. We work on confirming recipients throughout the Fall of each year.

Who Can Nominate

Everyone is invited to submit a nomination for one of the eight National Jefferson Awards presented each year. Other national level awards are determined programmatically and are not open for public nomination or selection.

The Selection Process

The Board of Selectors votes to determine national award recipients. Our Selectors are chosen for their commitment to public service and span age, occupation, and point of view. They represent the diversity and individualism which is the hallmark of this country.

The Award

Recipients of a Jefferson Award receive a medallion of gold, silver, or bronze. Gold medallions are awarded to National recipients. Silver and bronze medallions are presented to individuals recognized locally.

Nominate an Individual or Organization

Honoring those who put others first elevates and empowers them as individuals and organizations, and inspires others to do the same.

National Awards Categories

  • Lifetime Achievement in Public Service

    This award is given to an individual who has devoted their life to exceptional public service in any arena.

  • U.S. Senator John Heinz Award for Outstanding Public Service by an Elected or Appointed Official

    Publicly elected or appointed officials carry the greatest responsibility to serve the need of the American people, and to offer unusual leadership. By elevating the national standard of what it means to serve in public office, more qualified young people will aspire to civic leadership.

  • S. Roger Horchow Award for Outstanding Public Service by a Private Citizen

    This award is given to any private citizen who plays a vital role in serving others and whose achievements are exceptional.

  • Outstanding Public Service in Professional Sports

    This award is given to any individual in professional sports who has used their platform for good and made an equal mark in the community. Recipients can include athletes, coaches, and professional sports leaders.

  • Outstanding Public Service Benefitting the Disadvantaged

    This award is given to the person who has done the most to uplift the position of disadvantaged Americans. Improvement in education, nutrition, working conditions, health services, housing or economic opportunities are among the achievements which can be rewarded.

  • Samuel S. Beard Award for Outstanding Public Service by an Individual(s) 35 & Under

    This award is given to encourage youthful achievement in public service. Achievements in any field are eligible. Qualified for this category are persons who have not reached their 36th birthday prior to December 31 of the year in question.

  • Outstanding Public Service by an Individual(s) 25 Years or Under

    This award is given to encourage the youngest Americans to deliver meaningful service to others. Achievements in any field are eligible. Qualified for this category are persons who have not reached their 26th birthday prior to December 31 of the year in question.

  • Outstanding Public Service by a Corporation

    This award is designed to recognize an company who has truly done well by doing good.

  • Outstanding Public Service by an Employee

    This award is designed to recognize two (2) of the countless employees across the country who have been recognized locally through our Champions program. These are individuals performing extraordinary public service outside the workplace. Our Champion partners recognize hundreds of employees each year with Jefferson Awards. Our Board of Selectors chooses two for national recognition.

  • Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Award for Outstanding Service Benefitting Local Communities

    This award is designed to recognize five (5) of the countless individuals across the country who are performing extraordinary public service in their local communities. Our Media Partners recognize 1,000+ local grassroot unsung heroes each year with Jefferson Awards. Our Board of Selectors chooses five for national recognition.

  • Students In Action Gold/Silver/Bronze

    Each year, student teams from our Leadership Communities compete against thousands of their peers to attend the Jefferson Awards Ceremony in Washington. One per community is chosen. From these, our Board of Selectors chooses three for national recognition.

  • Students In Action Ambassador

    Each year, one Students In Action team is chosen from a group of student teams that have participated and excelled for multiple years and have already been recognized with a Gold, Silver, or Bronze National award. A single Ambassador school is elected by a panel of their peers to attend the National Ceremony.

National Jefferson Award Winners

The rich history of the Jefferson Awards is marked with the names of many notable individuals — those who helped to establish the organization as well as those we have recognized across the years.