Awards Totaling Up to $600K to Honor Pro-Life Heroes

A pro-life foundation announced on Tuesday that it plans to give away up to $600,000 in awards to leaders and groups that have significantly advanced the culture of life.

The Gerald Health Foundation said it will recognize up to six individuals or groups with the "Norinne A. and Raymond E. Ruddy Memorial Pro-Life Prize," created to honor the parents of pro-life philanthropist Raymond B. Ruddy.

"Our primary objective is to reward those who are preserving the culture of life through their charitable enterprises or through advocacy programs that defend and preserve the sanctity of human life," says attorney Cathy Ruse, executive director of Life Prize.

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Ruse, who serves as a senior fellow of legal studies for Family Research Council, said the foundation hopes the prizes will also inspire young people to join the pro-life movement.

While executive director of Students for Life of America Kristan Hawkins noted the already "incredible momentum" going into the younger pro-life movement, she believes the prizes will "transform that momentum into inspiration for today's teenagers, college students and young professionals."

More than 100 pro-life leaders received nomination packets this week. They have until August 15 to submit their choice of candidates. Nominees will be evaluated by their advances in public advocacy, scientific research, outreach and public disclosure activities, legal action or other noteworthy achievements, according to the foundation.

Life Prizes winners will be announced in October and officially receive their awards during a ceremony in Washington, D.C., held in conjunction with Students for Life of America's annual conference in January 2009.

The initiative has received the blessings of many pro-life figures including Dr. Jack Willke, president of Life Issues Institute and former president of National Right to Life Committee, who says he's thrilled for the new program.

"The Life Prizes program will elevate the pro-life commitment in remembering the significant victories we have achieved and demonstrates that there are many fruits to be harvested by the next generation in carrying the pro-life torch and taking the movement to a new level," he stated.

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