Natick, MA – The Gerard Health Foundation is pleased to announce the 2008-09 Life Prizes Awards Selection Advisory Committee to assist the Foundation in recognizing outstanding achievements to advance the cause of life. Archbishop of Denver Charles Chaput, the Reverend Dr. Alveda King, Ambassador Raymond Flynn, and Professor Hadley Arkes of Amherst College will help guide the Foundation in awarding prizes totaling $600,000.
Cathy Ruse, Executive Director of Life Prizes, is delighted to welcome the advisors. “These individuals are known in the pro-life community for their contribution and leadership, and their insights will be invaluable to Life Prizes in its inaugural year. We are grateful for their willingness to assist us in recognizing outstanding achievements in this, the greatest human rights challenge of our day.”
The Gerard Health Foundation is the private charity foundation of Marilyn A. and Raymond B. Ruddy, pro-life philanthropists who have long supported and donated to life causes and charities throughout the world. Life Prizes is established to recognize those individuals or organizations which 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 nomination process is currently underway as a pre-selected group of more than 100 pro-life leaders nationwide submit recommendations for award winners. Upon completion of the nomination process, the Awards Selection Advisory Committee will evaluate the nominations and assist in choosing up to six award recipients to receive monetary prizes.
“Recognition for the sacrificial work of unsung, pro-life heroes is long overdue,” stated Archbishop Charles Chaput, who has served as Archbishop of Denver for more than 10 years and has been a steady, vocal leader on pro-life issues. “It is an honor to join Life Prizes in paying tribute to them and their triumphs in protecting human life.”
Rev. Dr. Alveda King, niece of Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. and founder of King for America, also welcomes the opportunity to contribute to the program. “Just as my uncle paved the way for civil rights 40 years ago, today’s pro-life leaders are making great strides for mothers, fathers and their unborn children. It is my privilege to be a part of honoring them in this encouraging way.”
“Since 1973 I have been proud and honored to have worked with some of the most courageous pro-life people in America,” said former U.S. Ambassador to the Vatican Raymond L. Flynn. “Selecting a few heroes will not be easy, but I welcome the opportunity to serve on such a distinguished panel,” said the former Mayor of Boston, noted author and leading voice for social and economic justice in America.
Professor Hadley Arkes, renowned author, pro-life speaker, and architect of the Born Alive Infants Protection Act: “After 30-some years on the pro-life circuit, I have a fairly vivid sense of the people who have given themselves to this cause with uncommon devotion and skill,” he said. “It will be an honor in helping to recognize these people, call attention to them for a wider public, and give them this kind of thanks for what they have done, often at a considerable cost to themselves.”
Award recipients may retain the prize money or designate it to a charity whose mission is consistent with the Gerard Health Foundation’s objectives and funding policies.