Awards of Courage
New York Gala 2008 Honoree
Bobby Shriver is co-founder and chairman of DATA (Debt, AIDS, Trade, Africa) and co-founder and chairman of (PRODUCT)RED, both co-founded with Bono, singer of the rock band U2. DATA lobbies governments on the issues of debt, AIDS, and trade policies as they affect Africa. (PRODUCT)RED engages the world’s most iconic businesses to make (RED)-branded products and invest a significant portion of the profits into programs to eliminate AIDS in Africa. Shriver also chairs the California State Parks and Recreation Commission and is a director of the Crossroads at Antigua Foundation.
Since being elected to the Santa Monica City Council in 2004, Shriver has spearheaded several new approaches to reducing homelessness, concentrating on the chronically homeless and promoting cooperation across the region. Shriver’s recent efforts with the Veterans Administration helped secure three long-term therapeutic supportive housing units for homeless veterans in West Los Angeles.
After graduating with honors in American studies from Yale College, Robert Sargent Shriver III worked as a reporter in Annapolis, Chicago, and Los Angeles (for the Herald Examiner). He left the newspaper business to attend Yale Law School. Upon graduation in 1981, he returned to Santa Monica to clerk for the Honorable Stephen R. Reinhardt at the Federal Court of Appeals for the Ninth Judicial Circuit.
In 1982, Shriver moved to New York to work in the venture capital business with former United States Defense Secretary Harold Brown and James D.Wolfensohn. In 1987, he produced the first primetime television program on the Special Olympics World Games for ABC. During the same year, he produced the first A Very Special Christmas record.
The success of these two projects led him to form Special Olympics Productions, which has produced additional television specials on the Games and seven more albums; it has raised more than $100 million to support Special Olympics organizations worldwide.