Luce Awards | J. Luce Foundation

Luce Humanitarian & Non-Profit Awards


Orphans International Worldwide (OIWW), founded in 1999, and the J. Luce Foundation, began in 2009, have a long history of acknowledging the efforts of individuals who have dedicated their lives to the betterment of humanity (see bios below).

The Foundation's Humanitarians are exemplified by those who believe, like this year's Foundation Honoree Mitzi Perdue, "Success is not measured by what you can get, but by what you can give."

2014/15 Humanitarian of the Year Awards were recently presented to Meera Gandhi, Dr. Kazuko Tatsumura Hillyer, Kevin McGovern, and the Hon. Mitzi Perdue at the Foundation's Leadership Reception held at the Permanent Mission of Sri Lanka to the United Nations.

Past Awards from Orphans International Worldwide (OIWW) and the Foundation have been presented to H.S.H. Albert II of Monaco, H.E. Amb. Dr. Palitha Kohona (Sri Lanka), H.E. Hon. Li Baodong (China), H.E. Haya Rashed Al Khalifa (Bahrain), Peter Yarrow of Peter, Paul & Mary (2010), Dr. Judy Kuriansky (Columbia University), the Hon. Carolyn Maloney (2010), Hellenic Republic Parliamentarian Dionysia-Theodora Avgerinopoulou (2010), Director Charlotte Brandin of the World Childhood Foundation, and WCBS Anchor Cindy Hsu.

2016 nominees have also begun to be accepted and include philanthropists Karolina Kurkova, Chau-Giang Thi Nguyen ("Coco"), Steve Killelea, and Avis Richards.


In addition to microgrants, The James Jay Dudley Luce Foundation, Inc. awards non-profit organizations (NGOs) with its Luce Award for Excellence and Integrity in Helping Humanity while offering young global leaders the opportunity to impact positive social change. Organizations that have been spotlighted by the Foundation through The Stewardship Report may apply to receive the Award. Each Award will be accompanied by a framed proclamation that articulates the excellence and integrity of the recipient organization.


The Foundation expects to award microgrants for leadership development, education and/or the Arts in 2015 to non-profit organizations in the U.S., including: Battery Dance Company (Jonathan Hollander, Dir.), The Child School-Legacy High School NYC (Vishu Grover, Dir.), The Children's Institute-Center for Independence of N.J. (Benjamin M. Imbrogno Memorial Fund), Chinese-American Planning Council (Youth Empowerment), College of Wooster (Donald MacKenzie Art Prize), Fountain House, Habitat for Humanity (Stanford Luce Fund), Humanist Association of Harvard (Greg Epstein, Dir.), Indo-American Arts Council (Aroon Shivdasani, Dir.), Marietta College (McDonough Leadership Program), Marietta College (Pioneer Pipeline Program), Osborne Association (Elizabeth Gaines, Dir.), Roosevelt Island Visual Art Association (Tad Sudol, President), University of California Berkley (Project on Armed Conflict Resolution and People's Rights, Center for Nonprofit & Public Leadership), among other organizations uplifting of humanity.


Please note that due to a commitment to low overhead, The James Jay Dudley Luce Foundation cannot accept unsolicited proposals for grants.


In 2014, Manav Sachdeva Maasoom was appointed Poet Laureate of the J. Luce Foundation. Maasoom was born in Punjab, India and has lived there off and on for nearly two decades out of his nearly four, with his point of home reference being New York City. He is a mystic and loves languages, music and dancing. Maasoom has lived and traveled with the United Nations and other international organizations in over forty countries. The Sufi's Garland was his debut book.


BIOS (alpha order)

Meera Gandhi, The Giving Back Foundation. Meera Teresa Gandhi is a humanitarian, and the founder and C.E.O. of The Giving Back Foundation, geared towards alleviating illness, poverty and suffering while also addressing education issues which affect women and children around the world. Meera devotes her life to charity and help for those in need, notably abused and hungry children, widows, the sick, the deaf and blind. She is particularly interested in education as the stepping-stone to success. Gandhi has supported charities with strong female leadership programs and workshops, in part because of the role models in her life: Hillary Clinton, Cherie Blair, and Gandhi's own mother, an Irish woman living in India. These charities include the Cherie Blair Foundation for Women in the United Kingdom and the Eleanor Roosevelt Leadership Center in the United States. Other charities Gandhi is involved with either directly or through her Foundation include the Happy Home and School for the blind in Mumbai, the Robert F. Kennedy Centre for Justice & Human Rights, the Cambodian Landmine Relief Fund, Centrepoint, Give to Colombia and The American Friends of Prince William and Prince Harry. Meera was born in Mumbai, India to an Irish mother and an Indian father. At the age of 16, she met Mother Teresa and worked with her helping children. She attended The Cathedral and John Connon School in Mumbai, India, and the United World of Colleges in Canada. Gandhi later received a Bachelor's degree in Economics from the University of Delhi, and an M.B.A. from Boston University School of Management. In 2007, she completed the Executive Education Program at Harvard Business School.


Dr. Kazuko Tatsumura Hillyer, Founder & Director, GAIA HOLISTIC, INC. Kazuko Tatsumura Hillyer was born in a distinguished old family in Kyoto, Japan, and graduated from Toho conservatory of Music in Tokyo. In 1961 she came to U.S. as a pianist sponsored by the Boston Symphony. She studied at Boston University, New York University, and received her Ph.D. in Oriental Medicine from New York State University and the International Academy of Education in Tokyo. From 1968 to 1992, she promoted cultural exchanges from East to West and vice versa, and became a world famous impresario, producing 2,000 events each year all over the world encompassing over 140 countries. In this connection, in 1972, she went to Dharamsala to find the lost Tibetan Folk Opera, and met His Holiness the Dalai Lama, with whom she remains a lifelong friend. In 1973 and 1991 she arranged and funded personally the tours of the Folk Opera of Tibet to the West. Among many cultural activities included Japanese Grand Kabuki, Bunraku Theater, Noh Theater, Chinese Opera, La Scala, Vienna Volksopera, St. Peters Opera, Metropolitan Opera to Asia - just to name the few. She has received many medals and honors from different countries. She retired from the field of promotions in 1992. Her tireless life long work in Philanthropic field is vast and well known ranging from Save the Beacon Theater, Save the Boat People, Help the Homeless, natural disasters of earthquakes and tsunamis, as well as relief to AIDS and HIV positive children in Africa.
She has been a dedicated Board Member to Orphans International Worldwide (OIWW) for years. Her work focuses on the Tibetan people; Tibetan children remain especially strong in her heart. She raised fund for the new academic building for Manjushree Orphanage in Tawang, India and supported many aspects of the school. In addition, Dr. Kazuko has strong ties to Cuba, Mexico, and Peru. She writes books and lectures and works worldwide with people with Onnetsu Therapy, which she developed.


Kevin McGovern, The Water Initiative. Kevin McGovern is the Chairman of The Water Initiative. He has founded over fifteen companies, seven of which have become world/category leaders, has been lead negotiator/principal in over twenty-five global joint ventures and serves as Chairman of McGovern Capital, an investment, strategy and licensing provider to global businesses. He was a founder of SoBe Beverages, the fastest growing beverage company ever in the US (sold to Pepsi), and McGovern Capital was one of three owners of KX Industries, L.P., the largest manufacturer and worldwide source of carbon air and water purification filters, having invented and supplied PUR to P&G, first end-of-tap filter to Brita, and the first refrigerator water filter to Electrolux. The P&G water purification packet is an amazing innovation that quickly turns 10 liters of dirty, potentially deadly water into clean and drinkable water. Created to enable people anywhere in the world to purify dirty water in a simple, affordable and convenient way, the packet is based on technology similar to municipal water systems in developed countries.Kevin is a Trustee Emeritus and a Presidential Councilor (highest honor to alumnus) of Cornell University. He was named the Cornell "Entrepreneur of the Year" in 2007, was recently given St. John's University School of Law's "Distinguished Alumni Award" in 2010. He also served on the Advisory Board to the U.S. Pavilion at the World Expo in Shanghai.


Hon. Mitzi Perdue. Mitzi Perdue is the widow of the late Frank Perdue. Her biography, Tough Man, Tender Chicken: Business & Life Lessons from Frank Perdue, was published in 2014 and reviewed very favorably in The Huffington Post. The book was recently #6 in the Amazon rankings for Business Biographies. She is currently Corresponding Editor for the Academy of Women's Health, and also for GEN, Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News. In addition, she writes a philanthropy column for The Salisbury Daily Times. Each week she profiles a local charity, letting the community know about the needs the charity is addressing, and also giving a public pat on the back to the charity's staff and volunteers. Her dream is to do this on a national scale. In the past, she was a syndicated columnist for 22 years, first with Capitol News in California and then nationally with Scripps Howard. She has written more than 1600 articles, most often on the environment and on science. She was also a nationally syndicated TV hostess and producer, having produced more than 400 half hour shows. Mitzi currently serves on the boards of the Institute of International Education, the Cal Ripken, Sr. Foundation, and the Arthur W. Perdue Foundation. She's a recipient of the Ellis Island Medal of Honor, the Women's Day Magazine Women Who Inspire Us Award. Mitzi Perdue holds degrees from Harvard University and George Washington University. A former rice grower, she is a past President of the 35,000-member American Agri-Women, the oldest and largest American farmwomen's organization. She served as a U.S. Delegate to the United Nations Conference on Women in Nairobi and she was a Commissioner on the National Commission on Libraries and Information Science.








Due to a commitment to low overhead, The James Jay Dudley Luce Foundation cannot accept unsolicited proposals for grants but welcomes press-releases and content for possible 'spotlighting.'