The Friars Club Foundation is set to present “The Lincoln Awards: A Concert for Veterans and the Military Family,” which will recognize achievement and excellence in providing opportunities and support to U.S. veterans and military families.
Presented in Washington D.C. by the charitable arm of the Friars Club, whose chairman is Ambassador Joseph Zappala, the two-day event will award honors in 10 categories. The awards ceremony is slated for January 6, 2015, followed by an all-star concert set to take place the next day at the John F. Kennedy Center for Performing Arts Concert Hall.
The event will also be televised in a national primetime broadcast to coincide with the 150th anniversary of Abraham Lincoln’s second inaugural address on March 4, 2015.
Beginning June 18 through Aug. 18, the public can submit nominations via the event’s website. The Friars Foundation will review the noms and the official honorees will be determined by a distinguished selection committee.
The Lincoln Awards advisory board is also made up of bizzers, philanthropic activists, execs, veterans and journalists, including Harry Belafonte, Jack Black, Tom Cruise, Allen Grubman, Larry King, Leslie Moonves, Don Rickles, Barbara Walters, Betty White, Elie Wiesel, Brian Williams and Bob Woodruff.
Lincoln Awards chairman the Hon. Tommy Sowers hopes this will become an annual event.
“The concert brings the entertainment community, and by extension, the country, together to celebrate veterans and the military family,” Sowers said in a statement. “More than a concert, we seek to shine a light on the best of America, and honor The Lincoln Awards recipients. By portraying Veterans as we are – not angels or demons – but everyday Americans that live our nation’s best values, we hope to create an event special enough to begin a national tradition.”
The Friars Foundation has previously supported troops injured in war through the Gift of Laughter Wounded Warriors Program.
“It is an honor for the Friars Foundation to be a conduit in carrying out Abraham Lincoln’s mission to care for those who have put their lives on the line to secure our freedom,” Ambassador Zappala said. “To acknowledge these individuals for work over and above the cause of humanity is the very least we can do to honor them. Within each of them resides the promise that Lincoln made and it is our resolve to recognize them.”
In addition to Sowers and Zappala, the event’s production execs include executive producers Cappy R. McGarr, a Kennedy Center trustee; Michael Gyure, exec director of the Friars Club and Friars Foundation; and Michael B. Matuza and Jay Weissman.