Stevie Wonder to be honored at Andrew Young’s 82nd birthday celebration in Atlanta

Ambassador Andrew Young
Ambassador Andrew Young

The Andrew J. Young Foundation will celebrate the 82nd birthday of its founder, Ambassador Andrew Young, with its 2nd Pass on Blessings Awards ceremony which will recognize the life and work of American legends that helped build Atlanta’s skyline and image as a world-class metropolis, and changed America from a divided to a united nation. Their contributions and acts of courage in government, business, philanthropy, sports, entertainment, and human and civil rights were instrumental in breaking down racial barriers, and racial and economic injustice in America; altering the course of our nation; and creating a legacy that continues to make an impact on Atlanta and the world.

The Pass on Blessings Award was created to affirm the giving spirit and actions of accomplished people who have used the bounty of their blessing to make a difference in the lives of others. The 2014 honorees are:

  • President Lyndon Baines Johnson and Lady Bird Johnson (posthumously) – Luci Baines Johnson (daughter, accepting)
  • Henry “Hank” Aaron and Billye Suber Aaron
  • John C. Portman, Jr. and Jan Portman
  • Herman J. Russell, Sr. and Sylvia E. Russell
  • Stevie Wonder
Luci Baines Young, Carolyn Young, John and Jan Portman, Herman and Sylvia Russell, Boris and Nicole Ari Parker Kodjoe, Andrew Young and Hank and Billye Aaron
Luci Baines Young, Carolyn Young, John and Jan Portman, Herman and Sylvia Russell, Boris and Nicole Ari Parker Kodjoe, Andrew Young and Hank and Billye Aaron

The Pass on Blessings Awards was coined by Carolyn McClain Young, vice chair of the Andrew J. Young Foundation and wife of Ambassador Young, in homage to a quote made famous by Oprah Winfrey which states, “Blessings are not ours to keep, they’re ours to give away.” Young decided during the planning of her husband’s 80th birthday celebration that it was an appropriate time for the Foundation to honor those who have passed the blessings they’ve received in life on to others. Oprah Winfrey received one of the first Pass on Blessings Awards in 2012.

Ambassador Young stressed the need to salute the honorees for this year’s ceremony. “The progress and success of Atlanta is based on a half-century of visionary service. Many people today think it happened by accident,” states Ambassador Andrew Young. “With the Pass on Blessings Awards ceremony we are saying thank you to the courage and contributions of the investors in this vision, and in so doing, helping the millions of new Atlantans realize how all of this came together. It was through collaboration. We brought businesses, government, churches, universities and the panorama of cultures together. That is what has made Atlanta the city of the future.”

As the nation recognizes the 50th Anniversary of hallmark legislation passed by President Lyndon B. Johnson, including the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Voting Rights Act, Medicare, Head Start, the Food Stamp program, and many others, the Foundation deemed it fitting to honor Lyndon and Lady Bird Johnson whose achievements during his administration transformed America. The bills Johnson signed into law struck down racial barriers, promoted equal rights and opened the doors to opportunity for black Americans. Their service to this country left a legacy that continues to shape American life today.

“In the wake of the civil rights movement, Atlanta came of age as a model of cross-racial cooperation as a means to economic growth and opportunity for all, a model that subsequently set the standard for cities across the nation,” said Andrea Young, executive director of the Andrew J. Young Foundation. “For a decade now, the Foundation has fostered a mission to continue the vision, values and virtues that have moved this nation to a higher ground. Our Pass on Blessings 2014 honorees embody those same ideals and have demonstrated their commitment for a better society in their life’s work.”

The ceremony will be emceed by legendary Atlanta newswoman Monica Pearson and actors Nicole Ari Parker and Boris Kodjoe. Superstar recording artist Stevie Wonder will be on hand to receive a Pass on Blessings Award for his life’s work as a global ambassador for peace and justice through music.The “U.K .Queen of Soul” now Atlanta transplant, Julie Dexter, will perform throughout the show. Event co-chairs are Alexander B. Cummings Jr., Vicki R. Palmer, Nick C. Sellers and Carolyn McClain Young.

Tickets can be purchased through the website. General seating tickets are $150.00 each.

Proceeds from the event are used to support the ongoing work and operation of the Andrew J. Young Foundation. For more information and to purchase tickets or a sponsorship, visit

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