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$50 million Bezos Courage & Civility Award goes to Eva Longoria and Admiral Bill McRaven- each -for their choice of charities
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$50 million Bezos Courage & Civility Award goes to Eva Longoria and Admiral Bill McRaven- each -for their choice of charities

Jeff Bezos and Lauren Sánchez announced Eva Longoria and Admiral Bill McRaven as the 2024 recipients of the Bezos Courage & Civility Award.

The Bezos Courage & Civility Award was established in 2021 to support leaders addressing today’s seemingly intractable problems. In its third year, the purpose of the honor remains the same – to recognize leaders who aim high and pursue solutions with courage and civility.

As part of the honor, Longoria and McRaven were presented with $50M each to direct to the charities of their choice, joining the ranks of previous years’ recipients Van Jones, José Andrés and Dolly Parton.

As a Latina woman, Longoria has been a longtime advocate for the advancement of the Latino community, both as a storyteller and fierce champion for education and entrepreneurship. This award signifies her incredible contributions to empowering Latinas to create brighter futures as well as her work to promote a more inclusive society.

“Twelve years ago, I started the Eva Longoria Foundation, because Latinos believe in the American Dream, but we don’t always have enough access to it,” said Longoria. “I am honored and thrilled to have this opportunity to build and expand on that work to invest in the infrastructure of opportunity for my community.”

Four-star Admiral Bill McRaven’s leadership in special operations demonstrate his dedication to serving others at the highest levels when the stakes are at their most critical. McRaven’s public statements in support of our democracy, and his personal work in support of veterans, and the children of fallen soldiers continue to have lasting impact. This award is meant to further that important work.

“I am incredibly honored to receive this award from Lauren and Jeff,” said McRaven. “Their generous gift will truly change the lives of countless veterans and their families.  Nothing is more inspiring to those that serve than knowing that their sacrifice is recognized and genuinely appreciated.”

This year’s recipients were honored at the Courage & Civility Awards Event in Washington D.C, featuring a fireside chat with previous award recipients Van Jones and José Andrés in addition to a lookback video with a welcome greeting from last year’s award recipient, Dolly Parton, and a musical performance by Jewel.

The Bezos Courage & Civility Award was established in 2021 to support leaders addressing today’s seemingly intractable problems. Recipients are selected based on their work in philanthropic areas of societal importance, recognizing them as leaders who aim high and pursue solutions with courage and civility. The 2021 inaugural recipients were Van Jones and José Andrés. The 2022 recipient was Dolly Parton.

Having worked consistently in Hollywood for over 20 years, Eva Longoria has cemented herself as an industry staple known for her work both in front of and behind the camera.

Named by Variety as one of their most anticipated directors of 2023, Longoria continues to hone her craft, seek new projects, and expand opportunities for others by paving the way for future women and minority producers, directors and industry leaders in Hollywood and beyond. Also a dedicated philanthropist and activist, Longoria has consistently lent her voice to the issues she is passionate about, ranging from immigration to reproductive rights.

Longoria co-founded the nonprofit Eva’s Heroes in 2006 which is dedicated to enriching the lives of those with intellectual special needs. As part of her commitment to empowering Latinas everywhere, she established the Eva Longoria Foundation (ELF) in 2012 to help Latinas build better futures for themselves and their families through educational programs, scholarships, mentorship and entrepreneurship.

In addition to her own foundations, Longoria founded Time’s Up with other leading Hollywood women; launched The MACRO Episodic Lab Powered by The Black List with Charles D. King, Lena Waithe and Franklin Leonard to empower storytellers of color who typically do not have access to the traditional Hollywood system; and is the co-founder of the Latino Victory Fund, which is a movement that builds power in the Latinx community to ensure their voices and values are reflected at every level of government and in the policies that drive our country forward. Longoria also serves on the board of trustees for The Academy Museum of Motion Pictures, The National Museum of the American Latino, and the Television Academy Foundation, where she brings her dedication, inclusiveness, education, and philanthropy toward advancing their missions.

Additionally, Longoria is a founding member of The Roybal School of Film and Television Production, a specialized academy that provides LA Unified teachers with access to renowned storytellers and supports students with an academic education and practical training, establishing a clear pathway to good-paying jobs.

Admiral William H. McRaven, is a retired U.S. Navy Four-Star admiral and the former Chancellor of the University of Texas System.  During his time in the military, he commanded special operations at every level.  His career included combat during Desert Storm and both the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.

The forces under his command were responsible for the capture of Saddam Hussein, the rescue of Captain Phillips and the mission to get Osama bin Laden.  His final assignment was the commander of all U.S. special operation’s forces.

As the Chancellor of the UT System he led one of the nation’s largest and most respected systems of higher education. As the chief executive officer of the UT System, McRaven oversaw 14 institutions that educated 220,000 students and employed 20,000 faculty and more than 80,000 health care professionals, researchers, and staff.

McRaven is a recognized national authority on U.S. foreign policy and has advised Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama as well as other U.S. leaders on defense issues.

He currently serves as a Senior Advisor for Lazard Financial Advisory and he is on the boards of the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), the National Football Foundation, the International Crisis Group, The Mission Continues, and ConocoPhillips.

McRaven graduated from The University of Texas at Austin in 1977 with a degree in Journalism, and received his master’s degree from the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey in 1991.

McRaven is the author of six books, SPEC OPS: Case Studies in Special Operations Warfare, and five New York Times Best Sellers, Make Your Bed, Sea Stories, The Hero Code, The Wisdom of the Bullfrog and a children’s book, Make Your Bed with Skipper the Seal.

He met his wife, Georgeann, while they were students at UT Austin, and they have three grown children.  McRaven stays active with his writing, speaking and board commitments.

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