Compassion in Action award

PURPOSE: inspire positive action to help create a better world as modeled by the Dalai Lama and the artists who have participated in The Missing Peace Project. In that spirit, we want to shine a light on those in the communities in which The Missing Peace art is exhibited who are heeding this call to compassionate action and making a difference.


The award is given to individuals who embody pure motivation and compassionate concern for the well-being of others, world peace, ecology, and global responsibility. The recipient should have been involved in projects or activities that transform the world locally, nationally, or internationally with a focus on peace, environment, education, ethics, health, welfare, or business in which income and wealth are distributed in a just and fair way as to minimize poverty and assure all members of the society a reasonable standard of living.

The CIAA awardees model the intent of The Missing Peace project - they represent as do the artists of The Missing Peace - people who act with positive intent. The awardees are nominated and selected by a local committee, and two recipients are honored at each opening event.

Award Ceremony

The award is a stylized glass vajra, designed and created by a glass artist, and is presented at each of The Missing Peace opening events. The vajra is an ancient symbol representing enlightenment and power. This glass vajra award represents enlightened action - glass reflects and is translucent, spreading and diffusing light.

Awards have been given to recipients in Los Angeles in June 2006, Chicago in October 2006, New York City in July 2007, and San Francisco in November 2007, and North Carolina in May 2008.


Winner/Individual: Warden Art Beeler, Butner Federal Prison Complex [2008]

Winner/Individual: Michael Green [San Francisco/2007]
Winner/Organization: The Glide Memorial Foundation   [San Francisco/2007]

Winner/Individual: Nicolas Kristof [New York/2007]
Winner/Organization: Anna Lappé, Small Planet Institute and Small Planet Fund
  [New York/2007]

Winner/individual: Marjorie Craig Benton [Chicago/2006]
Winner/Organization: The Children’s Place Association [Chicago/2006]

Winner/individual: Mr. Rafe Esquith [Los Angeles/2006]
Winner/Organization: Planet Hope and founder Kelly Stone [Los Angeles/2006]

Please enjoy the detailed descriptions below.


Warden Art Beeler, Butner Federal Prison Complex

Art Beeler, MGA, is the warden at the Federal Medical Center in Butner, N.C. He is responsible for overseeing medical and mental health care provided at the facility. One of Warden Beeler’s major acts of compassion was facilitating the Butner palliative care volunteers program to provide comfort to inmates who are dying. These volunteers often serve to bridge reconciliation with family members, and these inmates learn about themselves in the process. To quote Beeler, “The affirmation of life given by providing comfort and dignity to those who are dying not only is the right thing to do, it is the only thing to do.” For more information, read his Corrections Today article from July 2006, Palliative care volunteers: a program of compassion.

And to exemplify Beeler’s daily compassion in action, I quote an employee of the Butner Federal Medical Center, “When they moved the hospital in 2000, the most upset patients were the psychiatric inmates. Warden Beeler made sure he was with them on the move date. In the cafeteria line, he noted that one man’s shoes were untied. Warden Beeler kneeled down and tied them. This act stunned the staff. To me, this expresses compassion in action.”

San Francisco/2007

Michael Green, Executive Director, Center for Environmental Health

Michael founded the Center for Environmental Health (CEH) in 1996 after leaving the US Department of Energy’s Office of Environmental Management in Washington, D.C. As Director of CEH, he has been a leader in national efforts to stop toxic exposures and protect public health, and developed the groundbreaking CEH legal work that has won major victories in holding industries accountable for hazardous consumer products and toxic emissions.

Michael has worked with the U.S. EPA Working Group on Environmental Equity, the Tibetan refugee community in Dharamsala, India, Mother Teresa in Calcutta, India, and the legal advisor to His Holiness the Dalai Lama in The Netherlands. He has been interviewed for national news reports by the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Washington Post, Toronto Globe & Mail, CBS Evening News, Good Housekeeping, and NPR Marketplace, as well as several international news media outlets. He serves on the board of directors for the Tibet Justice Center, Environmental Justice and Health Union, and the California League for Environmental Enforcement Now.

Michael Green is a tireless advocate for environmental and physical health, especially for children. His Oakland-based non-profit that has done more to make children’s toys safe than any organization on the planet. Because of the work of Michael, children’s lunchboxes and bibs are (virtually) lead free, play structures in parks are less toxic, and kids jewelry is safer. They've also worked to make America’s hospitals places that don’t make the people in them sick. Michael’s organization is consistently rated one of the most effective non-profits in the country. Especially with the recent news around lead poisoning in children’s toys coming from China, we all need to recognize, support and applaud the work that Michael has been doing for more than a decade.

Glide Memorial Church, Founders Cecil Williams and Janice Mirikitani

Glide Memorial Church has served the indigent, the homeless, recovering addicts and the mentally ill, among others, for more than fifty years. Glide is a place where everyone is welcome. Glide’s vision is one of love, spirituality and social justice. That vision becomes action at Glide where they assist the community in the following ways …

Glide serves as an oasis of hope where people of all races, classes, genders, ages and sexual orientations are served. The love, honor and respect that each person receives at Glide are renowned. The church has become famous as a model of urban leadership and compassionate community action. It takes that model one step further and offers “emerging leadership” internships to students from U.C. Berkeley and U.C. Davis each year.

New York/2007

Winner/Organization: Anna Lappé, Small Planet Institute and Small Planet Fund

Small Planet Institute

Anna Lappé is a national bestselling author and public speaker on food politics, sustainable agriculture, globalization, and social change. Named one of Time Magazine’s 2006 Eco-Who’s Who, Anna has been featured in The New York Times, Gourmet, O Magazine, Food & Wine, and Vibe, among other outlets.

With Frances Moore Lappé, Anna leads the Cambridge-based Small Planet Institute, a collaborative network for research and popular education, and the Small Planet Fund, which has raised more than a quarter of a million dollars for eight democratic social movements worldwide, two of which have won the Nobel Peace Prize since the Fund’s founding in 2002. She also serves as a consultant to foundations, media projects, and non-profit organizations and is an active board member of the Center for Media and Democracy.

Anna’s first book Hope’s Edge (Tarcher/Penguin 2002), co-written with her mother Frances Moore Lappé, chronicles courageous social movements around the world addressing the root causes of hunger and poverty. Winner of the Nautilus Award for Social Change, Hope’s Edge has been published in several languages and is used in classrooms across the country. Her second book is Grub: Ideas for an Urban Organic Kitchen (Tarcher/Penguin 2006), with chef Bryant Terry and a foreword by Eric Schlosser. Called “ingenious” by The New York Times, Grub offers an exposé on industrial food and chemical agriculture along with hands-on tools and menus to create healthier lives for ourselves and our communities.
Anna has worked in South Africa, England, and France. She currently lives in Brooklyn, New York where she visits her local farmers market whenever she gets a chance.

Winner/Individual: Nicholas Kristof

Nicolas Kristof, a graduate of Harvard and Rhodes Scholar at Oxford, is a political scientist, author, and Pulitzer Prize winning journalist specializing in East Asia. He is currently a columnist for The New York Times and previously served as the Times’ Bureau Chief in Hong Kong, Beijing and Tokyo. He is the author of numerous books.

KristofKristof was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for Commentary in 2005 for “his powerful columns that portrayed suffering among the developing world’s often forgotten people and stirred action”. He visits and brings student journalists with him to report on the genocide that is taking place in Darfur, focusing attention on the situation more boldly than any other reporter in the U.S., at often at great personal risk.

In 2006, The New York Times held the Win A Trip With Nick Kristof contest designed to allow one university student to accompany him to Africa to Equatorial Guinea, Cameroon and the Central African Republic to report on AIDS, poverty and maternal mortality. A second annual Win a Trip contest took place and two winners accompanied him on a reporting trip to Africa.

Kristof uncovers the truth in places remote from the Western World. Through superb reportage he allows the voices of the most unfortunate to be heard. He brings students with him so our youth can participate – listen, learn and act. His responsible reporting doesn’t just stop at that, in his columns in The New York Times he lists actions citizens and governments can take to address these issues


Winner/individual: Marjorie Craig Benton

Marjorie Craig Benton is one of Chicago’s leading philanthropists, and her philanthropy has been particularly focused on peace, social justice, and education. She was co-founder of the Peace Museum in Chicago Illinois and currently serves on the board of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, a non-profit association founded by scientists to educate citizens about global security issues, especially the continuing dangers posed by nuclear and other weapons of mass destruction, and the appropriate roles of nuclear technology. She also was the Public Delegate to the United Nations, a Delegate to the Special Session on Disarmament, a co-chair of Americans for Salt, and Special Advisor to the United Nations Disarmament Commission.

Mrs. Benton is a co-founder of the Chicago Foundation for Women (the second largest women’s foundation in the country), and she is a former Board member of Connect for Kids. She is a former U.S. Ambassador to U.N.I.C.E.F. and former Board Chair of Save the Children, both of which addressed how to improve the lives of women and children in Third World Countries. Her husband, Charles, heads the Benton Foundation, on which she has also served as trustee.

Winner/Organization: The Children’s Place Association

Children's Place

A nationally recognized leader in pediatric AIDS care, The Children’s Place Association is one of a handful of organizations in the nation that is specifically designed for the care, education and support of HIV/AIDS-affected children and their families.  When The Children's Place Association opened in 1991, it filled a gap in the health and child welfare systems with the first residential facility in the Midwest providing 24-hour nursing care for HIV/AIDS-affected children.  Over the years the agency has developed programs and services that address the physical, emotional and social issues surrounding HIV/AIDS.

The Children's Place Association serves over 375 HIV/AIDS-affected children and parents each year.  Located on Chicago’s west side, the agency works with families that live in some of the city’s most impoverished areas, where HIV rates may be twice the city’s average.  Most families live on less than half the city’s median income.  Recognizing the social character of the HIV/AIDS epidemic, The Children’s Place Association’s comprehensive service model treats the poverty and isolation that compound the medical burden of HIV/AIDS.  The current constellation of services includes: residential care with 24-hour nursing; specialized day care for infants and preschoolers; support services such as psychotherapy, case management, in-home respite care and recreational activities; foster care/adoption; and three units of housing for formerly homeless HIV/AIDS-affected families.

The Children's Place Association’s evolving mission of caring for children and families affected by HIV/AIDS can also be seen in their recent initiatives.  In 2004, the agency developed Lifelong Families, a program to help HIV/AIDS-affected families prepare for the difficult time when a parent or caregiver will be unable to care for his or her child.  In 2005, The Children’s Place Association expanded its mission to care for the most disenfranchised and vulnerable children – those impacted by AIDS – through an affiliation with Global Alliance for Africa, a small Chicago-based non-profit that provides assistance to AIDS orphans in Kenya and Tanzania. 

For fifteen years, The Children’s Place Association has provided life-saving and life-enhancing services to children and families affected by AIDS and poverty.  Through its comprehensive approach, the organization helps families not only improve their present, but also secure a brighter future.

Los Angeles /2006

Winner/Organization: Planet Hope and founder Kelly Stone

Planet Hope

In 1992, on the studio lot at Paramount Pictures, two sisters, Sharon and Kelly Stone, came together to create Planet Hope. Inspired by an accident that left Kelly physically impaired for years, the sisters recognized the importance of having hope in one’s life. It is from this shared family experience that Planet Hope was born. Since 1992, Planet Hope has helped thousands upon thousands of families from around the world. Planet Hope programs have been able to offer free medical and dental care, new clothes for kids, counseling on image makeovers for homeless women and women that have been victims of domestic violence. Planet Hope’s mission of providing hope for a better life has made a tremendous difference to thousands of homeless and abused children and their families. 

Kelly Stone and Darlene Markovich
Photo: Kelly Stone (left) is the co-founder of Planet Hope which was one of the two receipients of the award in Los Angeles. Darlene Markovich is founder of The Missing Peace.

Of the many Planet Hope programs,
Homeless and abused children and their families experience joy and learning from field trips by attending museums, zoos, theme parks, movies and sporting events – giving both parents and children an opportunity to retreat from their lives in the shelters.
Camp Planet Hope for kids gives kids the chance to experience a traditional summer campus as well as much needed medical and dental care. Moms are provided with programs designed to help their self esteem and learning about childcare opportunities, housing and employment. All of the children and their families leave camp happy and hopeful with backpacks filled to the rim with back to school clothes and new sneakers.
Planet Hope is a great model for grassroots support. Planet Hope South “Healing the Gulf Coast” is helping the survivors of hurricanes Katrina and Rita displaced from their homes. Planet Hope has provided desperately needed insulin for diabetics, inhalers to children with asthma, money to St Joseph’s Church which is housing families with newborn babies; and a very long list of other vital assistance to people on a personal level.
For its efforts Planet Hope has received much recognition. In 2000 George Magazine recognized Kelly Stone and seven other recipients with the First Annual George Awards. The Junior League of Los Angeles honored Kelly Stone with the 2001 Lifetime Community Achievement Award for her incredible contributions. LA Family Housing awarded Sharon and Kelly Stone with the Family Housing Inspiration Award in 2003. In 2004 SHARE awarded Kelly and Sharon the Shining Spirit Award.
Kelly Stone, we commend and award you for embodying pure motivation and compassionate concern for the well being of others. From shoes for students and prom dresses for high school girls to Planet Hope South’s Healing the Gulf Coast support, your compassion in action is helping transform the world locally and globally with a focus on health and welfare. Just as do the artists of the Missing Peace, you truly model the intent of The Missing Peace project by acting with positive intent.  

Winner/individual: Mr. Rafe Esquith

Rafe has received international and national awards for his work as a 5th-grade teacher at Hobart Elementary, the second-largest elementary school in the nation with more than 2,000 students, 90 percent below the poverty level, and all from immigrant families. Having entered the teaching profession out of a strong social conscience, Rafe fell quickly into despair — but then, at the instigation of a ten-year-old, radically re-thought his approach. He started learning from the children.

He teaches from 6:30 a.m. until 6:00 p.m., plus weekends (his students become so motivated that they too put in these long hours). These formerly low-achieving students consistently score in the top 5 to 10 percent nationally in standardized tests, and they not only get into top colleges but become people with good manners, respect for others, and tolerance. From his 2003 memoir, There Are No Shortcuts, one learns that his tremendous energy is motivated by the joy he receives from acting with compassion — with that compassion fueled by his insight into the intrinsic value of every young person he encounters.

His classroom provides intensive experiential learning in, for instance, socioeconomic disparities, and he uses great literature. His students also study one Shakespeare play in depth. Even the most learning-challenged children master English, gain a sense of their own potential, learn to collaborate, and produce and act in an unabridged Shakespeare play at the end of the year — and then these "Hobart Shakespeareans" perform that play all over the world.

These productions and travel for the children are funded by awards that Rafe has won, such as the National Medal of Arts, the Walt Disney American Teacher Award for National Teacher of the Year, Oprah Winfrey’s $100,000 Use Your Life Award, and a foundation that some of his former students have set up to fund his classroom’s activities. Rafe and his wife, Barbara, take none of the award proceeds and, for the 24 years he’s been at Hobart, have lived on his teacher’s salary in the low-income neighborhood near the school.

We commend and award you, Rafe, for embodying pure motivation and compassionate concern for the well being of others. Your compassion in action is helping transform the world locally with a focus on education and children’s well-being!