The AALC Inspiration Awards Gala was held on Tuesday, September 9th, 2014 at Gotham Hall in New York City. Ms. Robin Roberts, co-anchor of Good Morning America, hosted the event. The funds from this gala benefited the Inspirational Tour: an educational, interactive exhibit that examines the life and legacy of Arthur Ashe through the lenses of tennis and sport, youth and education, health and wellness, and service and citizenship. The exhibit received more than 13,000 visitors during its two installations in 2013. Funds raised at the Inspiration Awards will be used to secure and sustain the permanent home for the Inspirational Tour and Arthur’s legacy, providing an educational resource open to the public in perpetuity.
To recap the evening’s festivities check out the Inspiration Awards Gallery.
::: The Heart of Arthur Award :::
President Bill Clinton
The Heart of Arthur Award honors and recognizes outstanding individuals who personify Arthur’s commitment to service. The award was first presented on July 10, 2013—on what would have been Arthur’s 70th birthday—to his brother Johnnie Ashe, who served an additional tour in Vietnam to prevent Arthur from experiencing the front lines of war. This September will mark the final presentation of the award to recipient President Bill Clinton.
William Jefferson Clinton was the first Democratic president in six decades to be elected twice – first in 1992 and then in 1996. Under his leadership, the country enjoyed the strongest economy in a generation and the longest economic expansion in U.S. history, including the creation of more than 22 million jobs.
After leaving the White House, President Clinton established the Clinton Foundation with the mission to improve global health, strengthen economies, promote health and wellness, and protect the environment.
In addition to his Foundation work, President Clinton has served as the top United Nations envoy for the Indian Ocean tsunami recovery effort and as the UN Special Envoy to Haiti. Today, the Clinton Foundation is supporting economic growth, capacity building, and education in Haiti.
President Clinton was born on August 19, 1946, in Hope, Arkansas. He and his wife Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton have one daughter, Chelsea, and live in Chappaqua, New York.
In 1993 President Clinton posthumously awarded Arthur the Presidential Medal of Freedom and later inducted him into the US Open Court of Champions. President Clinton and Arthur are most deeply connected by their shared belief in working to better the world and address the world’s most pressing challenges.
::: The Inspiration Award :::
Lonnie G. Bunch, III
This year we will present the first Inspiration Award, created to honor individuals who make extraordinary achievements in education and culture that will serve as inspiration for subsequent generations.
This inaugural Inspiration Award will be conferred on Dr. Lonnie G. Bunch, III, the Founding Director of the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture.
Currently under construction on the National Mall, Bunch has been central to all aspects of the Museum’s development, including formulating the mission, acquiring pieces for the collections, steering fundraising and membership campaigns, and overseeing the design and construction of the building. His tremendous efforts to preserve, piece together and celebrate the African American experience will not only create a tremendous educational resource open to the public for years to come, but also help shape a more holistic record of the American experience. Dr. Bunch embodies Arthur’s deep commitment to history, education, and the stewardship of these values for future generations.
Co-Anchor, “Good Morning America”
Robin Roberts is co-anchor of ABC’s “Good Morning America.” Under her leadership, the broadcast won four Emmy Awards for Outstanding Morning Program.
When not traveling around the world covering breaking news events, Roberts is at “GMA’s” studio in Times Square conducting interviews with a diverse group of newsmakers. Her headline-making interviews include President Barack Obama on his support of gay marriage, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg on the site’s new tool to save lives, First Lady Michelle Obama, the New York City hotel maid who accused IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn of sexual assault, and NBA Superstar LeBron James on his announcement to play for the Miami Heat. In her role, she has conducted interviews with countless musicians, authors, athletes and celebrities.