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Watch Again!

Each year, Character.org recognizes and celebrates people and organizations we proudly call “Champions for Character.” On September 13th we recognized our 2022 Champions for Character. 

Thank you to everyone who nominated an individual or organization.

Champion for Character: 2022 Parents and Families Award

Character.org is proud to recognize Manners of the Heart (MOH) for inspiring and empowering parents and families to model and foster the core values that shape the hearts, minds, and choices of their children and teens. Based in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, MOH was founded by Jill Rigby Garner, a character education and parenting expert who has authored several books, including Raising Unselfish Children in a Self-Absorbed World. “The selection committee reviewed a large number of exceptionally strong nominations,” shares Dr. Arthur Schwartz, president of Character.org, “but the different resources Manners of the Heart has developed for parents is impressive, ranging from their Heart Education curriculum and family workshops to their weekly Home Connection Letter.”

Champion for Character: Sports Award

Character.org is proud to recognize the St. Louis-based organization Character Loves Company for inspiring and empowering coaches and athletes to model and foster the core values of integrity and sportsmanship. The organization was founded by Pete Paciorek, a former MLB baseball player and author of the book Character Loves Company: Defining the Teachable Moments in Sports-A Guidebook to Character Literacy Development

Dr. Marvin Berkowitz, the inaugural Sanford N. McDonnell Endowed Professor of Character Education, nominated the organization. In his nomination narrative, Dr. Berkowitz wrote that “sportsmanship is at the heart of the Character Loves Company’s program and message. The organization is unique because it is led by someone who has both sports cred and academic [training] in character education. Pete is a remarkable, authentic, and service-driven man, utterly dedicated to youth development.

Champion for Character: After-School Program Award

Character.org is proud to recognize the Center for Leadership Development (CLD) for empowering African-American and minority youth in Central Indiana to practice the character strengths of integrity, discipline, and purpose. Based in Indianapolis, and founded in 1977, more than 12,000 young people have “graduated” from CLD’s after-school programs and character development experiences. “The selection committee reviewed a large number of exceptionally strong nominations,” shares Dr. Arthur Schwartz, president of Character.org, “but CLD’s five Principles for Success weaves together an impressive tapestry of character-infused challenges, commitments, and career opportunities that inspires and equips middle school and high school students to realize not just their career aspirations but also how to contribute and give back to their community.”

Champion for Character: International Award

Character.org is proud to recognize Emmanuel (Mann”) Rentoy for his 30-year commitment to character education across the globe, especially in the Philippines. A former teacher and school principal, Mann founded the group CATALYST in the Philippines to inspire parents and educators to learn how character formation is beneficial to each young person and every community. Numerous individuals nominated Mr. Rentoy, including the award-winning author Dr. Michele Borba. In her nomination narrative, Michele wrote that she has worked with Mr. Rentoy for over a decade and that his “steadfast commitment to character development is exemplary…and so is Mann’s compassion and integrity. He is making a major difference in the world.”

John Winthrop Wright “Ethics in Action” Award

Character.org is proud to recognize Dan Houston as the recipient of our 2022 John Winthrop Wright “Ethics in Action” Award. Dan is Chairman, President and CEO of the Principal Financial Group and was nominated for the award by Scott Raecker, the Executive Director of The Robert D. and Billie Ray Center at Drake University. In his nomination, Scott wrote that “Dan is passionate about ethics and integrity. As President, Dan repeatedly encourages his employees to speak up if someone is not following the company’s Global Code of Conduct. Dan wants his employees to summon their courage and do the right thing.” 

Principal Financial Group helps more than 45 million people with planning and investing their savings. Founded in 1879 in Des Moines, Iowa, the company has built a strong and sustained reputation for being ethical and trustworthy. As its current CEO, Dan Houston has publicly stated that he feels the responsibility to enhance and strengthen the company’s commitment to honesty and integrity, including the ways in which each of the company’s 18,000+ employees interact with customers, business partners, and with each other. 

The John Winthrop Wright “Ethics in Action” Award is made possible by a grant from The School for Ethical Education (SEE). The Award was established to annually recognize an individual who has demonstrated a sustained commitment to ethical leadership by modeling and emphasizing core ethical values as essential to the mission and success of their company or organization. 

Join us on Tuesday, September 13 at 7:00 PM (ET) when we will recognize Dan Houston during our Champions for Character Awards Ceremony. The 1-hour event will be held virtually and is free and open to all. Register here.

Congratulations to All Our Champions for Character!