SMU Simmons Luminary Awards honor groups dedicated to changing lives through education

Three organizations that support education as a catalyst for change will be honored Wednesday, March 29 with Luminary Awards by SMU's Annette Caldwell Simmons School of Education and Human Development.

Luminary Awards LogoDALLAS (SMU) - Three organizations that support education as a catalyst for change will be honored Wednesday, March 29 with Luminary Awards by SMU's Annette Caldwell Simmons School of Education and Human Development. Jubilee Park and Community Center, The Meadows Foundation, and the Southern Poverty Law Center’s Teaching Tolerance project will be honored at a 6:30 p.m. ceremony on the SMU campus.

“At a time when rapid change can be unsettling, our honorees have been improving people’s lives over the course of years through dedication, thoughtfulness and hard work,” says Paige Ware, Simmons School interim dean. “They represent what meaningful change stands for, and that makes our social fabric stronger and more enduring.”

The Luminary Award was created in 2009 by the Simmons School to honor individuals and organizations that have shown an extraordinary commitment to improving people’s lives through education. The award is given annually to a local, regional and national recipient.

Jubilee Park and Community Center, North Texas Honoree

Jubilee Park LogoThe Jubilee Park and Community Center was founded in 1997 by Saint Michael and All Angels Episcopal Church on the basis of love and respect. In celebration of its Jubilee anniversary, the church chose to bring hope to one of the most underserved areas in the city of Dallas. A team of volunteers worked together to build two Habitat for Humanity houses, from which they offered after-school programs, aerobics classes, nutritious meals and tutoring.

Twenty years later, Jubilee Park and Community Center is a catalyst for comprehensive community revitalization and enrichment in southeast Dallas, with emphasis on the education of children and adults. Its 62-block neighborhood bordered by Interstate 30, East Grand Avenue and Fair Park is now one of Dallas' safest communities, making nationally recognized strides in education and workforce development.

Jubilee’s campus includes the Walt Humann-T. Boone Pickens Community Center, a resource center, two Head Start schools, a senior housing complex and a three-acre park. Each year, 14 staff members and more than 800 volunteers provide services and education to more than 1,100 individuals. Jubilee focuses its work in five key areas: Public safety, public health, affordable housing, economic development and – central to all of its work – education.

The Meadows Foundation, Regional Honoree

Meadows Foundation LogoA private philanthropic institution established in 1948 by Algur H. and Virginia Meadows to benefit the people of Texas, The Meadows Foundation has contributed greatly to enriching the lives of countless Texans in arts and culture, civic and public affairs, education, health and human services.

Since its founding, the foundation has disbursed more than $1 billion in grants to more than 3,500 Texas institutions and agencies. The correlation between quality of education and quality of life is undeniable. Early reading, experiential learning, tutoring and mentoring programs improve lifelong study skills and academic achievement. Knowledge empowers choices that influence social and family environments, health and mental well-being, careers and incomes, homes and neighborhoods, and communities and world views.

To ensure that the children of Texas are prepared to create their futures and to provide the state with the human capital needed to compete in a global economy, the foundation’s education grants aim to help students succeed in the early years throughout their K-16 trajectories, improve poor-performing schools, ensure fewer dropouts, close achievement gaps and develop teachers and administrators whose commitments are necessary to meet these objectives. Education grants also target increasing school enrollment and completion rates in the state’s colleges and universities. Since its creation, the foundation has given $152 million to 670 education-related organizations in Texas.

Teaching Tolerance, a project of the Southern Poverty Law Center, National Honoree

Southern Poverty Law Center LogoThe Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) was founded in Montgomery, Ala. in 1971 to fight hate and bigotry. As one of the nation’s premier civil rights organizations, it seeks to shatter barriers to equality and to ensure social justice for the most vulnerable members of society. Using litigation, education and other forms of advocacy, the SPLC works to make the ideals of equal justice and equal opportunity a reality for all.

Since 1991, the SPLC’s Teaching Tolerance project has kept diversity issues at the forefront of American education. It combats prejudice among our nation’s children while promoting equality, inclusiveness and equitable learning environments in the classroom. The project produces and distributes – free of charge – an array of anti-bias resources to educators and classrooms nationwide. Educators can integrate the free tools and resources into core classroom units and their own professional development, as well as into school life, to reduce prejudice, improve intergroup relations and foster school equity.

Through its award-winning classroom documentaries, curricula and other resources, TeachingTolerance has touched the hearts and minds of millions of students and teachers with lessons about respect, equality and social justice. Its materials have received Oscar and Emmy awards, as well as Golden Lamp Awards, the educational publishing industry’s leading honors.


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