The second annual Muhammad Ali Humanitarian Awards presented by YUM! Brands Foundation took place last night at the Louisville Downtown Marriott.
The event was created to celebrate the greatness of people from around the world who are making differences in their communities and beyond. In addition to awards given to seasoned humanitarians, six young people, 30 years and younger, were honored with an award for each of Muhammad’s Six Core Principles: Confidence, Conviction, Dedication, Giving, Respect, and Spirituality.
“The Muhammad Ali Humanitarian Awards personify what the Ali Center stands for,” said Lonnie Ali, Vice Chair of the Ali Center. “Tonight, we honored some exceptional humanitarians who are demonstrating that one person’s conscious actions can effectively change the lives of many, and ultimately transform the world. We hope the Ali Humanitarian Awards continue to inspire young people to be great and do great things. It was a privilege to be among these great humanitarians who are tomorrow’s hope.”
Recipients of the 2014 Muhammad Ali Humanitarian Awards included: former NFL star, social justice activist, and actor Jim Brown; international humanitarian and entrepreneur, Mick Ebeling; Academy Award-winning actress Susan Sarandon; musician, poet, and activist Common; six young adults (age 30 and under), and Kentucky humanitarians, Robert and Deborah Blair.
Jim Brown was presented with the Muhammad Ali Humanitarian Lifetime Achievement Award. Jim Brown is known worldwide for his Hall of Fame football exploits as a running back for the NFL’s Cleveland Browns. He boldly stood up for civil rights at a time it was not a cool thing to do, and fought for equality and against injustice with necessitated courage and uncompromising integrity. It was Jim Brown who rallied the premiere athletes of the 1960s to support Muhammad Ali’s right to conscientiously object to service in the Vietnam War. Brown founded the Amer-I-Can Life Management Skills program in 1988, a program that has changed and saved thousands of lives.
Mick Ebeling was named Muhammad Ali Humanitarian of the Year for his work as founder and CEO of Not Impossible, LLC, an organization that develops creative solutions to real-world problems. Impossible’s latest endeavor, Project Daniel, is the subject of Intel’s latest Look Inside campaign. For Project Daniel, Ebeling flew to Sudan to 3D-print and fit prosthetic limbs for children of the war-torn region, then left the equipment behind with locals he’d trained who continued after he left, thus establishing the world’s first 3D printing prosthetic lab and training facility. Mick also created the Eyewriter: a DIY, open-source, low-cost device that enables individuals with paralysis to communicate and create art using only the movement of their eyes.
Susan Sarandon was honored with the Muhammad Ali Humanitarian Award for Global Citizenship. The Academy-Award winning actress and social and economic activist’s charitable work includes serving as an ambassador for UNICEF, on the board of advisors for the Yele Haiti Foundation, and on the Advisory Committee for FilmAid International. She also has served on the Amazon Conservation Team (ACT) Board of Directors and is now on their Advisory Board. Susan was Action Against Hunger's award recipient at the “Restaurants Against Hunger Campaign” gala in 2006, in honor of World Food Day.
Common was presented the Muhammad Ali Humanitarian Award for Education. Common, who is a multiple Grammy Award-winning hip hop artist, poet, and guest speaker known to motivate and empower collegiate minds at prestigious universities across the country. In 2000, he launched his own philanthropic effort, The Common Ground Foundation, whose mission is dedicated to the empowerment and development of disadvantaged youth in urban communities by mentoring in three areas: character development, creative expression and healthy living.
“The incredible efforts of the humanitarians who were honored this year serve as a testament to the fact that one person can change the world. Muhammad Ali is a living example of that statement. It is our hope that these awards create a catalyst in younger generations to get out and make a difference,” said Donald Lassere, President and CEO of the Muhammad Ali Center.