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Bulls' Thomas among three NBA stars selected for prestigious Jefferson Award for public service

Thomas started the Tyrus Thomas Foundation, which, in cooperation with the Baton Rouge Area Foundation, provides educational and recreational programs to area children.This year, he launched Tyrus Thomas, Inc., which is funding a youth retention program called C.A.T.C.H. (Caring and Actively Teaching Children Hope), which targets at-risk youth. He has also been involved with homeless shelters and the Chicago Housing Authority as well as funding a summer enrichment program for teens.


SAN FRANCISCO (November 23, 2009) – Ronnie Lott, NFL Hall of Famer and founder of All Stars Helping Kids, today announced the ten “Dream Team For Public Service” winners from 53 nominees selected for the Jefferson Awards for Public Service, including Bulls forward Tyrus Thomas, which will recognize the top athletes who have given back to their community.

The ten will be officially recognized in New York City at the third annual Sports Business and Philanthropy Luncheon on Tuesday, December 8. In addition, two top winners will be honored at the national Jefferson Awards ceremony June 22nd in Washington, D.C. Past Jefferson Awards winners include four Supreme Court Justices, seven Secretaries of State; as well as Oprah Winfrey, Alan Greenspan, Peyton Manning, Colin Powell, Lance Armstrong, Barbara Bush and Bill and Melinda Gates.

The ten “Dream Team For Public Service” winners (whose capsule accomplishments are attached) were selected by the prestigious Jefferson Award board and public voting:

  • Nnamdi Asomugha (Lafayette, La.) defensive back, Oakland Raiders, NFL
  • Curtis Granderson (Chicago, Ill.), all-star outfielder Detroit Tigers, MLB
  • Stuart Holden (Houston, Tx.) forward, Houston Dynamo, MLS
  • Dwight Howard (Orlando, Fla.), all-star forward, Orlando Magic, NBA
  • Dirk Nowitzki (Wurzburg, Germany), all-star forward, Dallas Mavericks, NBA
  • Tyrus Thomas (Baton Rouge, La.), forward, Chicago Bulls, NBA
  • Justin Tuck (Coosa County, Ala.) all-pro defensive end, New York Giants, NFL
  • Lauryn Williams (Rochester, Pa.), Olympian and World Champion sprinter
  • Venus Williams (Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.) Olympian and Grand Slam champion, WTA
  • Ryan Zimmerman (Washington, N.C.) all-star outfielder, Washington Nationals, MLB

Teams from across the sports world nominated 53 athletes from 10 sports, with each athlete having a track record of community outreach as well as a sincere passion for service. Fan voting was conducted online or via text message, with over 25,000 votes logged during the process.

“These champions represent a wide swath of success both on and off the playing field, and we are very excited to be able to honor this group,” Lott said. “The real winners in this process are the millions of people that all these athletes have assisted in community service. It is an honor for us to recognize this group and assist all of them in their very noble endeavors.”

Sam Beard, founder of the Jefferson Awards for Public Service said, “Many times we forget that elite athletes from so many different walks of life are using their stature to make an impact – especially as role models for young Americans. This group is a great cross-sampling of what is being done in so many sports to impact the lives of others. They are all leaders and champions in their own way and we are proud to salute them all.”

About All Stars Helping Kids Since 1989, All Stars Helping Kids has been a galvanizing force and vehicle for individuals and corporate partners to invest in the future of children in the San Francisco Bay Area and beyond. All Stars Helping Kids’ mission is to promote a safe, healthy, rigorous learning environment for disadvantaged children in low-income communities.

About the Jefferson Awards for Public Service The Jefferson Awards for Public Service is a prestigious national recognition system honoring community and public service in America. The Jefferson Awards were established in 1972 by Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, U.S. Senator Robert Taft, Jr. and Sam Beard to establish a Nobel Prize for public service. Today, their primary purpose is to serve as a "Call to Action for Volunteers" in local communities. The Jefferson Awards Board of Selectors is co-chaired by the majority and minority leaders of the United States Senate – The Honorable Harry Reid and The Honorable Mitch McConnell, as well as Laura Bush, Teresa Heinz, Julian Bond, Michael Douglas, Whoopi Goldberg, and Lesley Stahl. 155 television stations and newspapers serve as Jefferson Awards media partners across the country highlighting grassroots “Unsung Heroes.”