Established in 1985 to honor IS founding chair John W. Gardner, the annual award recognizes an individual whose leadership in the nonprofit community has been transformative; who has mobilized people, institutions, or a cause that improves the lives of others; and who exemplifies the leadership and ideals of the award's namesake.
Brown will be recognized for his leadership in the national service movement, his commitment to education and social justice, and his belief in the potential of every young person. That leadership is most clearly evidenced by City Year, a national service education organization whose corps members serve full-time for a year in schools in high-poverty communities, providing one-on-one tutoring, organizing afterschool programs and other school-wide initiatives, and working with school leaders, teachers, and families to ensure success for all students. Brown also championed the founding of AmeriCorps and serves as an advocate for several service-oriented organizations.
"John W. Gardner, the founder of our organization and one of civil society's great champions, lived an example of leadership like few in our history of this social good sector," said IS president and CEO Diana Aviv. "Michael Brown does him proud. He has understood from the very launch of City Year that volunteers doing the real, on-the-ground work of serving people in communities was what really mattered. Knowing that making such a difference requires both the heart and the hands, Michael has helped create a culture of national service in America."