For Immediate Release
Cecile Richards and Bill McKibben Announced as Recipients of the 2010 Puffin/Nation Prize for Creative Citizenship
NEW YORK - The Nation Institute announced today that Planned Parenthood president, Cecile
Richards, and author, educator, and environmentalist Bill McKibben have both been
chosen to receive the annual $100,000 Puffin/Nation Prize for Creative
Citizenship. This is the first year the prize has been awarded to two winners.
McKibben and Richards will receive the award on December 6, 2010 at The Nation
Institute Annual Dinner Gala in New York City.
The Puffin Foundation and The
Nation Institute are the mutual sponsors of the award, which is given to an
individual who has challenged the status quo through distinctive, courageous,
imaginative, and socially responsible work of significance. Recipients are to
be found in a broad range of occupations and pursuits, including academia,
journalism, public health, literature, art, the environmental sciences, labor,
and the humanities. The prize is intended to encourage the recipients to
continue their work, and to inspire others to challenge the prevailing
orthodoxies they face in their careers.
Cecile Richards serves as
president of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA) and the Planned
Parenthood Action Fund, PPFA's advocacy and political arm. She is a leader in
national progressive politics with more than 30 years of experience working on
behalf of social justice and reproductive freedom. Since February 2006, Ms.
Richards has led Planned Parenthood to many significant achievements,
including its success in ensuring FDA approval of over-the-counter status for
emergency contraception, and the launch of a nationwide campaign to provide
comprehensive, medically accurate sex education for all young people in the
United States. Her yearlong tireless leadership in the fight for healthcare
reform ensured that the bill, passed in March 2010, would strengthen women's
health overall and include access to reproductive healthcare. Ms. Richards
leads a federation of 87 Planned Parenthood affiliates that manage more than
825 health centers nationwide, providing family planning and reproductive
healthcare services, education, and information to millions each year.
Prior to joining PPFA, Ms. Richards
served as the founder and president of America Votes, a coalition of 42
national organizations, including the Planned Parenthood Action Fund. America
Votes was created to maximize voter registration, education, and mobilization
among grassroots organizations. Fresh out of college, her first job was
organizing low-wage workers in the hotel, healthcare, and janitorial industries
throughout California, Louisiana, and Texas.
"I am humbled and honored to
receive this award from The Nation Institute and The Puffin Foundation," said
Richards. "This prize honors the essential work that the entire Planned
Parenthood community does on behalf of women's health and rights throughout the
United States and around the world. Most importantly, this very special prize recognizes
the fact that there is still much work to do so that every woman has the right
and the power to make the most basic choices for herself and to shape the
course of her own life. When that day arrives, we will be much closer to
achieving social justice for all."
Bill McKibben is an American environmentalist and author who frequently writes about global warming and
alternative energy, and advocates for more localized economies. In 2010 The Boston Globe called him
"probably the nation's leading environmentalist" and Time magazine described him as "the
world's best green journalist". In 2009, he led the organization of 350.org, which coordinated what Foreign Policy called "the largest
ever global coordinated rally of any kind," with 5,200 simultaneous
demonstrations in 181 countries. The magazine named him to its inaugural list
of the 100 most important global thinkers, and MSN named him one of the dozen
most influential men of 2009.
Beginning his career at The New
Yorker as a staff writer, he wrote much of the "Talk of the Town"
column from 1982 to early 1987. His debut book, The End of
Nature, was published in 1989 by Random House after being serialized in
The New Yorker. It is regarded as the
first book for a general audience about climate change. Subsequently, McKibben
has authored another 12 books covering issues as diverse as genetic engineering
to media culture to local economic development planning. In January 2007, he
founded stepitup07.org to demand that
Congress enact curbs on carbon emissions that would cut global warming
pollution by 80 percent by 2050. With six college students, he organized 1,400
global warming demonstrations across all 50 states on April 14, 2007. Step It
Up 2007 has been described as the largest day of protest about climate change
in the nation's history. McKibben is also a frequent contributor to various
magazines, including The New York Times
Magazine, The Atlantic Monthly, Harper's, Orion Magazine, Mother Jones,
The New York Review of Books, Granta, Rolling Stone, and Outside.
"I'm a beginner as an
organizer; it's a great honor to be included on this list of people who have
changed America for the better. I am deeply grateful to The Puffin Foundation
and The Nation Institute for this recognition of my work. I am even more
appreciative that this award is representative of a shared conviction that now
is a singular moment in our history for all people of good conscience to come
together in defense of the planet. Our work has never been more urgent."
Perry Rosenstein, President of The
Puffin Foundation, Ltd., the co-sponsor of the Creative Citizenship prize,
said, "Bill McKibben and Cecile Richards are leaders, pure and simple. In
thought and in action, their work - whether it's protecting our
precious natural world or our precious right of self determination - inspires
and emboldens us. They are exemplary lifelong public citizens: creative and
tough, dedicated and ardent."
Andrew Breslau, President of The
Nation Institute, the co-sponsor of the prize, said, "In a year when the
fragility of our environment and a woman's right to choose are both called in
question by stubborn, sustained attack, Cecile's and Bill's achievements are
particularly important to recognize. They are both fighters whose moral
convictions and political sophistication are matched by that rarest of
combinations: grit and grace."
Ms. Richards and Mr. McKibben
are the 10th and 11th winners of the award. Activist and former Texas State Agriculture
Commissioner Jim Hightower was last year's winner. Previous recipients have
been environmental activist Van Jones, human rights lawyer Michael Ratner,
Democracy Now! host Amy Goodman, educator and author Jonathan Kozol, journalist
and author Barbara Ehrenreich, professor and anti-death penalty advocate David
Protess, labor activist Dolores Huerta, and civil rights pioneer Robert Parris
its founding in 1983, The
Puffin Foundation has sought to open the doors of artistic expression by
providing grants to artists and art organizations who are often excluded
mainstream opportunities due to their race, gender, or social
philosophy. Puffins, whose nesting sites were endangered by encroaching
civilization, were encouraged to return to their native habitats through
constructive efforts of a concerned citizenry. The Foundation adopted
Puffin as a metaphor for how it sees its mission, which is to ensure
arts continue to grow and enrich our lives.
A nonprofit media center, The
Nation Institute was established to extend the reach of progressive ideas and
strengthen the independent press. Its dynamic range of programs include a
bestselling book publishing imprint, Nation
Books; an award-winning Investigative
Fund, which supports groundbreaking investigative journalism; the widely
read and syndicated website TomDispatch;
an internship program
at The Nation magazine; and Journalism Fellowships that
fund up to 25 high-profile reporters every year. Work produced by The Nation
Institute has sparked Congressional hearings, new legislation, FBI
investigations, and the resignation of government officials, has changed the
debate, and has a regular impact on the most urgent social and political issues
of our day.