Youth Villages stories

Youth Villages stories

Jefferson Award

Youth Villages CEO, Actress Kristen Bell and TOMS Corporation Receive National Jefferson Awards for Outstanding Public Service

Sep 25, 2020 | Blog, News Releases

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (Sept 25, 2020) – Youth Villages CEO Patrick Lawler received the National Jefferson Award for Outstanding Public Service Benefiting the Disadvantaged, joining actress Kristen Bell and TOMS Corporation in a virtual award ceremony.

The award created in 1972 by Jacqueline Kennedy as a “Nobel Prize for service,” is given by Multiplying Good, the nation’s leading nonprofit promoting personal growth and leadership through public services.

Lawler is celebrating his 40th anniversary of work helping children with emotional and behavioral issues and their families leading Youth Villages, a national nonprofit organization Pat Lawlerheadquartered in Tennessee that now works in 23 states and the District of Columbia. The first recipient of Lawler’s  award in 1973 was Cesar Chavez. Other honorees have included Bill and Melinda Gates, Paul Newman and Joanne Woodard, Barbara Bush, Geoffrey Canada and Brian Stevenson, lawyer and social activist whose book became the film “Just Mercy.”

“Our National Jefferson Award recipients are at the top of their respective fields,” explained Hillary Schafer, CEO of Multiplying Good. “The Jefferson Awards gives us the opportunity to use the power of recognition to share the stories of our honorees. This is our way of inspiring hope in our country in a time when we are overwhelmed with stories of division.”

Lawler wants the award to focus attention on the needs of children and families involved in foster care systems across the country.

“Hundreds of thousands of children come into our child welfare systems each year, often because of poverty, parental substance abuse or other overwhelming life circumstances,” Lawler said. “By strengthening and restoring families, we can give them the best chance for success, and I’m hopeful this award will shine a light on the most effective solutions.”

Actress and activist, Kristen Bell received the S. Roger Horchow Award for Outstanding Public Service by a Private Citizen. “I am honored to receive this award from Multiplying Good because I always feel my best when I am of service to others,” Bell said. “It gives me a true sense of purpose and reminds me of how connected we all are.”

The Jefferson Award for Outstanding Public Service by a Corporation went to humanitarian clothing brand TOMS. “At TOMS, we believe in a better tomorrow. And creating a better tomorrow means much more than shoes. To us, it means we are supporting our partners and the incredible work they do,” said Amy Smith, TOMS chief strategy and impact officer. “These partners are the true heroes who are on the ground, and we are honored to work with them to help create meaningful change.”

The Jefferson Awards is the nation’s largest and longest-running awards ceremony honoring public service. The awards are hosted twice a year. The event was originally scheduled to take place in Washington, D.C.

About Multiplying Good
Multiplying Good is a national nonprofit that channels the power of public service to unleash potential in individuals. For nearly 50 years, they have honored those who build better communities, trained young leaders, and activated individuals and organizations to multiply the impact they can deliver. Through a continuum that starts with engagement and culminates in recognition, they fuel personal growth and multiply the power of service to others. Through recognition, they inspire individuals and those who hear their stories to deliver greater positive change. You can learn more about the organization by visiting or engaging with their online communities via FacebookInstagramTwitter, and YouTube.

About Youth Villages
Youth Villages is a national leader in children’s mental and behavioral health committed to building strong families, delivering effective services and significantly improving outcomes for children, families and young people involved in child welfare and juvenile justice systems across the country. Founded in 1986, the organization’s 3,000 employees help more than 30,000 children annually in 21 states across the U.S. Youth Villages has been recognized by the Harvard Business School and U.S. News & World Report and was identified by The White House as one of the nation’s most promising results-oriented nonprofit organizations. Learn more at