John W. Gardner Leadership Award


John W. Gardner, American statesman and founding chair of Independent Sector, was the ultimate builder of ideas, people, and causes. Each year, we honor his spirit by recognizing an American visionary whose body of work has empowered constituencies, strengthened participation, inspired movements, and improved the community of life on our planet.

Bryan Stevenson, Recipient of the 2016 John W. Gardner Leadership Award
Bryan Stevenson, executive director and founder of the Equal Justice Initiative, is being recognized for his visionary and transformative leadership in criminal justice and as a champion for those denied fair and just treatment under the law. He founded the Alabama-based nonprofit, Equal Justice Initiative, in 1989 to provide legal services to low-income defendants and prisoners who have been wrongly convicted, denied effective representation, or whose trials have been marked by racial bias or prosecutorial misconduct.

Bryan’s passionate advocacy for reform in the criminal justice system began years before it became a topic of national debate and discussion. He has argued before the Supreme Court five times and was named one of TIME’s 100 Most Influential People in 2015. He is the author of several books, including the most recent New York Times bestseller, Just Mercy, which focuses on the work of EJI and its clients.

Watch Bryan's TED Talk:

Read more about Bryan in a recent profile in the Chronicle of Philanthropy and in the IS press release.

The awards will be presented during the John W. Gardner Leadership Awards Luncheon on November 18 in Washington, DC during the Independent Sector Conference.

About the Award:


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