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Fred Rogers Award Recipients
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Learn about the outstanding philanthropists GCYF has honored with this award:

2012 Fred Rogers Leadership Award Honoree
David Nee
William Caspar Graustein Memorial Fund

GCYF has honored David M. Nee as the 10th recipient of the Fred Rogers Leadership Award in Philanthropy for Children, Youth, and Families. Nee is executive director of the William Caspar Graustein Memorial Fund, a family foundation with a mission to improve the effectiveness of education in fostering both personal development and leadership. The Memorial Fund works collaboratively to improve learning for Connecticut's children by supporting instructional improvement, informing the public debate on educational issues, and strengthening the involvement of families and communities in education.

The national award was presented October 11 at GCYF's 27th annual national convening, the 2012 Annual Conference on Investing in Promising Futures for All, in El Paso, Texas. Nee was presented with a $5,000 donation for the charities of his choice, the Connecticut Early Childhood Alliance ( and Connecticut Parent Power ( The gift will support leadership and professional development for both groups' staff and steering committees.

Nee in his acceptance speech cited the work of the 53 Discovery initiative communities and the statewide advocacy organizations, as "the groups who really deserve this honor, along with the Memorial Fund staff and trustees. Without the efforts of hundreds of parents, community residents, providers and advocates, our strategy would have been empty rhetoric."

Read a transcript of David Nee's acceptance speech.

Since 2003, the Fred Rogers Leadership Award has been given annually in memory of Fred Rogers--star of the longest running program on public television,
Mister Rogers' Neighborhood, and one of the country's most beloved advocates for children. At the award presentation, Nee received a replica of "The Trolley," a symbol of the program.

2011 Fred Rogers Award Honoree

Ralph R. Smith, Executive Vice President, Annie E. Casey Foundation


2010 Fred Rogers Award Honoree

David Lawrence, Jr., President, The Early Childhood Initiative Foundation

2009 Fred Rogers Award Honoree

Carol Goss, President & CEO, The Skillman Foundation

2008 Fred Rogers Award Honoree

Debra Delgado (posthumously), The Atlantic Philanthropies, Inc. & The Annie E. Casey Foundation, Inc.

2007 Fred Rogers Award Honoree

Robert Richards Midkiff, President, Atherton Family Foundation

2006 Fred Rogers Award Honoree

Rosa Smith, President, The Schott Foundation for Public Education

2005 Fred Rogers Award Honoree

Margaret M. Petruska, Program Director, The Heinz Endowments

2004 Fred Rogers Award Honoree

Dr. Ruby Takanishi, President, The Foundation for Child Development

2003 Fred Rogers Award Honoree

Luba Lynch, Executive Director, A.L. Mailman Family Foundation


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