Guidelines and Rules

On November 21, 1949 General Dwight D. Eisenhower presented 200 recipients with the first Freedoms Foundation National Awards.

Today, over 57,000 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. There are seven categories for Freedoms Foundation’s National Awards.

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 promotes 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

Honoring activities by a school or classroom. Focus should be placed on students’ community involvement in action, with emphasis on patriotism, individual character and responsible citizenship. Evidence of student involvement and a complete one-page summary listing project goals and objectives must be included. 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

Open to students, ages kindergarten-grade 12. Individual essays may be the product of a classroom assignment or other contest. Entries must be typed, double spaced, corrected, and contain 250-500 words for kindergarten-grade 6 and 500-750 words for grades 7-12. Essays must also address the year’s topic and include the student’s name, address, grade level and teacher’s name. One entry per student. We have two deadlines to apply. The first is March 1, 2023 for early entries. Recipients will be notified by April 15, 2024. The second is June 1, 2024 for general entries who will be part of the larger awards review process and notified by Labor Day.

2024 Student Essay Topic K-Grade 6:

What are some ways you can work with your family and friends to help keep our country free?

2024 Student Essay Topic Grades 7-12:

Why are responsible citizens important to our system of government? What can I do to develop the necessary traits to become one and encourage others to do so as well?

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 750 words in length. Essays must also address the given topic. One entry per person. Deadline to apply is June 1, 2024.

2024 Military Essay Topic:

Why are responsible citizens important to our system of government? What can I do to develop the necessary traits to become one and encourage others to do so as well?

Award Details

Entry Format:

Entries should consist of a one page summary and no more than 10 supporting documents. Supporting documents include letters of commendation, project in action photographs, news clippings, program outlines and/or a supporting video. Entries can be submitted on line or by mail along with a nomination form. Online submissions must combine all documents into one PDF or word document. The online process will only accept one document to upload.

Selection Process:

Award selections are determined in accordance with non-partisan guidelines established by Freedoms Foundation at Valley Forge and are reviewed by a distinguished independent National Awards jury panel comprised of officers from national service, civics, veterans and educational organization.


Recipients receive the George Washington Honor Medal.

Award Announcement:

Recipients will be notified by September 1, 2024. Ceremonies honoring the award recipients are conducted nationwide by Freedoms Foundation at Valley Forge Volunteer Chapters in ceremonies conducted from November through February.

Donate Today

Supporting America’s first principles of freedom is essential to ensure future generations understand and cherish the blessings of liberty. With your donation, we will reach even more young people with the truth of America’s unique past, its promising future, and the liberty for which it stands. Help us prepare the next generation of leaders.