The Bob Woodruff Foundation (BWF) held its 3rd annual Generous Persson Awards Ceremony, named in memory of philanthropist, Helen K. Persson, at the 620 Loft & Garden, Sept. 19.
Honored were Suni Harford, group managing director and the global Head of Investments for UBS Asset Management, and Dan Benton, co-founder of Andor Capital Management. Adam Driver and Joanne Tucker, actors and founders of the nonprofit Arts in the Armed Forces (AITAF), received the evening’s Next Generation Award. They were all chosen for their extraordinary commitment to our nation’s injured veterans and their families.
“This year’s Generous Persson recipients come from very different backgrounds but are all connected by a common thread—a sincere, humble and authentic commitment to making a difference in the lives of today’s veterans and their families,” said Anne Marie Dougherty, executive director of the Bob Woodruff Foundation. “Each would say they don’t deserve this—and it’s that quiet generosity that we are honoring.”
The award honors the legacy of Persson, who understood the wounds of war. A lieutenant commander in the Navy Nurse Corps during World War II, it was her initial gift of $1 million that helped the Bob Woodruff Foundation grow its mission from a small, family foundation to a nationally-recognized leader among veteran-focused organizations.
Harford was at the forefront of creating Veterans on Wall Street (VOWS), a consortium of financial services firms that facilitates career and business opportunities for transitioning service members. She helped forge a strategic partnership between VOWS and BWF that has raised more than $5 million for the foundation. Harford also serves on BWF’s Leadership Advisory Council.
Benton, founded the Andor Capital Management Foundation in the wake of the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks. Its original mission was to provide aid to the survivors of the tragedy but was expanded to help service members and their families. Benton was an early supporter of BWF’s efforts, and he has made significant gifts, personally and through his company.
Driver and Tucker, who met while attending Juilliard, created AITAF in 2008, to provide high-quality theater programming for service members, veterans and their families. Driver himself served in the U.S. Marine Corps. Together, the couple has dedicated their time and talent to provide meaningful experiences for a community that has limited exposure to the arts. Last year, AITAF performed for more than 3,500 members of our military, their spouses and caregivers, at bases and military hospitals across the globe.
An intimate event, attendees included leaders in entertainment, business and philanthropy. Presenters included past honorees Bob Jeffrey, Duncan Niederauer and Sam Springsteen. Beyond recognizing the honorees, it was an opportunity to promote the work of the foundation. Since its start in 2006, the Bob Woodruff Foundation has invested more than $42 million to find, fund and shape programs that create long-lasting, positive outcomes for veterans and their families nationwide.