John Seigenthaler Named 2012 Kraft Humanitarian Award Recipient by The Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee
Award Pays Tribute to Civic Leader’s Commitment to Justice and Human Rights
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee’s 19th annual Joe Kraft Humanitarian Award will be presented to John Seigenthaler on Nov. 8, 2012, for his contributions to improving lives through service to community and country.
Seigenthaler will be honored during the Joe Kraft Humanitarian Award Luncheon at 11:30 a.m., at the Renaissance Hotel (611 Commerce Street, Nashville). Tickets are $75 per person, or tables can be purchased for $750. Reservations for the event can be made online at The Community Foundation’s website, www.cfmt.org/attend or by calling 615-321-4939.
The Joe Kraft Humanitarian Award was created in 1994 to perpetuate the memory of a remarkable person who contributed to the Middle Tennessee community with strength of character and unwavering integrity. Annually, The Community Foundation recognizes local leaders who share the late Joe Kraft’s philanthropic passion and commitment to making life better for others. Past honorees include Amy Grant and Vince Gill, Monroe J. Carell, Jr., Martha Ingram, Clayton McWhorter, Steve and Cal Turner, Jr., and Phil Bredesen and Andrea Conte, among others.
“What can you say about a man who has done so much for so many? John Seigenthaler has been steadfast in his protection of our country's founding principles. He has been tenacious in his pursuit of the stories that have defined our present and our past. He has invigorated and, when necessary, reinvented the delivery of our country's news so that these stories get told. It sounds clichéd, but John Seigenthaler truly epitomizes the fight for ‘truth, justice and the American way.’ The Community Foundation is honored to help honor him as we celebrate his humanitarian spirit with The Joe Kraft Award," said Ellen Lehman, president of The Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee.
Seigenthaler’s career includes serving for 43 years as an award-winning journalist for The Tennessean. He served as publisher and CEO of the newspaper, and also became the founding editorial director of USA Today. A former president of the American Society of Newspaper Editors, Seigenthaler helped establish the Newseum in Washington, D.C., an interactive museum housing five centuries of news history.
At his retirement from both newspapers, Seigenthaler founded the First Amendment Center at Vanderbilt University in 1991 with the mission of creating national discussion about First Amendment rights and values. An endowed chair in First Amendment Studies was created in his name at Middle Tennessee State University. Earlier in his life, in the 1960s, Seigenthaler became a special assistant to Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy and served as the chief negotiator with the governor of Alabama during the Freedom Rides. During these events, he was attacked by Klansmen and hospitalized while attempting to aid Freedom Riders in Montgomery, Ala.
An advocate of free expression rights, Seigenthaler serves as a senior advisory trustee of the Freedom Forum. Among numerous other professional and civic accomplishments, he serves on the boards of the Country Music Foundation and the Howard H. Baker Jr. Center for Public Policy at the University of Tennessee at Knoxville. He shares his belief in perpetuating the written word through the weekly book-review program he hosts on Nashville Public Television, "A Word On Words."
Because of Seigenthaler's dedication to improving the quality of life for others through his bold, selfless search for justice, defense of human rights and strong faith in the human spirit, The Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee has named him the 19th annual Joe Kraft Humanitarian Award recipient.
For more information, visit www.cfmt.org or call The Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee at 615-321-4939.
About Joe Kraft and The Joe Kraft Humanitarian Award Fund
Joe Kraft, whose parents were Russian immigrants, was a Davidson County native, Tenn., and graduate of Vanderbilt University. Prior to receiving his degree, Kraft put his athletic scholarship on hold to enlist in the Army Air Corps after the attack on Pearl Harbor. During the war, Kraft flew 31 missions over Italy, Germany and Czechoslovakia as a navigator on a B-17 bomber. He graduated from Vanderbilt in 1948, and received a law degree from what is now Nashville School of Law in 1958. Kraft then founded one of Nashville’s largest certified public accounting firms, Kraft Bros., Esstman, Patton & Harrell.
The Joe Kraft Humanitarian Award Fund perpetuates the memory of Joe Kraft who made Middle Tennessee a better place to live through his dedication to community, home and hearth and individuals in need. The committee who chooses the recipient is particularly interested in nominations of community leaders who, like Joe, sometimes function behind the scenes. The person(s) named as the recipient of this annual award receives the opportunity to recommend that grants from this Fund be distributed to charities in which he or she believes.
About The Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee
The Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee oversees more than 850 charitable funds, providing customized philanthropic solutions with flexibility for donors, nonprofit organizations and the community. In the past 21 years, The Community Foundation has distributed more than $600 million to community programs and institutions. It is located at 3833 Cleghorn Avenue, #400, Nashville, Tennessee 37215. For more information, call 615-321-4939 or visit www.cfmt.org.
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