|Ruth W. Messinger winner of the LAnne Frank Spirit of Commitment Award – President of American Jewish World Service (AJWS), the world’s leading Jewish organization working to end poverty and realize human rights in the developing world. After a remarkable 18-year presidency, Ruth will soon take on a new role as AJWS’s first Global Ambassador, continuing her crucial work of engaging global leaders, activists, rabbis and interfaith leaders to speak out on behalf of oppressed and persecuted communities worldwide. Ruth joined AJWS in 1998, following a 20-year career in public service in New York City.
As a leading activist for human rights around the globe, she lectures widely and holds leadership roles in the faith-based advocacy arena. She chairs the social justice committee of the State Department’s Religion and Foreign Policy Working Group and is a member of the World Bank’s Moral Imperative working group on extreme poverty. Ruth has been honored by many national Jewish organizations and has been named for the past decade among the “world’s most influential Jews” and religious leaders by The Forward, The Jerusalem Post and The Huffington Post.
|Sharon and Preston Douglas winner of the Anne Frank Distinguished Advocates Award – Sharon Douglas serves as Secretary of the Board of Directors at the Anne Frank Center for Mutual Respect, as well as the education committee and executive committee. Sharon has been an educator for most of her adult life, teaching at the middle, high-school and adult levels. Ms. Douglas has served on the Boards of National Council of Jewish Women, Five Towns Music and Art Foundation, Women’s Division of the Long Island Jewish Hospital South Shore, SIBS of South Nassau Communities Hospital and The American Jewish Congress. Since 1998 she has been on the Board of Directors of the American Red Cross Nassau County. In 1999, she was a member of the delegation to the United Nations for the Anne Frank Declaration of Peace and in the New Millennium and in 2009 attended the ceremony celebrating the Spirit of Anne Frank Awards at Parliament in England, where an Award for Moral Courage was given to Miep Gies. In June of 2011, Ms. Douglas attended receptions for the Anne Frank Trust UK luncheon at 11 Downing Street with Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne and at 10 Downing Street with Prime Minister David Cameron and his wife Samantha Cameron.
Preston Douglas has been in the private practices of law for over forty years. He is a partner in the law firm of Gurfein Douglas LLP in NYC which is primarily involved in personal injury practices. He is the editor-in-chief of the N.Y. Trial Lawyers Review, the scholarly publication of the NY State Trial Lawyers’ Institute and has published, lectured and written nationwide. Mr. Douglas has served as co-chair on The American Association for Justice Medical Negligence Group. He has been elected to Super Lawyers for more than five years, and is a member of the National Trial Lawyers Top 100.
|The Holocaust Claims Processing Office winner of The Outstanding Citizens Award – Established in 1997, the New York State Department of Financial Services Holocaust Claims Processing Office (“HCPO”) provides institutional assistance to individuals seeking to recover assets — bank accounts, insurance policies, and works of art — lost due to Nazi persecution between 1933 and 1945. The HCPO is the only government entity in the world that aids Holocaust victims and their heirs free of charge with a variety of multinational compensation processes. The skill set of the HCPO team is as varied as the claims they pursue. Anna B. Rubin, Director, and Connie Walsh, Deputy Director, are both attorneys by trade focused on international law and human rights. Rebecca Friedman, Inna Kushnirsky and Anna Rathkopf are Claims Specialists. Rebecca is an attorney with a MA in art history. Inna has a MS in mathematics with extensive experience in information technology. Anna Rathkopf has an MA in theology and Jewish studies from Prague. Eleonora Vyadro, is a Claims Assistant, has a BA in engineering and French. Inspired by the legacy of Anne Frank, New York State is committed to correcting the injustices of the past.
||Taylor Weckstein winner of The Leah and Ed Frankel Scholarship – Taylor Weckstein is the founder of Giving 1 Family at a Time or G1FT in Traverse City, MI. G1FT is a non-profit organization that identifies and helps at-risk poverty level families transition out of poverty by providing mentoring and items that assist with returning to work, continuing education, and restoring health and well-being. Since founding this organization at age 11, Taylor has raised over $55,000 through various fundraisers. Each year, G1FT supports one family, providing highly individualized support and providing the right stepping stones for that particular family to regain their financial independence. Taylor will be attending the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill in the fall as an Innovation Scholar. As Taylor states in her essay, “One word, one action, one family at a time, adversity—no matter its magnitude—can be overcome.”
|Marwa Abdulhai winner of the ING Scholarship Award – Feeling disheartened by her inability to help her native country, Marwa founded the New Jersey Chapter of Indian Muslim Relief & Charities, a charity that reaches the impoverished and underprivileged in India. Since 2014, Marwa has held fundraisers raising over $100,000 to help rehabilitate refugees from the Muzzafarnagar riots and support the education and upbringing of orphaned girls in Hyderabad. After visiting India to directly see the effects of the IMRC support provided to communities there, Marwa continued her efforts raising $52,500 in 2015 to build tube wells in Kashmir villages to provide clean water to its impoverished citizens. She hopes to continue this summer program for youth volunteers in giving back to their communities at home and beyond. In her essay, Marwa states “This is the spirit of Anne Frank that I wish to embody – to bring smiles to faces that I’ve never had the chance to meet. I want to change the lives of the young girls and boys of families who at one point did not have a future. I want them to live on and strive to achieve their ambitions and nurture that spirit in their own children.”
||Maryalice Rosa winner of The van de Pol Outstanding Student Scholarship – After growing up in a small community that experienced cross burnings, racist graffiti, and racial slurs, Maryalice decided to dedicate herself to encouraging acceptance and tolerance. Inspired by Anne Frank’s legacy, she became a board member of The Breakthrough Project, a nonprofit organization whose mission is to create a community that is free of bigotry, racism, prejudice, and intolerance by celebrating our diversity through communication, education, and response to acts of intolerance. Maryalice then went on to receive the highest honor in the Girl Scouts of America, The Gold Award, for starting an Educational Campaign for Inclusion and Acceptance in schools focused on eliminating prejudice. In her essay Maryalice states, “The racist sentiment of a few people can permeate a town’s atmosphere, but the efforts of small groups of diligent individuals can bring about change.”
|Carolina Dalia Gonzalez winner of the Leah and Edward Frankel Scholarship Award – “Anne Frank dealt with isolation in the Secret Annex, just as undocumented youth face isolation in their everyday lives,” wrote Carolina Dalia Gonzalez in her application essay. As the granddaughter of Cuban immigrants, Ms. Gonzalez grew up in Miami with a keen understanding of the challenges and alienation many new arrivals to America face, especially children. This knowledge prompted her to found Deferred Action for Dreamers, whose mission it is to help young, undocumented immigrants in the South Florida community defer deportation and gain employment authorization. To date the organization has helped over 2,000 applicants from the ages of sixteen to thirty-one.
||Kiran Sridhar winner of the ING Scholarship Award – In the sixth grade, Kiran Sridhar volunteered at a free meals program at a local San Francisco church, an experience that has influenced him every day since. “There were people who looked just like me and who had similar aspirations,” he explains. “Yet, as they told me, hunger was a barrier to achieving their dreams; when they couldn’t guarantee three meals a day, their focus could not be centered on bettering themselves or their community.” Shortly after, Mr. Sridhar founded Waste No More, a nonprofit that connects restaurants, hotels, and caterers to charities. The organization continues to grow years later, releasing its first digital app in January.|
|Caitlyn Chang winner of an Outstanding Student Award – “My introduction to the Imprint Project was rather sad,” confessed Caitlyn Chang in her application essay. Because of lack of interest and internal conflict, “it was the last meeting of the chapter.” Luckily for the organization – which raises money to free women and girls from sex trafficking – Ms. Chang was not dissuaded. Instead she started the first ever high school chapter of the Project at Bloomington High School South in Indiana. Since its first meeting in August of 2013, the group has had as many as 48 members and raised $3500 through trunk shows, making it the most successful chapter of the Imprint Project to date.
||Sydney Nicole Marcus winner of an Outstanding Student Award – As a varsity athlete and dancer, Sydney Marcus was often exposed to intolerant language and ideas by her fellow teammates. Inspired by Anne Frank and her own grandmother, she decided to do something about it. First, she became an ambassador for Athlete Ally, an organization of straight athletes that supports LGBTQ individuals in sports. She has also raised money and awareness through dance concerts and by coordinating monthly community meetings at her school called L.E.A.D., which stands for listen, educate, and appreciate difference.
|Sheri P. Rosenberg – In Memoriam winner of the Outstanding Educator Award. As the daughter of a Holocaust survivor, Sheri P. Rosenberg was a tireless advocate for the rights of minorities and vulnerable populations, with a special focus on victims-survivors of genocide and mass atrocities. As an Associate Clinical Professor of Law at Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law, she supervised landmark victories for minority rights toward combating racism, discrimination, and intolerance around the globe. Specifically, Ms. Rosenberg and her students represented clients before the European Court of Human Rights and the African Commission on Human and Peoples Rights.|
|Hidden Children of the Holocaust – Anne Frank was but one of thousands of Jewish children who were in hiding during the Holocaust. Had she survived, she would be celebrating her 85th birthday today, June 12, 2014. Jewish children died at a rate far higher than adults in the Holocaust. Estimates are that only 6-11 percent of Jewish children survived, compared to 33 percent of adults. These children often had to deny their identities as Jews, housing with Christian families or religious organizations, or physically hiding in attics, closets, barns, fields, and cellars.They often lived in danger and fear.
||Alexis Joan Werner – My journey came to a crossroads when I was 15 years old,” wrote Alexis Werner in her Spirit of Anne Frank Scholarship Award application. It was then that her step-father came home from his third duty in Afghanistan.“It was so scary to see such a physically strong man deteriorating mentally.” Alexis decided something had to be done.Actually, three things.|
|Derrick Parker – When co-founding the mentoring program Each One Teach One in his hometown, Kansas City, MO, Derrick Parker knew he had his work cut out for him.“Growing up as a young black male in the urban community can be hard… When a young boy goes home surrounded by drugs, poverty, and illegal lifestyles it can be hard to focus on what is important, and that is education.”
||Neha Gupta – While most kids spend their days on bicycles or playing video games, Neha Gupta took a different approach. At just nine years old, she founded the non-profit Empower Orphans to help orphaned and underprivileged children in India. “Many impoverished young women in India end up on the streets and are forced into prostitution,” she wrote in her Spirit of Anne Frank Scholarship Award application.
|Claire Helman – After reading The Diary of Anne Frank in the 8th grade, Claire Helmen remembered “thinking how brave and courageous [Anne] was.” For her, the teenager was a kindred spirit, specifically in her concern for children affected by violence. Two years earlier, Claire founded a program, “Claire’s Comfort for Kids,” to help the children of domestic violence victims. Her idea was to have other children make blankets with personal notes that would be placed in police cars so that when an officer arrived at a scene where a child was involved, they could give them one of the blankets, letting them know others cared.||Isabel M. Zayas – Years after reading The Diary of Anne Frank, Isabel Zayas found herself asking “What would Anne do?” In high school, she battled depression and anxiety, and, like Anne, felt marginalized and alone.“No matter how overwhelming my own experiences,” she confided in her Spirit of Anne Frank Scholarship Award application,“I realized how terrifying Anne’s were…Anne taught me the value of resilience; I worked hard to emulate her.” She did this by founding the first LETS chapter in her home state of Connecticut.|
|Peter and Elisa Rapaport are committed to education, volunteerism, and stewardship. Both have earned respect for their dedication to community service and support through the Rapaport Family Charitable Trust. Peter and Elisa are honored to be able to support numerous human-service organizations. This is a legacy they hope to pass onto their two young children.||Steve Berryis an international best selling author whose books have been translated into 40 languages. History lies at the heart of every Steve Berry novel. It’s his passion, one he shares with his wife, Elizabeth, which led them to create History Matters, a foundation dedicated to historic preservation.|
|Julia Joy McBee was a top-ranked senior at the Alexander W. Dreyfoos School of the Arts in West Palm Beach Florida. Julia has been a non stop advocate in the campaign to prevent human trafficking and has been instrumental in efforts to lobby the state to pass laws against such cruelty. Julia plans to major in international studies and political science and to continue to focus on social issues including human trafficking.||Kathryn Anne Butler is attending George Washington University. She has played the lead role in efforts to promote anti-bullying legislation in both Michigan and on a national level. She gathered 56,000 signatures for Michigan’s anti-bullying bill removing offensive language. She organized a second petition changing the rating of BULLY to PG13 from R.|
|Janet Chen is a strong and influential activist for teen suicide prevention. She created and chaired a committee that drafted suicide prevention legislation that was adopted and passed by the Colorado Senate and House of Representatives. She has volunteered as an attorney for Teen Court and has interned for her congressional representative. She is attending Columbia University.||Meghan McNeeley is a teacher at the Clarke Middle School in Athens, Georgia. She has worked tirelessly for years to raise Holocaust awareness and to develop Holocaust education incentives through the inspiration of Anne Frank. Meghan has also participated in the Holocaust and Jewish Resistance Teachers’ Program.|
|Jack Polak met Ina Soep in June 1943, in Nazi-occupied Netherlands. They both ended up in Westerbork transit camp, from which prisoners were sent to camps across Europe. Against all odds, Jack and Ina continued on to the notorious Bergen-Belsen concentration camp….||Stanley Stewart is a teen leader in VOX’s JUST Georgia Initiative, a program that brings young people’s voices to the legislative agenda of rewriting Georgia’s juvenile code. He became involved with the Initiative, knowing how too quickly children can find themselves in juvenile systems.|
|In August of 2008 Matt Ferguson returned home from football practice to find his mother in tears and his family gathered in the living room. His father announced that his mother had been diagnosed with aggressive breast cancer. It was life changing moment…||Rachel Mirachal was profoundly affected by Anne’s diary, and while volunteering at the local food pantry saw the growing need for family food assistance 67 years after Anne’s family suffered similar food deprivations. Inspired to act, Rachel became a driving force in behind the Paramus Helping Paramus Food Drive…|
|In response to the growing culture of youth violence and limited knowledge of the Holocaust, in the summer of 2011, Sudip Bhandari founded The Anne Frank Project. Funded by a St. Olaf College Entrepreneurial Grant, he traveled to Nepal committed to teaching students about the atrocities of the Holocaust…||A longtime classroom educator at James A. Garfield High, Garrettsville, Ohio, Dr. Steven Howell has worked tirelessly for many years to confront discrimination and to bring the importance of the history of the Holocaust and other genocides into his teaching curriculum…|
|Sy Sternberg has been very closely associated with Big Brothers Big Sisters of New York City for over 30 years and has served on the Board of the New York City Leadership Academy since it was founded in 2003 as a primary training center for principals…||Joseph Alexander Langerman, a recent graduate of Coronado High School, is the Founder of Voices Against Cruelty, Hatred, and Intolerance (VACHI), a movement designed to end hate-motivated behavior on high school campuses. …|
|Jordan Hannink drafted the charter of the Red Heel Coalition after talking with her principal about feelings of prejudice as a young woman in society. The Coalition’s motto “invest in a girl and she will do the rest” was originally met with hostility…||Raechel Rosen, has performed and spoken at the United Nations, The World Bank, The International Children’s Day of Peace, and at Carnegie Hall. After attending a global awareness program in Malawi, Africa and witnessing the devastation wrought by HIV, Ms. Rosen created a song…|
|Emma Sullivan adopted two underserved elementary schools and started an organization called Caring About Tomorrow’s Students (CATS). She recruited 65 high school student volunteers to raise money to buy…||Mark Hanis is the Founder and President of Genocide Intervention Network/Save Darfur Coalition (GI-NET/SDC), the largest anti-genocide organization in the world, boasting a supported base of over one million activists, a nationwide…|
Ronald B. Bruder
|George Stevens, Jr.
Richard B. Jones
Dr. Ellen Kennedy