The Jack and Lovell Olender Foundation
The Jack and Lovell Olender Foundation aims to counter poverty and violence and to promote opportunity and equal justice. The foundation supports a wide array of local and national organizations that serve the public. Each year the foundation honors public figures and ordinary citizens who make extraordinary contributions to society.
Meet the 2014 Honorees
Meet Our Past Award Recipients
The 28th Annual Olender Foundation Awards
The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts
Monday, December 2, 2013
In a career of public service and civic leadership spanning the second half of the 20th century, Robert Sargent Shriver, Jr. confronted a range of seemingly intractable conflicts that pitted Americans against each other, and the United States against the Soviet Union. He helped build peace by developing and implementing programs and policies structured to promote long-term, cumulative, peaceable change. He was both a peacebuilder and public servant.
The key to Shriver's legacy of success as a peacebuilder lies in his ability to create feasible, effective programs that promote human dignity and welfare. All the programs he created are informed by a method in peacebuilding he once described as "a formula for practical idealism."
As the head of the Chicago School Board and the Catholic Interracial Council in the late 1950s, Shriver addressed America's racial conflict by leading successful efforts to integrate Chicago's public and parochial school systems. As a senior official in the Kennedy Administration, Shriver created the Peace Corps in response to the global conflict between the United States and the Soviet Union in the Cold War. The Peace Corps is a program that builds peace and friendship by sending Americans to work for human dignity and human welfare in the third world.
As Director of the Office of Economic Opportunity in the Johnson Administration in the mid-1960s, Shriver developed a multi-faceted War on Poverty designed to transform the economic and social roots of the conflict over civil rights in America. Like the Peace Corps, the programs of the War on Poverty - including Head Start, Job Corps, VISTA, Community Action Program, Legal Services to the Poor, and Foster Grandparents - continue to serve Americans today.
In the 1970s and 1980s, Shriver addressed the inter-religious tensions at the heart of the conflict in the Middle East by convening, for over five years, the first official Trialog of the Abrahamic faiths since the Moors ruled medieval Spain. He also addressed domestic and global tensions over America's escalating nuclear arms race with the Soviet Union by securing affirmation of a No First Strike policy by senior U.S. foreign policy officials and the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.
In the 1980s and 1990s, as Chairman of the Board of Special Olympics International, Sargent Shriver joined with his wife and son, Eunice Kennedy Shriver and Timothy Perry Shriver, to transform the roots of violence and discrimination against people with intellectual disabilities by promoting Special Olympics Games throughout the world.
Robert Sargent Shriver, Jr. was born November 9, 1915 in Westminster, Maryland. Shriver attended Yale University in 1934. During college, Shriver was the senior editor of the Yale Daily News. Shriver enrolled in Yale Law School in 1938, receiving his L.L.B. in 1941. Shriver went on to serve five years in active duty in the U.S. Navy during World War II.
In 1953, Shriver married Eunice Kennedy, sister of John F. Kennedy. Shriver's commitment to public service made him one of the most effective leaders of John F. Kennedy's New Frontier and Lyndon Johnson's Great Society in the 1960s. He inspired, directed, or founded numerous social programs and organizations, including Head Start, VISTA, Job Corps, Community Action, Upward Bound, Foster Grandparents, Special Olympics, the National Center on Poverty Law, Legal Services, and the Peace Corps, serving as the program's first director under President Kennedy. Shriver also ran the War on Poverty during Johnson's tenure as president. Shriver also served as U.S. ambassador to France from 1968 to 1970.
In 1972, Shriver was nominated by the Democratic Party as a candidate for Vice President with presidential candidate Senator George McGovern in the campaign against President Richard Nixon and Vice President Spiro Agnew. In 1978, Shriver began the Kennedy Institute of Ethics "Trialogue" between leaders of Christian, Jewish and Muslim religions, the first such forum for discussion since medieval Spain.
Shriver went on to become President of Special Olympics in 1984. He was appointed Chairman of the Board of Special Olympics in 1990. Under Shriver's leadership, the Special Olympics greatly expanded its international sports programs for young people around the world.
On August 8, 1994, Sargent Shriver received the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Bill Clinton, the United States' highest civilian honor, as recognition for his lifetime of public service. Shriver was married to Eunice Kennedy Shriver, the founder of Special Olympics, who died Aug. 11, 2009. Sargent Shriver is survived by his five children: Robert Sargent Shriver III; Maria Owings Shriver Schwarzenegger; Timothy Perry Shriver; Mark Kennedy Shriver; Anthony Paul Kennedy Shriver; and 19 grandchildren.
Presidential Medal of Freedom, the United States' highest civilian honor, 1994; and the "Distinguished American Award" from the John F. Kennedy Library and Foundation for his inspiring work with the Peace Corps; Shriver Head Start Center in Salt Lake City, Utah, USA, 2001.
Shriver also received more than 24 honorary degrees from universities around the world, including Yale University, Brandeis University, Boston College, Yeshiva University, the University of Liberia and Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok, Thailand.
Unsung Hero 2014
Eugene Charles Allen was born on July14, 1919 in Buckingham County, Virginia to the late Kate Tapscott Allen. Eugene was raised by Susie and Charlie Brown, his maternal aunt and uncle, not far from the James River landing where his ancestors first set foot in the country. In 1936 shortly after completing the 11th grade at the Esmont School in Albemarle County, Mr. Allen traveled to Hotsprings, Virginia where he gained seasonal employment as a waiter at the Homestead Resort. Homestead was Eugene's first exposure to the world at large and during this time he began to hone the skills in service which would carry him through the rest of his working life.
In 1939 Mr. Allen traveled to Washington, D.C. where he found full time employment at the Kenwood Country Club in Bethesda, Maryland, eventually rising to the position of Golf Club House manager. His duties consisted of tending bar, maintaining the locker room and cleaning the equipment of the club members. He once remarked to his son that he really made his money at Kenwood in tips, stating that a $1.00 tip for shining a pair of golf cleats was a lot of money in 1940’s dollars. He also earned extra money caddying and developed a love and a passion for the game of golf which lasted a lifetime. In later years he would become a charter member of the White House golf team and three time White House champion.
Eugene's life was to take it's most significant turn in 1943 when he was introduced to the radiantly beautiful, Helene Arnetta Lee of Conway, North Carolina. After a whirlwind courtship, Eugene and Helene were married at the now defunct Elks Home on 4th and Rhode Island Avenue, NW, Washington, DC on November 4, 1943. Of that union was born their only child, a son, Charles, in 1946. Two weeks following the birth of Charles, they moved into their permanent home located in the Park View section of Washington where they resided for the rest of their lives. It should be noted that this was accomplished when the owners of the property broke a covanent barring the sale of said property to “Colored people.” It should be further noted that Park View Playground was not officially desegregated until 1952 at which time the swimming pool was dug up. On November 26, 1949, Eugene was raised to the sublime degree of Master Mason with Ionic Lodge #17, Free and Accepted Masons, Prince Hall Affiliation of the District of Columbia, Incorporated, of which he was a loyal and faithful member for 60 years. He was also a longtime member of the Washington Pigskin Club.
In 1951, Mr. Allen was informed of and recommended for a vacant Pantryman position at the White House. Reluctant at first because of a significant salary cut, he eventually made his way to the Blair House where he was interviewed by the legendary Maitre D' Alonzo Fields. After carefully sizing Eugene up he stated, "I think you'll do just fine, go down to the FBI office and fill out your paperwork." He advanced from Pantryman through all of the Butler positions to the eventual top position of Maitre D' during which time he was responsible for the hiring and advancement of untold numbers of people who walked through the portals of the White House in search of a better life. Wilson Jerman was hired from the Houseman ranks by Eugene Allen and eventually succeeded him as Maitre D'. Mr. Jerman's assistance was critical in crafting the White House end of "The Butler” story.
Eugene Allen had the following observations about Presidents he worked for:
He considered Harry Truman to be the everyman President, straight talker, straight shooter, who inherited some big shoes and more than filled them. Truman was also described as the best dressed President.
He greatly admired Dwight Eisenhower's military bearing and intelligence and responsible handling of the Little Rock desegregation crisis which was not a popular course of action at the time. Mr. Allen had a great admiration for people who did their job.
Eugene stated that John F. Kennedy was a man possessed of great beauty, peerless charisma and aplomb who unfortunately didn't live long enough to see any of the wonderful programs he put in motion come to fruition. On at least one memorable evening Eugene and Helene were the dinner guests of Robert and Ethel Kennedy at their estate in McLean, Virginia.
Eugene considered Lyndon Johnson the greatest underrated President in history, a very tough man, extraordinarily adept at wielding power; a man well prepared for the job at hand. He further stated that years from now Johnson's Civil Rights Legislation would be the jewel in his crown.
He liked Richard Nixon in spite of prevailing opinions, calling him an easy man to work for and found himself much grieved by his fall and resignation. When pressed about these sentiments during the height of the Watergate scandal, Mr. Allen stated, "There are a lot of things you don't know, he just got caught!"
Eugene Allen shared the same birthday and a passion for golf with Gerald Ford, a common bond that lasted for many years. Ford often called from the golf links on July 14th to wish him a happy birthday. Eugene stated that among the Presidents in his time, Ford was the best athlete and not unlike JFK had so much more to offer the country but did not get the time.
Eugene enjoyed the very short time he served Jimmy Carter, describing him as a very smart, very down to earth guy. A sample being, "Hey Gene, you ever meet the Pope, come on up stairs I'm gonna introduce you to him." He was extremely flattered when Carter invited him along with Ambassador Andrew Young to accompany him to the United Nations for a luncheon as a guest. At Carter's behest in a handwritten letter, he traveled to Stone Mountain Georgia to help him put the finishing touches to his Presidential library.
Eugene felt that Ronald Reagan's charisma and professional training made him a force to be reckoned with as Commander in Chief, often commenting on the remarkable carriage he had for a man his age. Eugene and Helene were forever indebted to Ronald and Nancy Reagan for their gracious invitation to a State dinner. Eugene expressed the opinion that all these gentlemen were unique, stating, "You don't ascend to that level unless you and your wife are cut from a very special piece of cloth."
Eugene Allen was not a man of many words, preferring to keep his cards close to his chest but here are pearls of wisdom he passed on to his son, "Don't break bad unless you have something to break bad with:" “If you are lucky enough to have a job, hold onto it for dear life and do the very best at it that you can; somebody will recognize you." His life and legacy are a testimonial to those beliefs. Does anybody remember the magnificent portrayal of Cecil Gains by Forrest Whitaker in the movie "The Butler (smile)? When Helene departed this mortal soil on November 3, 2008, a large part of Eugene went with her. They were not in any way demonstrative people (no PDA's) but theirs was a deep and abiding love, a partnership maybe equaled but never surpassed. James 4:6 in the New Testament states that God is opposed to the proud but gives grace to the humble----Eugene Charles Allen was graced.
Eugene passed away on March 31, 2010, at the Washington Adventist Hospital in Takoma, Maryland. He is survived by his son, Charles Eugene Allen; daughter-in-law, Ortaciana Brooks Allen, five grandchildren and seven great grandchildren and his great legacy lives on.
Generous Heart 2014
Beverly L. Perry is recently retired as Senior Vice President and Special Advisor to the Chairman of Pepco Holdings, Inc. (PHI), a regional energy holding company that provides utility service to 1.9 million customers. PHI is the parent company of Potomac Electric Power Company, an electric utility serving Washington, D.C. and suburban Maryland, Delmarva Power, an electric and gas utility serving Delaware and the eastern shore of Maryland, and Atlantic City Electric, an electric utility serving southern New Jersey.
Ms. Perry joined Potomac Electric Power Company in 1990 as Manager of Government Relations for District of Columbia and Federal Affairs. Her responsibilities within Potomac Electric Power Company and PHI increased continuously over the years.
Ms. Perry is a lawyer by profession and has litigated cases in Federal and State Courts throughout the Washington metropolitan region. She practiced law with Frank, Bernstein, Conaway and Goldman prior to joining Potomac Electric Power Company. Other legal positions held by Ms. Perry included law clerk for Judge Marian Blank Horn of the U.S. Claims Court and attorney advisor with the U.S. Department of Interior, Office of the Solicitor.
Ms. Perry is a native of Franklinton, North Carolina, and a former tobacco farmer. She received her law degree from Georgetown University and her undergraduate degree from George Washington University.
Ms. Perry developed her career in public policy through strategic political analyses, civic leadership and commitment to community activities. She served as president of the local civic association in Hillcrest Heights, Maryland. Ms. Perry currently chairs the Board of the African American Civil War Memorial and Museum. She is an active board member of the Smithsonian American Arts Museum; the Greater Washington Urban League; Arena Stage; Congressional Black Caucus Institute; and the Federal Judicial Nomination Commission for the District of Columbia. Previous service includes: Former Chair, Washington Convention and Sports Authority; DC Agenda; Kiwanis Club of Washington, DC; Bowie State University Board of Visitors; University of Maryland University College; Family Life Center Foundation of the Shiloh Baptist Church; and Department of the Interior Federal Credit Union Board of Directors.
For her work in the community and business, Ms. Perry has received numerous honors and recognitions: Boy Scouts of America National Capital Region “Whitney M. Young Service Award,” 2011; DC Scores “Inspiration Award”, 2011; Government of the District of Columbia, “Meritorious Public Service Award,” 2010; American Bar Association “Commission on Women in the Profession,” 2009; Girls Inc., “2007 Honoree”; Washington Business Journal “Women Who Mean Business,” 2007; Washingtonian Magazine “Top 100 Most Powerful Women,” 2006, 2009 and 2011; The Network Journal, “25 Influential Black Women in Business,” 2007; and Washington Bar Association “Corporate Partner Award,” 2002 and the distinguished Ollie May Cooper Award. The National Bar Association named her the recipient of the Wiley A. Branton Award 2013-2014.
(photos taken by Marshall Cohen)
Sargent Shriver represented by his son Mark Shriver received The Jack and Lovell Olender Foundation “Peacemaker” Award presented by Colman McCarthy former speech writer and longtime friend of Sargent Shriver and Mark Shriver. Colman McCarthy is the founder and director of the Center for Teaching Peace and a recipient himself of the award in 1995.
The Unsung Hero Award was received by the “The Real-Life Butler” Eugene Charles Allen represented by his son Charles Allen. It was presented by WilHaygood who first wrote about the butler and maitre’d who served eight Presidents of the United States and by Sheila Johnson who headed the financial group that produced and financed the movie “Lee Daniels’ ‘The Butler’” which showed earlier this fall across the U.S. and Internationally. Ms. Johnson was co-founder of BET (Black Entertainment Television).
In addition to scholarship awards to twelve law students from Howard University Law School and UDC David Clarke School of Law, the “Generous Heart” Award was presented by Congressman James E. Clyburn and NAACP General Counsel Kim Keenan to Beverly Perry, Chairman of The African American Civil War Memorial. The grant recipient for $25,000 that Attorney Perry choose was The African American Civil War Memorial.
Six law students from Howard University and six from UDC Dave Clarke Law School received the Earl H. Davis Award and scholarships ($1,000.00 each) for their success in the study of law and their dedication to public interest law.
Previous Jack and Lovell Olender Foundation Award Recipients
- 2013: Tatyana McFadden
- 1992: Larry King
- 2002: Marian Wright Edelman, Esq.
- 2004: Spc. Shoshana Johnson
- 2010: SannyAizenberg, Katie Attenberg, Helen Breitowitz, Isack Danon, Morris Erger, Mamya Friedman, Nesse Godin, William Hess, Suzanne Holzer, Eugene Light, Catherine Liner, William Luksenberg, Harry Markowicz, Emanuel Mandel, Dr. Julius Menn, Ursula and Harry Sanders, Regina and Sam Spiegel, Elizabeth Strassburger, Lou Taub, Cantor Moshe Taubé, Alfred Traum, Josiane Traum, Susan Warsinger
- 2005: Hon. Linda Cropp
- 2006: Warren Juggins
- 2008: Capt. (Ret.) Ryan Kules
- 2009: Cpl. Wesley Leon-Barrientos
- 2008 Public Citizen, Joan Claybrook, Esq.
- 2008 Public Justice, Sandra Robinson, Esq.