In 1972, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, U.S. Senator Robert Taft, Jr. and Sam Beard founded the American Institute for Public Service, a 501c3 public foundation, to establish a Nobel Prize for public and community service - The Jefferson Awards.
The Jefferson Awards are presented on two levels: national and local. National award recipients represent a "Who's Who" of outstanding Americans. The national awards are given in five categories:
On the local level, Jefferson Awards recipients are ordinary people who do extraordinary things without expectation of recognition or reward. By honoring the Jefferson Award recipients, it is the goal of the American Institute for Public Service to inspire others to become involved in community and public service.
By last count, the Jefferson Awards had 148 Media Partners in 93 communities, setting an all-time record. The Jefferson Awards s is the nation's largest media partnership highlighting service to America.