WASHINGTON, DC – The Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies has presented Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed with its highest honor, the Louis E. Martin Great American Award, for his innovative and effective leadership in guiding his city through difficult economic challenges in the wake of the recent recession.
Mayor Reed received the award at the Joint Center's Annual Gala Dinner Tuesday night in Washington before an audience of more than 500 elected and appointed government officials and business, civic and community leaders from across the country.
Mayor Reed was honored for improving the delivery of public services in Atlanta and strengthening the city's financial position while working to improve the quality of life for its most vulnerable residents.
Joint Center President Ralph B. Everett said that Mayor Reed is a forceful, forward-looking leader. "His record of success, his efforts to bring everyone in his community together to solve problems, his innovative spirit in finding solutions that work, and his determination to ensure that no one is left behind – these are the qualities that make Mayor Reed one of the most compelling leaders of his generation," said Everett.
"He has earned a reputation as an unflinching advocate for our nation's urban centers who recognizes that sustaining support for them is a necessity, even in tough economic times," said Cynthia G. Marshall, chair of the Joint Center's Board of Governors and President of AT&T North Carolina.
The Joint Center is a Washington research and policy institution that has supported African American leadership and encouraged broad political participation for more than 40 years.
The Louis E. Martin Great American Award is named for the legendary journalist and presidential advisor who was a co-founder of the Joint Center. Previous award recipients include former Presidents Jimmy Carter and William J. Clinton, Congressmen James E. Clyburn (D-SC) and Charles B. Rangel (D-NY), Muhammad Ali, lawyer and civil rights leader Vernon E. Jordan, Jr., the late civil rights activist Dr. Dorothy I. Height, and the Reverend Jesse L. Jackson, Sr. Last year's recipient was Congressman John Lewis (D-GA), who is also from Atlanta.
Mayor Reed demonstrated his leadership traits when, as an undergraduate at Howard University more than 20 years ago, he created a fundraising program that has contributed more than $10 million over the years to the school's endowment. He was appointed as the University's youngest General Trustee in June 2002 and remains a member of that body.
"Kasim Reed, a beloved son of Howard University, represents our core values of leadership, excellence, truth and service," said University President Sidney A. Ribeau. "Mayor Reed's accomplishments in Atlanta have established him as one of the leading mayors in the nation. We congratulate him on this extraordinary Joint Center award. Well done!"
The Annual Gala Dinner is the organization's major fundraising event. This year's theme was Continuing our Commitment for the Next Generation.
The Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies is one of the nation's leading research and public policy institutions and the only one whose work focuses primarily on issues of particular concern to African Americans and other people of color. To learn more, please visit www.jointcenter.org.