Founder, Kat Wehunt, Awarded The National Jefferson Award for Public Service.
CHARLESTON RESIDENT, KAT WEHUNT, RECIEVES NATIONAL JEFFERSON AWARD FOR PUBLIC SERVICE, JOINS 2022 RECIPIENTS INCLUDING SHARON MCMAHON, GENERAL JACQUELINE VAN OVOST, JOHN CALIPARI, AND FARMLINK FOUNDERS.
NEW YORK, NY, November 3, 2022 –On Wednesday, November 2, 2022, Multiplying Good held the 50th Annual Jefferson Awards ceremony at the Zeigfeld Ballroom in New York City.
Founded by Jacqueline Kennedy Onasis, Senator Robert Taft Jr, and Sam Beard, The Jefferson Awards and organization honored the public service of Kat Wehunt, from Charleston, SC, who helps others through The Formation Project, which raises awareness and provides services for trafficking victims across South Carolina's Lowcountry. Kat joins other national recipients honored at the New York City ceremony including Sharon McMahon, “America’s Government Teacher,” General Jacqueline D. Van Ovost, Commander of U.S. Transportation Command, John Calipari, Head Coach of the University of Kentucky Men’s Basketball, and Ben Collier, James Kanoff, and Aidan Reilly, founders of The Farmlink Project, as well as youth and unsung local grassroots heroes who have made an extraordinary impact on others through service.
“For 50 years, the Jefferson Awards has worked to change the narrative – that good that is happening all around us,” said Hillary Schafer, CEO of Multiplying Good. “When we celebrate service on our biggest stage, those stories echo across the nation, reaching millions and inspiring action.
Multiplying Good gave awards to grassroots, unsung heroes through the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Award for Outstanding Public Service Benefiting Local Communities. The recipients include Kat and: Delfarib Fanaie for her work in founding Moms Against Poverty (MAP), a nonprofit that has served more than 2 million poor children in 16 countries and built out more than 60 schools and supported 30+ orphan care centers around the world.
Nashauna Johnson-Lenoir, from Rochester, MN, who was recognized for her life skills program, Journie, an 8-week curriculum for teens ages 13 to 18 that pairs each with a mentor and teaches them about money management, accountability, and the importance of education and relationships. Terry McLean, from Conway, SC, who was honored for mentoring and tutoring children, as well as for establishing a food bank, summer camp, and one of the largest childcare centers in the state. King Singh, from Queens, NY, for founding the King Fights Cancer Foundation, which has helped more than 250 families in and around his Queens Village home delivering over 1,500 toys to homes and hospitals. The event was live-streamed and the full show is available for viewing at multiplyinggood.org.
Other national recipients of the 2022 Jefferson Award include, Sharon McMahon, “America’s Government Teacher” was recognized with the S. Roger Horchow Award for Outstanding Public Service by a Private Citizen for her work dispelling misinformation on the internet, as well as raising more than $4.2 million for charities like RIP Medical Debt and World Central Kitchen, with the help of her online community. Furthermore, as a champion of teachers and education, Sharon most recently raised over $1.2 million dollars in one weekend in August 2022 with 100% of the money going to $500 individual teacher grants.
General Jacqueline D. Van Ovost, Commander of U.S. Transportation Command, received the US Senator John Heinz Award for Outstanding Public Service by an Elected or Appointed Official. As the senior ranking female officer in the Department of Defense, Gen Van Ovost has championed multiple initiatives related to the diversity, resilience, and lethality of the joint force leading to positive operational results. In her role as the USTRANSCOM Commander, she is the key logistics advisor to the Secretary of Defense and has overseen the Joint Deployment and Distribution Enterprise’s operations supporting humanitarian response missions, the Presidentially directed Operation Baby Formula, and the US’s persistent supply of aid to Ukraine that has enabled the continued defense of their nation against unprovoked Russian aggression. Gen Van Ovost is a command pilot with more than 4,200 hours in over 40 aircraft and has served over 30 years in defense of the United States.
John Calipari, Head Coach of University of Kentucky Men’s Basketball, received the Jefferson Award for Outstanding Public Service in Professional Sports. The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Famer has spent his career off the court giving back – a personal mission rooted in his principles of drawing attention to a cause, providing immediate needs, and generating lasting impact. Most recently, he launched the McClendon Minority Leadership Initiative – a coach-driven initiative to provide men and women of color a jump-start to their careers through practical experiences, opportunities to build their
network, and instilling the values of John McLendon: integrity, education, leadership, and mentorship. The Samuel S. Beard Award for Outstanding Public Service by an Individual(s) 35 & Under was presented to Ben Collier, James Kanoff, and Aidan Reilly, founders of The Farmlink Project. These three college students saw a problem in the world and built a scrappy, grassroots solution that's changing the world. Their premise was that no one should have to go to bed hungry while perfectly viable produce goes to waste. a nonprofit organization dedicated to connecting farms with surplus produce to relief organizations delivering millions of healthy meals to families in need. To date, they have prevented 41
million lbs. of carbon emissions, moved 75 million pounds of food, and delivered 62.5 million meals – all in just two years’ time.
One individual received the Jefferson Award for Outstanding Public Service by an Employee.
Major John W. Treadwell Sr. (New Castle County Government, New Castle County, Delaware) has been committed to improving the community as a police officer, mentor, leader, and volunteer. Major Treadwell’s volunteer efforts include serving on the Board of Directors for National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), teaching at the Citizens Police Academy, volunteering on the statewide Crisis Intervention Committee, training law enforcement to deal with citizens in crisis, and promoting person wellness focusing on Mental Health initiatives for Law Enforcement Officers.
Multiplying Good honored the top youth service teams for service work conducted as part of Multiplying Good’s Students In Action (SIA) program. After competing in Multiplying Good’s Public Service Pitch Day against other SIA teams in their respective communities, the top team receives a Gold Award. Lexington High School SIA Team in South Carolina received the Gold Award in recognition of their Linking Lexington project. It began in 2017 with the selling of paper links to make a unity chain. Now this annual event includes many groups within the school, multiple school districts, and over 46 businesses. In 2019, this team also created St. Baldrick's Week, which annually raises money for pediatric cancer research with the St. Baldrick's Foundation. Since 2017 these two events have brought in over $111,000.
During an 'In Memoriam' segment narrated by Multiplying Good's co-founder Sam Beard, the organization paid tribute to past Jefferson Award recipients Madeleine Albright, Paul Farmer, MD, Bob Dole, Colin Powell, and Board of Selector member Harry Reid, all of whom died since the last ceremony in 2021.