Awards Programs

The Leavey Awards

Honoring Excellence in Private Enterprise Education





APRIL 1, 2016



Since 1977, the Freedoms Foundation and the Thomas and Dorothy Leavey Foundation have honored outstanding teachers for bringing passion and creativity to their classrooms as they teach students about entrepreneurship and the free enterprise system.

The awards program recognizes educators at the elementary, junior high school, high school, and college levels for innovative and effective techniques in teaching entrepreneurship and the free enterprise education. Up to twenty cash awards are made annually valued at $7,500 each. One meritorious award of $15,000 may be made for an outstanding entry. To date, the program has recognized over 600 teachers from across the country and awarded over $3.8 million.



The candidate must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident employed full-time as an educator at an accredited American school (grades K-12), college or university. The application must conceive and implement an innovative course, program or project which develops, among students, a deeper understanding and appreciation of the American private enterprise system. The nominee's program, course or project must be operating or initiated during the previous academic year.

Pre-qualify Your Project:

Click here to submit a brief synopsis of your classroom entrepreneurship project.

Preparing Your Nomination:

All submissions must contain a completed Teacher Nomination Form.  A nomination form for each educator involved in the project must be included.  Submissions must also include a detailed two-page synopsis outlining the content and results of the course or project and its relevance to the private enterprise system.  The course or project must be then adequately documented by comprehensive materials such as samples of work, photographs and letters of recommendation.  All nominations must be submitted electronically either via e-mail or on-line submission.  

Click here to submit your 2016 Nomination.


Nominations must be received at Freedoms Foundation by April 1, 2016. - Newly Extended


A special independent jury of leaders drawn from the economic, business and academic communities meets each to evaluate nominations and select recipients.

Evaluation Criteria:

  • Is the entry innovative both in terms of content and audience?
  • Does the entry contribute, in a meaningful way, to the advancement or understanding of the private enterprise system?
  • Do the activities of the project or program demonstrate to students the strength of the private enterprise system?
  • Were the intended results of the entry achieved?
  • Did it appear that the students gained new skills/knowledge?


Recipients will be notified in May 2016.  Awards will be presented the weekend of December 2-4, 2016 in Washington DC at the National Council for the Social Studies Conference.

For more information:

Contact the Awards Department at the Freedoms Foundation via e-mail at or call Carolyn Santangelo at 610-933-8825, extension 234.

Past Recipeints:

Leavey Class of 2015

Leavey Class of 2014.


National Awards Program

Submit Your Nomination Online Today!


On November 21, 1949 General Dwight D. Eisenhower presented 200 recipients with the first Freedoms Foundation National Awards. The ceremony took place in a barn on a colonial farm once occupied by Washington’s troops, which is now the site of the national headquarters of Freedoms Foundation at Valley Forge.

Today, nearly 56,000 awards have been presented to Americans from all walks of life – the famous and the unknown, the young and old – from Maine to Hawaii. Large corporations and small businesspersons, farmers, students, teachers and military personnel have all been presented National Awards for their efforts to make America a better place for everyone.

This program was intended as a way to say thank you to those whose projects, words or deeds reflect the best of the American spirit of volunteerism by offering constructive solutions to contemporary problems. We search for those doing good work in their communities, people or organizations bringing about the best in the spirit of America.


Community – Adult and Youth

For programs by groups or individual who “go above and beyond the call of duty” on a local, regional or national level which promote good works and serve their communities on an ongoing, day-to-day basis. These programs or projects should have been conducted for at least one year or longer, and be a series of works.

School - Elementary thru College/University

This award recognizes activities by a school or classroom. Focus should be placed on students’ community involvement in action, with emphasis on patriotism and responsible citizenship as based on one of the basic American freedoms set forth in The Bill of Responsibilities. Evidence of student involvement and a complete one-page summary listing project goals and objectives must be attached at front of entry nomination. Please list school level on entry form.

Educator - Elementary thru College/University

This award honors teachers and administrators who go above and beyond the call of duty for their students and America’s youth. These educators also instill in their students a sense of the importance of community involvement, responsible citizenship and patriotism. Entries should include a one-page summary on the teacher/administrator’s accomplishments and qualifications.

Public Communications

For the most significant dynamic addresses, sermons, editorials, letters to editor, books, articles, television and radio programs which increase the understanding of our American Way of Life. These communications may be on a one-time work or a series of works.

Special Events

Award given for the most significant events which take place on a day or several days which impact the community, state and/or nation while increasing an understanding of our American Way of Life.

Youth Essay

Sponsored by the Women's Overseas Service League, San Antonio Chapter, and open to youth ages K-Grade 12.  Entries must be typed, double-spaced and corrected containing 500 to 1,000 words.  Essay must also address the given topic.  One entry per person. Entries can be from a classroom project.  

Essay Topic for 2016:  “Do the decisions you make carry with them the responsibility for your choices?”  Please Explain.

 Essay Nomination Form

Military Essay - Adult and Youth

Open to personnel of the Armed Forces on active or reserve duty, members of the National Guard, ROTC, JROTC, NSCC and NLCC.  Typed, doubled spaced and corrected essays should be 500 to 1,000 words in length.  Essays must also address the given topic.  One entry per person.

Essay Topic for 2016:  "Why I am Proud to Serve!"

Military Essay Nomination Form

Entry Format:

Entries should consist of a nomination form, one page summary and no more than 10 supporting documents. Supporting documents include letters of commendation, project in action photographs, news clippings, program outlines or a supporting video. Entries can be submitted either electronically or by mail in a report folder. Click Here for Nomination Form   Click Here to Submit Online

Selection Process:

Awards selections are determined in accordance with established procedures by a distinguished, independent National Awards jury officers from national patriotic, service and civic clubs, veterans and educational organizations. The jury is instructed to review the one-page summary and look favorably on current programs and projects.


Recipients receive the George Washington Honor Medal.

Award Announcement:

Recipients will be notified in the fall. Ceremonies honoring the recipients are conducted nationwide by Freedom Foundation at Valley Forge volunteer chapters.