EJI Director Bryan Stevenson this week received the Ford Foundation Visionaries Award. He was honored as one of twelve social innovators chosen for their extraordinary vision and courageous work improving the lives of marginalized people.
The Ford Foundation Visionaries Awards seek to raise the profile of leaders whose innovative efforts on the frontlines of key social issues offer clear and concrete pathways to improved economic opportunities and expanded political and social participation for millions of people worldwide.
Bryan Stevenson was recognized for his work challenging the fundamental injustice of poverty and fighting bias against people of color and the poor in the criminal justice system. “The opposite of poverty is not wealth — it’s justice,” he says.
Luis Ubiñas, president of the Ford Foundation, said that the awards are “to highlight the unheralded work of thousands of courageous leaders whose lives are devoted to changing systems so that all people have a voice in the decisions that affect their lives.”
The Ford Foundation created the Visionaries Awards to mark 75 years of foundation support for the world’s most ambitious social change leaders. The foundation is using its 75th anniversary in 2011 to explore the next generation of important issues facing America and the world, as well as to highlight the people infusing new energy and ideas into the effort to solve our most pressing social problems.
Mr. Stevenson will use the Visionaries Award to enhance EJI’s work confronting poverty in the rural South and to expand on its efforts to address at-risk children who face prosecution.