Home People Washington’s Jefferson Awards for Public Service Announced

Washington’s Jefferson Awards for Public Service Announced

Seattle CityClub is proud to recognize community leaders each year through the Washington State Jefferson Awards. Regarded as the “Nobel Prize” for public service, this award honors “unsung heroes” for their volunteerism and action to make the world a better place. This year’s  awards ceremony was held on April 13th in Seattle, in celebration of Thomas Jefferson’s birthday.



Jesús Hernández, Wenatchee – For over 25 years Jesus has volunteered his leadership, vision, and drive to benefit the youth and families of North Central Washington. As the first Latino Wenatchee District School Board member and a leader in multiple civic and education-based organizations in the region, Jesus engages students and families to teach cultural competency in the classroom, build parent-teacher partnerships and improve access to healthcare for the Spanish-speaking community. His work in leadership development by introducing new generations to local civic activities has helped promote successful youth, community empowerment, and community service in the Wenatchee area.

Helen Leuzzi, Bellevue – After successfully working with her local church and other community organizations to establish a woman’s day center to provide services for homeless and low-income women in Bellevue, Helen realized that the women she served during the day were left to fend for themselves without shelter in the evenings. Helen felt this was unacceptable in her home town, a modern city of wealth and gleaming high-rise office buildings. She founded The Sophia Way, a non-profit that is not only a shelter for homeless women in Bellevue, but also gives them the opportunity to rebound back to healthy, independent lives.

Quintard Taylor, Seattle – Quintard is the founder of BlackPast.org, a 13,000 page website devoted to African American and global African history. ​Quintard’s​ grand vision​ for the site​ is to take what scholars do in university classrooms and to ​extend that ​knowledge beyond campus boundaries ​so that every computer screen, regardless of its location, ​can be ​a classroom in African American history. With new entries and new contributors adding content regularly,​ ​this free, comprehensive, educational resource is now accessed by an average of 20,000 visitors per day.

Keith Tucker, Federal Way – Keith’s past experiences with substance abuse and his subsequent twenty three years of sobriety have inspired him to address community issues of poverty, obesity and chronic illness through teaching youth to eat and value healthy food. Keith engages youth by organizing Hip Hop Green Dinners across the country, events that provide opportunities for youth, families and communities to share a free, vegan healthy meal together while enjoying hip hop music with a live DJ. What started as a creative way to educate young people about culture, nutrition and healthy lifestyles in Federal Way has now expanded into a unique model of community building that Keith takes on tour across the country.

Scott White, Chehalis – Seven years ago, Scott set out to revive ​his hometown’s downtown area by working​ ​with the City of Centralia​ ​and other community leade​​rs to form a non-profit called Historic Fox Theater Restoration. From​ ​its first​ ​production in 2008 to a full slate of movies and​ ​performances in 2014, more than 25,000 people have attended the Historic Fox Theater due to Scott’s vision. Not only has his work revived the arts and culture​ ​scene in Centralia, but it has acted as a catalyst for local economic revitalization – spurring new businesses to open in the city center.

Congratulations also to all our 2015 Jefferson Award Nominees! View this year’s nominees here!

About the Jefferson Awards

In 1972, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis and Senator Robert Taft Jr. founded the Jefferson Awards. Since then, the Jefferson Awards program has become a unique nationwide effort that recognized the highest ideals and achievements of individuals in public service in the United States. For more information about the national Jefferson Awards program, visit www.JeffersonAwards.org.