FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
FOUNDER OF “NOBEL PRIZE FOR CHILD ADVOCATES” AWARDED 2012 ELLIS ISLAND MEDAL OF HONOR
World of Children Award Co-Founder Harry Leibowitz Honored for Commitment to Improving the Lives of World’s Most Vulnerable Children
NEW YORK, NY – May 7, 2012 – Harry Leibowitz, Ph.D., who co-founded the nonprofit World of Children Award (www.worldofchildren.org) with his wife Kay Isaacson-Leibowitz, has been chosen for an award of his own – the 2012 Ellis Island Medal of Honor. This is a recognition given to remarkable Americans who exemplify outstanding qualities in both their personal and professional lives while continuing to preserve the richness of their particular heritage.
This year’s Ellis Island Medal of Honor recipients include Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, actress Brooke Shields, singer Frankie Valli and other notable leaders of industry, education, the arts, sports and government. Past Medalists include six Presidents, numerous Nobel Prize winners and leaders such as Rosa Parks, Dolores Huerta, Muhammad Ali, Bob Hope, Muriel Siebert, U.S. Senator Daniel K. Inouye and Elie Wiesel.
Leibowitz and his fellow Medalists will be honored at May 12 gala celebration on Ellis Island hosted by the National Ethnic Coalition of Organizations (NECO).
“As a child of immigrants, whose parents and grandparents walked more than 1,000 miles with barely the clothes on their backs for the opportunity to get on a ship and come to the United States, I can think of no greater recognition for the work we all do for children in need than the Ellis Island Medal of Honor,” remarked Leibowitz. “I am deeply grateful to accept this honor on behalf of all those brave and selfless individuals who have devoted their lives to serving vulnerable children throughout the world”.
Established in 1986 by NECO, the Ellis Island Medal of Honor was designed to pay homage to the immigrant experience, as well as for individual achievement. Medals are awarded to U.S. citizens from various ethnic backgrounds whose professional and personal contributions have created a better world. Both the United States House of Representatives and Senate have officially recognized the Ellis Island Medal of Honor and each year’s recipients are read into the Congressional Record.
Co-founded in 1998 by Leibowitz and his wife, Kay Isaacson-Leibowitz, the World of Children Award is the only global recognition and funding non-profit that recognizes individuals who are improving the lives of vulnerable children worldwide.
For 15 years, the World of Children Award – which has been hailed by the media as the “Nobel Prize for Child Advocates” – has used a rigorous vetting process to identify the world’s most effective child advocates and provide funding for their efforts to improve children’s lives. The organization’s exhaustive research and vetting of individuals spearheading health and humanitarian initiatives across the global spectrum has been hailed by leading philanthropic organizations.
Since 1998, the World of Children Award has granted more than $4.8 million in cash grants and program support to 90 honorees who are the driving force behind organizations serving children in more than 100 countries. More about Leibowitz and the World of Children Award can be found at www.worldofchildren.org. More about the Ellis Island of Medal of Honor can be found at http://neco.org/medalists.php.
ABOUT HARRY LEIBOWITZ
Long before "boomers giving back" became a story, Harry Leibowitz was pioneering a new model of hands-on philanthropy. Harry grew up in humble beginnings in Brooklyn, New York - throughout World War II and into the early 1950's his family lived in an old bungalow in Coney Island where ten families shared the common bathroom facilities. He began working long hours upon becoming a teenager. Through these experiences, he developed an incredible work ethic and an appreciation for the plight of children born into challenging circumstances. Harry went on to enjoy a successful business career, serving in senior executive positions at companies such as Procter & Gamble and ESMARK as well as running his own marketing consultancy. His years of business travels around the world gave him a firsthand taste of the plight of children in developing countries and made a lasting impression.
In 1996, Harry had a vision for the World of Children Award when he was recovering from cancer surgery at age 55. Watching the Pulitzer Prize announcements on TV, he noted that while there was a Pulitzer for art and literature, a Nobel for the sciences and peace and an Oscar for films, there were no awards for those who were tirelessly serving children in need. That realization was a catalyst for Harry, and he subsequently founded the World of Children Award with vital support from Starr Commonwealth. Harry then pledged to dedicate the rest of his life to creating a prestigious awards program to support social change makers helping children in need around the world. Harry now devotes all his time to running the World of Children Award - serving as Board Chair and visiting World of Children Award Honorees around the globe along with his wife Kay-Isaacson Leibowitz, a World of Children Award board member and retired fashion executive who has served at the helm of leading brands such as Banana Republic and Victoria's Secret.
Harry's honors include the Procter & Gamble Alumni Humanitarian Award in 2007, the Reclaiming Youth International Child Advocacy Award in 2006 and the Starr Commonwealth Child Advocacy Award in 1999. Harry and the World of Children Award are featured in Kenneth Cole’s 2008 book, AWEARNESS: Using Ordinary Resources To Do Extraordinary Things, and in the 2012 book The Humanitarian Leader in Each of Us: 7 Choices That Shape a Socially Responsible Life and most recently in a book about Procter & Gamble Alumni who have made a difference: When Core Values Are Strategic.