Natick, MA – The Gerard Health Foundation today unveiled Life Prizes, a program that will award up to $600,000 to those who have succeeded in awakening the conscience of America to uphold and preserve the sanctity of human life through their leadership and advances in public advocacy, scientific research, outreach and public disclosure activities, legal action and other noteworthy achievements. The inaugural award will be named the “Norinne A. and Raymond E. Ruddy Memorial Pro-Life Prize” to memorialize Mr. and Mrs. Raymond E. Ruddy, strong believers in the pro-life cause and parents of Raymond B. Ruddy, a pro-life philanthropist who has long supported and donated to life causes and charities throughout the world. In addition to recognizing those on the front lines of saving lives and who have most significantly advanced pro-life principles and practices, the initiative seeks to encourage and inspire the next generation of youth to accomplish great things in the name of life.
Cathy Ruse, a prominent lawyer in the pro-life movement who has held several high level positions promoting life causes, has accepted the position of Executive Director of Life Prizes.
“Life Prizes is an idea born from Mr. Ruddy, who has worked for many years assisting numerous groups and organizations through his business savvy and generous philanthropy. Our primary objective is to reward those who are preserving the culture of life through their charitable enterprises or through advocacy programs that defend and preserve the sanctity of human life. We also hope to encourage young people to embrace and create a culture of life for future generations to come,” said Ms. Ruse.
Life Prizes is already being well received among some of the nation’s top pro-life and pro-family leaders and icons.
“I’m thrilled to see a program that will recognize those who have accomplished incredible feats in the name of life,” stated Dr. Jack Willke, President of Life Issues Institute and former president of National Right to Life Committee. “The Life Prizes program will elevate the pro-life commitment in remembering the significant victories we have achieved and demonstrates that there are many fruits to be harvested by the next generation in carrying the pro-life torch and taking the movement to a new level.”
Peggy Hartshorn, President of Heartbeat International, is in agreement that Life Prizes shows great promise. “The program will not only honor the sacrifices of those who have devoted their lives to save others, but it will also spur the life-saving heroes of tomorrow on to even greater accomplishments.”
“We are building incredible momentum among today’s youth in the pro-life movement,” stated Kristan Hawkins, Executive Director of Students for Life of America. “Life Prizes can transform that momentum into inspiration for today’s teenagers, college students and young professionals.”
According to Cathy Ruse, nomination packages have been sent to over 100 leaders of pro-life organizations and are due back in mid-August. The selection committee will announce Life Prizes winners in October, and awards will be given at a ceremony in Washington, DC in January of 2009.
How Life Prizes Will Be Awarded
Life Prizes will accept nominations from a pre-selected group of more than 100 nominators, chosen by mostly leaders of pro-life groups who support the same values and principles represented by the Gerard Health Foundation, and will be encouraged to nominate at least one worthy candidate by August 15, 2008. Nominees will be evaluated by their advances in public advocacy, scientific research, outreach and public disclosure activities, legal action or other noteworthy achievements.
After the nomination deadline, the Gerard Health Foundation will carefully review all submissions and select a group of approximately 20 finalists, which will then be evaluated by a prestigious selection committee who will select up to six award recipients.
Awards and Ceremony
Awards totaling up to $600,000 will be presented to winners of the Life Prizes at an awards ceremony held in conjunction with Students for Life of America’s annual conference during the week of the March for Life in Washington, DC. Recipients have the option to designate their prize money to a charity that is consistent with the Gerard Health Foundation’s objectives and funding policies.
The Gerard Health Foundation is a non-profit organization dedicated to saving lives through the funding and financing of pro-life initiatives throughout the world, including extensive support of HIV/AIDS prevention and ranging from activities such as pregnancy resource centers, international pro-life education, youth outreach and development, judicial reform, abstinence education, and supporting children’s hospitals in Africa. Life Prizes is their newest initiative and is already being championed by a number of devoted pro-life leaders from various branches of the movement.