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Jubilee's year

Washington state ministry wins the 2014 Hope Award for Effective Compassion

Warren Cole Smith (left) presents the 2014 Hope Award for Effective Compassion to Rick and Leann Griffin of Jubilee Leadership Academy. Photo by Willis Bretz

Jubilee's year

A ministry that works with at-risk teenage boys is the winner of WORLD’s 2014 Hope Award for Effective Compassion.

Jubilee Leadership Academy, located in Prescott, Wash., is a highly structured Christian residential program for boys ages 13–18. Located on the Snake River in eastern Washington, the ministry offers academic and life skills programs, as well as vocational training that includes woodworking, welding, horsemanship, culinary arts, and facilities management.

Jubilee’s executive director, Rick Griffin, and his wife, Leann, accepted the award, which included a $25,000 prize, at a lunchtime ceremony today in Washington, D.C., that coincided with The Heritage Foundation’s annual Anti-Poverty Forum. Speakers at the daylong event included Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.), Fox News commentator Juan Williams, Heritage Foundation president Jim DeMint, and Jennifer Marshall, vice president of The Heritage Foundation’s Institute for Family, Community, and Opportunity.

In accepting the award, Griffin noted that the ministry’s name comes from the year of Jubilee established in the Old Testament, which led to emancipation and restoration. “That’s what our hope for Jubilee is,” he said, “that young men who come from deplorable situations, they get a chance to start again, they get a chance to be on a level playing field and hopefully stop that cycle of violence and cycle of poverty and have an opportunity to be great and productive citizens.”

The Hope Award for Effective Compassion is the brainchild of WORLD editor in chief Marvin Olasky, author of the groundbreaking The Tragedy of American Compassion, a book that helped reframe the debate regarding what kind of anti-poverty help is actually helpful. That book said that for compassion to be effective, it must be challenging, personal, and spiritual. For the past nine years, the Hope Award has honored a distinctively Christian ministry that exemplifies those ideals.

In addition to Jubilee, which came out of the West Region, this year’s other regional winners included Seeds of Hope in Camden, N.J. (East); Friends Ministry in Lake City, Mich. (Midwest); and Maury United Ministries in Maury County, Tenn. (South), all of which sent representatives to today’s ceremony held on Capitol Hill within sight of the U.S. Capitol dome. Each regional winner received a check for $4,000, as did WORLD’s international winner, Compassion International.

WORLD News Group’s Jamie Dean and Warren Cole Smith presented this year’s award. “The current cultural conversation too often offers us only two choices: that of the rugged individual who pulls himself up by his bootstraps or the large, centralized, bureaucratic government solution,” Smith said during today’s ceremony. “Today we celebrate a third way: grassroots, faith-based, and specifically Christian organizations. These organizations are changing lives and have always been a key part of America’s greatness.”

A months-long process led to today’s event. First WORLD accepted hundreds of nominations from readers. Then, editors and reporters did online and telephone research to narrow the field to a manageable number. That was followed by more phone calls and in-person visits by reporters to select the four regional winners and runners-up. WORLD then invited its readers and the ministries’ supporters to vote online. This year produced the largest online vote total in the nine-year history of the award, with more than 12,000 votes cast.

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