Other Medal: The Congressional Award
Reprinted with permission of
the Congressional Award.
(Photo by Richard Greenhouse)
Congressional Award Gold Medal. The Congressional Award was initiated by Public Law
Act 96-114 in 1979. More than 7,000 Congressional Awards have been awarded since
then. Congress has a Gold Medal waiting for you. Registration information is
available on this web site. The Congressional Award is produced by the United States
Congress authorized their first most
important medal, the Congressional Medal of Honor, to bear the imprimatur of the Congress
of the United States in 1862.
An Award So Important, it Took an
Act of Congress to Create It....
More than a century later, Congress again gave its imprimatur, this time to a medal
honoring young people. Representative James J. Howard, of the Third District of New
Jersey, and Senator Malcolm Wallop, Wyoming, were the prime sponsors of the enabling
legislation in the 96th Congress. Both men were later awarded the Leadership Award. On
November 1, 1979, Congress authorized the Congressional Award Act (Public Law 96-114).
President Jimmy Carter signed the Act into Law 15 days later, authorizing the
establishment of the Congressional Award Foundation. Every President since President
Carter has signed legislation of reauthorization.
W. Clement Stone, Chairman
and Founder, Combined Insurance Company of America; William R. Bricker, National Director,
Boys Clubs of America; and Patrick L. O'Malley, Chairman Emeritus, Canteen Corporation,
filed the Articles of Incorporation to establish the Foundation in Washington, D.C. on
The Public/Private Partnership
The Congressional Award was the result of a collective action by a group of dedicated
volunteers who felt it was in the national interest for Congress to encourage and
recognize the accomplishments of young people who devoted themselves to improving their
lives and their communities. Too the Award offered a forum for communication between young
people and their elected representatives in Congress. Founded in Great Britain in 1956 by
His Royal Highness Prince Philip and Kurt Hahn (who also founded Outward Bound), The Duke
of Edinburgh's Award served as inspiration for the United States program.
The Congressional Award Board met for the first time in the Capitol Building,
Washington, D.C. on September 9, 1980. Mr. Stone served as the first Chairman of the Board
of the Congressional Award and helped motivate a group of businessmen to provide the
necessary financial support for a two-year pilot program in Minnesota. In what would
become tradition in Capitols all over the country, an inaugural presentation of Bronze and
Silver Congressional medals were awarded at the State Capitol in St. Paul, Minnesota on
September 25, 1982. Fifteen recipients were honored at this historic ceremony. In May,
1983, the expansion of the Congressional Award began through the establishment of
voluntary Congressional Award Councils in 12 Congressional districts.
The Congressional Award is overseen by the Senate Governmental Affairs Committee and the
House Committee on Education and the Workforce. The General Accounting Office audits the
Congressional Award Foundation.
Board of Directors
A nonpartisan Congressional Award Board administers the program in partnership with the
joint Congressional Leadership Commission. The Board is appointed by the Joint Leadership
of Congress and is composed of distinguished leaders of business, labor, civic and youth
organizations. This Commission of the Congressional Award also appoints the National Board
Chairmen of the Board of the Congressional Award
Chairmen of the Board have been:
W. Clement Stone (1980 - 1982)
John G. McMillian (1982 - 1984)
Patrick L. O'Malley (1984 - 1986)
W. Clement Stone (1986-1988)
Merlin E. Dewing (1988 - 1991)
W. Russell King (1991 - 1995)
Thomas D. Campbell (1995 - Present)
The program is administered on a daily basis by a small professional staff in Washington
Since 1989, Kendall Hartman has served as National Director.
The Congressional Award Foundation, a 501 (c) (3), receives no federal funds, and seeks
and in-kind financial support from corporations, foundations and individuals.
The Treasury, Postal Service and General Government Appropriations Act of 1995 provided
the U.S. Mint to strike the Congressional Award medals.
Currently, more than 6,500 Congressional Award