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Brooke Russell Astor Award


The Brooke Russell Astor Award was established in 1987 as part of a generous endowment gift to The New York Public Library from David Rockefeller. Mr. Rockefeller’s gift is a tribute to Mrs. Astor’s continued commitment to supporting the role of individuals who improve the quality of life in New York City. Given annually, the Brooke Russell Astor Award honors an unsung hero or heroine, someone whose unrelenting efforts and tireless dedication to this city have contributed substantially to its betterment. Nominations for the Brooke Russell Astor Award are solicited from over 300 individuals and organizations, including cultural groups, universities, foundations, elected officials, community groups, and social service agencies. The selection committee includes representatives from the cultural, academic, government, and social service communities of New York.

The Astor Award is presented each year at the Spring Dinner for Education, a night that celebrates the library's investment in lifelong learning and its commitment to the human capital of New York City. We ask that nominees be involved in education, an area of great importance to Mrs. Astor.  For questions regarding the Brooke Russell Astor Award, please contact or 212.930.0671.

2016 Nomination process opens December 1, 2015 

The award's recipients since its inception have been:

2015: Kim Sweet, Executive Director of Advocates for Children of New York (AFC)

2014: Teresa Arboleda, President, Citywide Council on English Language Learners and Jeffrey Litt, Superintendent of Schools, Icahn Charter Schools

2013: Jon Green, Network Leader / Director of Instruction, The Urban Assembly

2012: Seymour Fliegel, Founder, Center for Educational Innovation – Public Education Association

2010-2011: William J. Dean, Executive Director of Volunteers of Legal Service (VOLS)

2009: Lucina Clarke, Founder and Executive Director of My Time Inc., a support center for parents of children diagnosed with Autism and Developmental Disabilities

2008: Reverend Terry Troia, Executive Director of Project Hospitality, an interfaith effort committed to serving the needs of the hungry and homeless people;

2007: Carl Siciliano, Founder and Executive Director of the Ali Forney Center, an organization that provides shelter and support to runaway homeless youth who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender

2006: Fran Barrett, Founder and Executive Director of the Community Resource Exchange (CRE), a whose mission is to give small neighborhood groups and community-based organizations around New York greater access to the technical assistance, training, and support needed to strengthen and maintain their services

2005: Reverend Mitchell G. Taylor, Founder and Chairman of the East River Development Alliance, a community-based organization whose mission is to transform and improve public housing

2004: Sister Simone A. Ponnet, Co-Founder and Executive Director of the Abraham House

2003: Le Lieu Browne, Founder and Chair of the Refugee Woman Council, a non-profit
that helps other refugee woman in the New York area with acculturation and integration into their new environment

2002: Miriam Lubling, Founder and President, Rivka Laufer Bikur Cholim

2001: Bryan Pu-Folkes, Founder and President, New Immigrant Community Empowerment, an organization that has been recognized as a leading advocate for immigrants in New York City

2000: Yolanda Sanchez, Executive Director, The Puerto Rican Association for Community Affairs, this association developed a pioneering bilingual, bicultural day care curriculum

1999: Yvonne Stennett, Executive Director of The Community League of West 159th Street

1998: James Gilmore, Co-Founder of One Hundred Blacks in Law Enforcement

1997: Cordell Cleare, Co-Chair of the New York City Coalition to End Lead Poisoning

1996: Kathy Goldman, Founder and Executive Director of the Community Food Resource Center

1995: Henry J. Carter, Founder of Wheelchair Charities, Inc., a not-for-profit all-volunteer organization devoted to raising funds to purchase specialized equipment for wheelchair- bound adolescent patients at Goldwater Memorial Hospital

1994: Frank Carucci, Coordinator of Cultural Arts for the Career Education Center, an alternative high school program located throughout the city dedicated to introducing students to the arts

1993: Sister Elizabeth Hasselt, Co-Founder and Executive Director of Encore Community Services, an agency dedicated to improving the quality of life of poor and homeless elderly

1992: Joyce Wallace, M.D., F.A.C.P., Executive Director of the Foundation for Research on Sexually Transmitted Diseases

1991: Guy Polhemus, Founder and Executive Director of WE CAN, a redemption center where the homeless bring bottles and cans to collect the nickel deposits

1990: Marie Christopher, Co-Founder of Alliance for a Drug-Free City, who waged a successful battle against a drug dealer who was operating in her apartment building

1989: Genevieve Brooks, President and Executive Director of MBD Community Housing Corporation, a coalition created to halt the deterioration of a Bronx neighborhood

1988: Rita Zimmer, Founder of Women in Need, an organization that addresses the needs of homeless women and their children

1987: Emma Blake, a retired practical nurse who devoted her personal resources to feeding the hungry and homeless in Central Harlem

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