Main Street, United States

Ordinary Acts of Courage

February 4, 2011

A national award honours ordinary people in local communities who commit extraordinary acts of courage on behalf of immigrants

The Freedom From Fear Award is a new national award that honours ordinary people in American communities who commit extraordinary acts of courage on behalf of immigrants and refugees -individuals who have taken a risk, set an example, and inspired others to awareness or action.

In designing the award, founders Geri Mannion and Taryn Higashi took aim at the “unsung heroes” amongst us rather than professional advocates and organizations.  The award shifts the story from the immigrant to the host community and the ordinary people and places where inclusion and integration take place -in schools, neighbourhoods, workplaces and city streets. It invites us to consider the give and take required of all parties, or the two-way dynamic of successful immigrant integration.

Freedom from Fear

The Freedom From Fear Award takes its name from former U.S. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s famous “four freedoms” speech 70 years ago in which he outlined four fundamental freedoms that people “everywhere in the world” ought to enjoy:

  • Freedom of speech and expression
  • Freedom of religion
  • Freedom from want
  • Freedom from fear

Based on nominations from people “like you”, awardees will receive a $5,000 cash award. Nominations are now being accepted and the deadline for submission is February 28, 2011. Winners will be announced in the late spring of 2011.

The Freedom From Fear Award was founded by Geri Mannion and Taryn Higashi, co-recipients of the Council on Foundations 2009 Robert W. Scrivner Award for Creative Grantmaking. Mannion directs the U.S. Democracy Program and Special Opportunities Fund at Carnegie Corporation of New York, and Higashi is Executive Director of Unbound Philanthropy and formerly the Ford Foundation’s Deputy Director for Human Rights and Program Officer for Migrant and Refugee Rights. They were recognized by the Council on Foundations for their leadership of the Four Freedoms Fund, a national funding collaborative that has invested more than $35 million since 2003 in more than 85 grantees working in 33 states to protect immigrants against abuses, promote humane immigration policies, engage newcomers in civic life and build bridges between receiving communities and new residents.

Mannion and Higashi decided to donate the $10,000 cash prize accompanying the Scrivner Award to establish the Freedom From Fear Award. Since then 40 other individuals and foundations have contributed to help launch the award.

A Good Idea with legs! We look forward to the awardees and their stories of  ordinary and “extraordinary” acts of courage.

Themes: connect, Advocacy