STAMFORD, Conn. (Feb. 2, 2016) — More than 75 organizations and individuals from communities across America received national recognition at Keep America Beautiful’s National Awards celebration, which took place Monday, Feb. 1, at Keep America Beautiful’s National Conference in Orlando, Florida.

Keep America Beautiful’s National Awards recognize the passion and dedication of Keep America Beautiful’s affiliates from across the nation as well as partner organizations and individuals who share Keep America Beautiful’s vision of a country where every community is a clean, green and beautiful place to live. Established in 1953, Keep America Beautiful consists of a national network of more than 600 statewide and community-based affiliates whose programs, initiatives and efforts, supported by millions of volunteers, help transform public spaces into beautiful places.

“Keep America Beautiful’s National Awards celebrates some of our country’s most dedicated community leaders – representatives from our affiliates and partner organizations – who personify the words imagine, inspire and transform through the work they help lead every day to keep America beautiful in local communities nationwide,” said Keep America Beautiful President and CEO, Jennifer Jehn. “It’s my privilege to recognize such valuable, mission-based work that helps communities become more socially connected, environmentally healthy and economically sound.”

Among the individuals recognized with Keep America Beautiful’s most significant honors were Frank Austin, a nonprofit advocate with the Austin Smith Center for Community Development in Macon, Georgia, and Jan Dapitan, who led Keep America Beautiful’s Hawaii state affiliate for many years in a volunteer capacity, from Maui. Austin and Dapitan received Keep America Beautiful’s pre-eminent awards for volunteerism: the Iron Eyes Cody Award and Mrs. Lyndon B. Johnson Award, respectively.

The Iron Eyes Cody Award was created in honor of Keep America Beautiful’s landmark public service advertising and awareness campaign of the 1970s, which is credited with awakening the environmental consciousness of an entire generation of Americans. The Mrs. Lyndon B. Johnson Award was named after the former first lady for engaging our nation in recognizing that aesthetic beauty is directly related to healthier communities, a cleaner environment, lower crime and a better quality of life. These awards honored the exceptional volunteer leadership that Austin and Dapitan have demonstrated in Macon and throughout the state of Hawaii.

Keep America Beautiful also bestowed its annual Young Professional Award to Jenifer Pitcher of Bakersfield, California, who has served in a number of capacities on the board of directors of Keep America Beautiful affiliate, Keep Bakersfield Beautiful, since 2011. She is the Coordinator, San Joaquin Valley, at Western States Petroleum Association. The Sue Smith Professional Leadership Award honored two women: Debra Evenson, executive director of Keep Tampa Bay Beautiful, and Sarah Kountouris, executive director of Keep Mississippi Beautiful. And the William “Bill” Nash Award for new Keep America Beautiful affiliates was awarded to Keep Ridgeland Beautiful in Ridgeland, Mississippi.

The annual conference, Keep America Beautiful’s premier educational and networking event, brought together more than 350 leaders from Keep America Beautiful’s national network of more than 600 state and community-based affiliates, business leaders, policymakers and other experts who shared innovative ideas and proven strategies to help end littering, improve recycling, and beautify America’s communities.

The 2016 Keep America Beautiful National Conference was made possible through the support of some of America’s leading companies, including: Title Sponsor – Wrigley Company Foundation; Leadership Sponsors – Altria, Lowe’s and Santa Fe Natural Tobacco Company; Stewardship Sponsors – Anheuser-Busch, RAI Services Company and Recyclebank; Strategic Sponsors – Dr Pepper Snapple Group, Keurig Green Mountain, Inc., and the Steel Recycling Institute; and Supporting Sponsors – Foodservice Packaging Institute, Northrop Grumman, Owens-Illinois, Inc., and Publix. Scholarships are provided by Altria and Dr Pepper Snapple Group.

For a complete list of National Awards recipients, click here.

About Keep America Beautiful
At Keep America Beautiful, we want to ensure that beauty is our lasting signature. A leading national nonprofit, Keep America Beautiful inspires and educates people to take action every day to improve and beautify their community environment. We envision a country where every community is a clean, green, and beautiful place to live. Established in 1953, Keep America Beautiful provides the expertise, programs and resources to help people end littering in America, improve recycling in America, and beautify America’s communities. The organization is driven by the work and passion of more than 600 community-based Keep America Beautiful affiliates, millions of volunteers, and the support of corporate partners, municipalities, elected officials, and individuals. To learn how you can donate or take action, visit Follow us on Twitter and Instagram, like us on Facebook, or view us on YouTube.