Jefferson Award Winners

Honoring people for their contributions through public and community service

The Jefferson Awards are presented on two levels: national and local.  The Austin American-Statesman is the exclusive media partner in Austin for the Jefferson Awards program. Beginning in 2014, the Statesman will publish a monthly story honoring an individual for service to the community, and  I Live Here, I Give Here is partnering with the Statesman to honor local individuals for service. Learn More >

Julie Stevenson

Austin American-Statesman – Published September 5, 2014

Julie Stevenson’s philanthropy has always started with her family.
As a girl, she learned about community service while dishing out Thanksgiving dinner to homeless people with her father.

As a couple, she and her husband started volunteering at battered women’s centers 25 years ago, taking their children along to play with the other kids in the daycare there.

“You learn about the world from your parents,” Stevenson says. “It’s understanding that not everybody has what you have, and not taking it for granted.”

A former systems engineer and manager at IBM, Stevenson heads up A Day To Shine, a fashion show and gala to increase awareness of dating abuse that she founded in 2006 with help from her son and daughter.

The event started on the small side – that first year, Stevenson remembers they pulled a piano into the room to help make it feel full. It now draws more than 800 people. Full Story >

Past Winners

You can nominate someone for the Jefferson Award on the Statesman’s nomination page! The best nominations include specific details and short anecdotes that demonstrate your nominee’s character and the impact of their volunteerism. The Statesman is committed to making a difference in the Central Texas community by being an active, caring and responsible member every day.


Michael Hernandez

One of Michael Hernandez’s childhood memories is of sitting amid a huge stack of letters.

The Austin man’s mother was raising money for a charity and the letters were to be sent to potential donors. But first, they had to be sealed. That’s where Hernandez came in.

“My brother and I got enlisted to lick all of those envelopes,” he said. Full Story >


Kacy O’Hare

Kacy O’Hare isn’t scared to reach out to survivors of sexual assault or domestic abuse.

Their stories are heartbreaking, of course, the SafePlace volunteer says. But after more than a decade of working with these women, O’Hare doesn’t see them as victims. She sees them as an inspiration and SafePlace as the place that helps them start over. Full Story >

Katy Bohuslav

Katy Bohuslav’s relationship with Saint Louise House started with a vacuum and a TV.

The Austin woman was at church one day when she picked up the bulletin and saw that a local nonprofit needed a few household items. Bohuslav had never heard of Saint Louise House. But she had a vacuum and a TV in her garage, so she donated them. Then she started volunteering for the charity. Full Story >


Leo Welder

When Leo Welder thinks about his volunteer work with the Young Men’s Business League, he doesn’t just think about business. He thinks about the kids.

The Austin man loves seeing them sing, canoe or play frisbee at the nonprofit’s Sunshine Camps; learn good study habits through the group’s year-round academic programs; or give back to the community through service learning projects. YMLB gives low-income youth a chance to do things they might never have done, he said. And that’s exciting for him to see. Full Story >

Beverly Chasse

Beverly Chasse didn’t have an easy start in life.

She grew up in a small North Carolina town in a family without a lot of money. She lost her parents at 11 and lived with distant relatives until she struck out on her own at age 15.

Today Chasse owns Chasse Consulting: Sales Strategies, Inc., a business that helps companies increase sales and revenue. But she remembers what it’s like to struggle — it’s one of the many reasons she volunteers with Manos de Cristo. Full Story >