United Way of Rhode Island



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Jefferson Awards

NBC10 & UWRI team up to honor volunteerism

NBC 10 has partnered with United Way of Rhode Island to find local people who have gone above and beyond for their communities, but with little or no recognition. A panel of independent judges from the area will choose three local winners of the prestigious Jefferson Award for Public Service.

Congratulations to this year's winners Ramona Cook, Julia Saulino and Gerald Ventre. Visit www.turnto10.com to see the videos and read more here.


In 1972, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, U.S. Senator Robert Taft, Jr. and Sam Beard established the Jefferson Awards. The purpose of the Jefferson Awards is to honor individuals for their achievements and contributions through public and community service in order to inspire and encourage others to get involved.

The Jefferson Awards are presented on two levels: national and local. National award recipients represent a "Who's Who" of outstanding Americans. On the local level, Jefferson Awards recipients are ordinary people who do extraordinary things without expectation of recognition or reward.


The selection criteria for the national and local Jefferson Awards winners are parallel and there are two basic considerations:

First, the selectors review acts of courage, vision, dedication, and tenacity. Is there anything outstanding, unique, heroic about the nominee and his or her character? Second, they review the impact on the community. Public service is about serving people and communities. Has the nominee addressed important issues facing local communities or the country? Has the nominee had a measurable impact?

Jefferson Awards highlight the "Unsung Heroes." Eligibility includes volunteers as well as paid professionals who go well above and beyond their expected service. "Unsung" means not normally in the media.


The mission of the Jefferson Awards is to encourage and honor individuals for their achievements and contributions through public and community service. Through our Media Partners, we seek to inspire volunteering in local communities. Through our Champions, we seek to energize volunteering in the workplace. Through our Youth Service Initiative, we seek to double volunteering in high schools.