Values-in-Action Foundation is a character-building education and training organization. Through Project Love workshops, community events, leadership training and media programs, Values-in-Action empowers teens and adults to build communities of kindness, caring and respect by putting their values-in-action wherever they go.



Thank you to everyone who made our 20th Annual Rescuer of Humanity Awards Dinner a wonderful and inspiring evening. A BIG thank you to all of our honorees and event sponsors without whom the event would not be possible. 

Click here for a full list of our 2014 Event Sponsors (as of Dec. 3, 2014). 


Awards and Past Honorees:

The Rescuer of Humanity Award recognizes and honors an individual or an organization of national or international stature, that has chosen to use their leadership beyond professional or institutional requirements to positively change the course of humanity.

NFL Star Steve Gleason & Dr. Raymond Onders accepted the 2013 Rescuer of Humanity Award for their commitment to helping people with ALS live productive, inspired lives by providing access to life-affirming events and assistive technology until a cure is found. Steve played for The New Orleans Saints from 2000-2008. In 2011, Steve was diagnosed with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), considered a terminal neuro-muscular disease. Steve, with the help and guidance of Dr. Onders, is determined to inspire others by continuing to pursue life adventures despite his diagnosis, and has challenged the worlds of technology and science to identify their most promising developments toward new treatments and a cure. 

Dr. Raymond Onders accepts the 2013 Rescuer of Humanity Award. Former NFL Star & ALS Patient Steve Gleason accepted the award via video.

Prior recipients of the Rescuer of Humanity Award include The Tuskegee Airmen, Dr. Lee Ponsky and MedWish International, Homes for Our Troops, Paul Rusesabagina, Paper Clips Project, Doctors Without Borders, Christopher Reeve and Playing for Peace, Trevor Ferrell and Dr. Bernie Siegel, Brandon Silveria and President George W. Bush, Peter Yarrow, Donna Dees Thomas and Mary Leigh Blek, His Majesty King Hussein I of Jordan and Aaron Feurerstein, Archbishop Henryk Muszynski and Tammie Schnitzer, Rosa Parks, Craig Kielberger, President Jimmy Carter, Steven Spielberg, Dr. Jeffrey Wigand and the New York Rescue Workers Detoxification Project and Tom Cruise.


The Malden Mills Corporate Kindness Award recognizes and honors corporate leaders who best exemplify the values demonstrated by Malden Mills CEO Aaron Feuerstein.  Malden Mills suffered a devastating fire in 1999 that destroyed much of its operations. Rather than layoff employees, Feuerstein chose to keep the employees on payroll with benefits until the mills could be rebuilt.  His decision, based on kindness, principles and values, not only benefited his employees, but also showed his commitment to his community.

Rick Chiricosta accepted the 2013 Malden Mills Corporate Kindness Award in recognition of Medical Mutual’s leadership and efforts to set an example as a responsible community and corporate citizen. Under Rick’s leadership, Medical Mutual remains committed to providing the best products and services while providing access to quality healthcare and placing a high priority on kindness, caring and respect both within Medical Mutual and with all of their business and community partners in Cleveland.  

Dan Walsh, Huntington Bank, presents Rick Chiricosta with the 2013 Malden Mills Corporate Kindness Award. 

Prior recipients of the Malden Mills Award include Mayor Frank G. Jackson, CEO Eric Gordon and Cleveland Metropolitan School District, Paul Clark and PNC, Thomas F. Zenty III, Fred C. Rothstein, MD, Ed Davidson, Dan Austin, Alan Schonberg, Jack Kahl, David and Ann Brennan, Sam Miller, Vince and Joe Aveni, Michael Siegal, Scott Wolstein and Henry L. Meyer III and William Christopher.

Awards are also given to students, educators and community members. Nominations are taken annually for the following awards:


Close-Caputo Educator of Humanity Award, named after educators Carole Close and Charlie Caputo, recognizes educators who have shown an intense commitment to educating and developing students of character who model the principles of kindness, caring and mutual respect. Recipients are acknowledged as role models of these values, and inspire those values in students.

David Quolke believes every child in our city should attend an excellent school and have an excellent teacher. As President of the Cleveland Teachers Union, David worked closely with Mayor Frank Jackson and CEO Eric Gordon, in the development of the unprecedented and collaborative Cleveland Plan.


CTU President David Quolke accepts the 2013 Close-Caputo Educator of Humanity Award.


Other Awards:

Alan R. Schonberg Community Rescuer Awards are given to individuals who have chosen to make a positive difference in their communities by helping people overcome obstacles, by building bridges between people, by diffusing violence or meanness, or by encouraging and fostering community organizations that do the same. These individuals may be in leadership or behind the scenes positions in organizations of any size.

The Eric Russell Student Kindness Award recognizes students who consistently demonstrate kindness, caring and mutual respect in interactions with adults and peers. This award is named for Eric Scott Russell, a talented bright young man, who embraced Project Love programming after an incident which caused him public humiliation. Despite the efforts of some to turn the incident into a media frenzy focused on racial tension, Eric decided to use what he learned to turn the experience into an opportunity for increased kindness, growth and integrity at his school. The world lost this kind young man to meningitis in December of 2002. It is Project Love's hope that Eric's memory and the example he set among his peers will be a perpetual inspiration to other teens.  

Gordon E. Heffern Award for Values, Ethics and Community recognizes and honors a community leader who leads with values, ethics and responsibility. 


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