The Gerard Health Foundation has unveiled the “Life Prizes” program to award up to $600,000 to those who uphold and preserve the sanctity of life in public advocacy, scientific research, outreach, legal action, and other activities.
The inaugural award is named the Norinne A. and Raymond E. Ruddy Memorial Pro-Life Prize to memorialize the strong believers in the pro-life cause. Their son, Raymond B. Ruddy, continues to be a pro-life philanthropist in his work as the head of the Gerard Health Foundation.
The initiative is intended both to encourage the next generation of pro-life leaders and to recognize those who save the lives of the unborn by advancing pro-life principles.
“Our primary objective is to reward those who are preserving the culture of life through their charitable enterprises or through advocacy programs that defend and preserve the sanctity of human life.
We also hope to encourage young people to embrace and create a culture of life for future generations to come,” Cathy Ruse, a prominent pro-life lawyer who is Executive Director of “Life Prizes,” said in a press release.
Dr. Jack Wilkie, former president of the National Right to Life Committee, said he is “thrilled” to see the program come into existence.
“The ‘Life Prizes’ program will elevate the pro-life commitment in remembering the significant victories we have achieved and demonstrates that there are many fruits to be harvested by the next generation in carrying the pro-life torch and taking the movement to a new level,” he commented.
Kristan Hawkins, Executive Director of Students for Life of America, also sees the initiative as a positive development for the future of the pro-life movement. “Life Prizes can transform that momentum into inspiration for today’s teenagers, college students and young professionals.” “We are building incredible momentum among today’s youth in the pro-life movement,” she added.
According to Cathy Ruse, nominations have been sent out to over 100 leaders of pro-life organizations and are due in mid-August. Prize winners will be announced in October and the awards will be presented in a Washington, D.C. ceremony in January 2009. The ceremony will be held in conjunction with Students for Life of America’s annual conference during the week of the March for Life.