History

“Since this is a night to offer awards and encouragement, I’d like to pass along some honors myself. Pat Boone, most of the world knows you as an entertainer or a movie star, but we who call you friend know that you have given most of your life to others. As spokesman for Easter Seals, and a worker for countless other charities, thousands of people have been helped and bettered; truly, this is the real music that you have given to the world. And Doug Wead, your excellent service in government at the White House and in the private sector, leading the effort for famine relief in Africa and Asia, is a reminder that wherever we work: we can work to serve others…”

President Ronald Reagan,
speaking at Charity Awards dinner event

Charity Awards

has honored humanitarian service since 1979. Initially, CAI was organized as a response to the Cambodian famine of the late 1970s. When entertainer Pat Boone and presidential historian Doug Wead met one evening for dinner at the home of Ronald and Nancy Reagan, it quickly became apparent they shared a common passion – fighting world hunger head-on.

The dire situation in Southeast Asia demanded action, so Boone, Wead, and later, Dan O’Neill, founded CAI and the Charity Awards as a way to honor philanthropic work and to raise money to fight famine. Out of that first event Mercy Corps was born, which has donated $2 billion of food and medicine around the world.

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Meanwhile, First Lady Rosalynn Carter focused the attention of the world on the crisis in Southeast Asia. She made a high profile trip to the refugee camps in Thailand. In 1980, Rosalynn Carter hosted the first Charity Awards in the East Room of the White House and so the event was born in a bipartisan spirit.

That first event raised $300,000 to fight the Cambodian famine. It was a modest beginning. Since then, hundreds of celebrities, presidents, and other leaders have helped the work of the Charity Awards, bringing greater awareness to issues of need and raising more support for worthy charities year after year.

Charity Awards solicits no public funds. Here is an honor roll of worthy charities that our members have recognized and supported over the years. Please consider a donation to one of these outstanding organizations.

National Charity Award Recipients

Adventist Alumni Awards
AIDS Foundation
Air Lifeline
American Red Cross
Boys and Girls Clubs of America
Canine Companions
Canyonville Christian Academy
Catholic Charities
Childhelp USA
Columbia Union College
Convoy of Hope
Eagle Ranch
Easter Seals
Edward C. Mazique Center
Episcopal Relief Fund
Etehad Foundation
Feed My People
Grace Bible Church
Habitat for Humanity
Helen Dunbar Scholarship Fund
Hope International
LDS Humanitarian

Life Coach Foundation
Lutheran Relief
Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD)
Make-A-Wish Foundation
Mayflower Institute
Mercy Corps
Missionaries of Charity
Muscular Dystrophy
Our Lady of the Mountains Building Fund
Olive Crest Center for Abused Children
Oxfam International
Romanian Children’s Fund
Seventh Day Adventist Church
St. Jude’s Research Hospital
Special Olympics
Summer Soul Harvest
The Salvation Army
Union Springs Academy
United Jewish Charities
Up With People
World Vision
Youth Horizons