The Faith & Politics Institute (FPI) this week held its Annual Gala at the Willard Hotel. The packed room included Members of the House and Senate, business leaders, foreign dignitaries and officials from executive and legislative branches of government. They enjoyed an evening dedicated to unity, bridge building and civil discourse. They also celebrated FPI’s recipients of the Lewis-Houghton Leadership Award and thePhilanthropic Leadership Award.
The Lewis-Houghton Leadership Award recognizes leaders who have exhibited conscience, courage, and compassion in their roles as public servants. The award is named after the Honorable John Lewis (D-GA) and the Honorable Amo Houghton (R-NY) who served as co-chairs of FPI from 1997 to 2005.
This year, Lewis-Houghton Leadership Awards were given to U.S. Rep. Spencer Bachus (R-AL) and U.S. Rep. Jim Clyburn (D-SC).
Bachus is serving his tenth term in the House and sits as Chair of the Financial Services Committee. He has worked tirelessly over the years to tear down racial barriers and stereotypes. Bachus serves each year as a co-chair to the famed FPI Civil Rights Congressional Pilgrimage to Alabama led by Rep. John Lewis (D-GA).
“Congressman Bachus is conscious of the divides–racial, religious, economic, and political–that can separate us,” said Liz McCloskey, President/CEO of The Faith & Politics Institute. “He has looked across these chasms and made a decision to begin building a bridge. His presence on our Civil Rights Pilgrimages to Alabama has greatly enhanced the experience for others and has helped further our mission at The Faith & Politics Institute.”
Clyburn is the Assistant Leader of the House Democratic Caucus as well as leadership liaison to the Appropriations Committee and one of the Democratic Caucus’ primary liaisons to the White House. He Chairs the House Faith Working Group. Clyburn was a Civil Rights leader in the 1960’s practicing civil disobedience, participating in sit-ins, marches and civil protests toward the ongoing march to justice and equality.
“Few Members of Congress with whom I have worked bring their religious faith into the political arena as admirably and authentically as does Jim Clyburn,” said Rev. Doug Tanner, Founder and Senior Advisor, The Faith & Politics Institute. “His preacher father once told him that people would rather see a sermon than hear one. Jim remembers that well; occasionally he preaches with words, but more often he preaches with the values that are evident in his spirit, his style, and his actions.”
The Philanthropic Leadership Award recognizes the outstanding efforts of corporations and other leading organizations and individuals serving as exemplary models of American enterprise and charitable engagement.
The Philanthropic Leadership Award, this year, goes to the Coca-Cola Company.
With more than 126 years in business, The Coca-Cola Company’s promise to the communities it serves is simple: refresh everyone who is touched by their business. In 2011, through its foundation, Coca-Cola invested more than $124 million worldwide to support clean water projects, community recycling programs, fitness and nutrition programs, educational efforts and other sustainable community initiatives.
The Coca-Cola Company,” said Rep. John Lewis, “is a shining example of the good a corporation can do to serve humanity, so it is very fitting for The Faith & Politics Institute to honor it with the Philanthropic Leadership award. The generosity of this corporation represents the gold standard in sustaining communities whose loyalty has helped build their brand into a multinational leader in the beverage industry. Coke executives understand that serving people is the foundation of a profitable business and the mandate of every corporate citizen. I congratulate the Coca-Cola Company and the Coca-Cola Foundation on this well deserved award.”
A new film short on FPI’s Civil Rights Pilgrimage to Alabama can be found at www.faithandpolitics.org
For more than twenty years, The Faith & Politics Institute has served hundreds of members of Congress and congressional staff by offering experiential pilgrimages, reflection groups, retreats and public forums. In a world that is increasingly interconnected, we are dedicated to doing this work with the Congress because of their ties to a broad constituency and their leadership in local, national and global policy. Our belief is that our commitment to a relatively small but influential group of people will ultimately reach many.
The Faith & Politics Institute advances reflective leadership among members of Congress and congressional staff to bridge the divides that arise in a thriving democracy.