Past TASC Leadership Award Recipients


The TASC Leadership Awards recognize the outstanding leadership of individuals and organizations that consistently demonstrate innovation and courage in addressing some of society's most pervasive challenges. Over the years, individuals and organizations who have made significant contributions to the health and safety of communities in Illinois and throughout our nation have been honored. Past TASC Leadership Award recipients include then-Senator Barack Obama, Senator Richard J. Durbin, Governor James R. Thompson, State Senator Mattie Hunter, the Daily Herald, the Honorable Louis B. Garippo, and many more.



2016 Justice Leadership Award
The Chicago Reporter • Susan Smith Richardson, Editor and Publisher

The Chicago Reporter has a long and respected tradition of investigating issues around race, poverty, and justice in the Chicago metropolitan area. At a time of diminishing resources devoted to in-depth journalism, The Chicago Reporter continues to offer comprehensive reporting on topics such as the consequences of the war on drugs, inequities in the availability of mental health services, systemic biases that affect people of color, and the complexities of youth justice issues. Since 1972, The Chicago Reporter has consistently given voice to issues that deeply affect TASC clients, our communities, and society at large. The award-winning online news organization is a program of the Community Renewal Society, which is dedicated to social justice and the realization of fair and equal opportunities for all.

2016 Public Voice Leadership Award
John Kaul Greene • Retired Partner, William Blair & Co.

John Kaul Greene is a lifelong civic leader and philanthropist whose respected voice has helped to reduce the quiet stigma that families face when confronted with addiction and mental health challenges. His gracious leadership and generous spirit have helped open the doors of recovery for countless individuals and families. After graduating from Yale University, Mr. Greene initiated and led new businesses for William Blair & Company in Europe and Chicago, retiring as a partner in 2004. From cultivating gardens to nurturing the seeds of recovery, Mr. Greene recognizes trends and supports initiatives that promise a lasting positive impact. He and his wife, Jean McBride Greene, have been married for nearly 60 years and are devoted parents and grandparents.


2015 Justice Leadership Award
The Honorable Thomas J. Dart • Sheriff, Cook County Illinois

A former prosecutor and state legislator, Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart has long fought to protect the most vulnerable members of our society. Elected sheriff in 2006, he is responsible for the nation’s largest single site jail, which daily detains thousands of individuals with mental health and substance use disorders. He has been hailed for his progressive reforms, including advocating for more services in the community—rather than jail—for people with mental illness. Under Sheriff Dart, more than 25,000 people who have come through the Cook County Jail since 2013 have applied for healthcare coverage, increasing their opportunities to access community-based care before they reach the justice system. Sheriff Dart was named by Time magazine in 2009 as one of the 100 Most Influential People in the World.

2015 Public Voice Leadership Award
William T. O'Donnell, Jr. • Managing Director, ODE, LLC

Entrepreneur and businessman Bill O’Donnell is a leader in making recovery possible for others, for it is a path he has traveled personally. He began his career with Bally Manufacturing and quickly ascended the corporate ladder, but his life spiraled into addiction. His subsequent rejuvenation in recovery led him to found Sierra Tucson, a world renowned addiction treatment center and dually licensed psychiatric hospital. O’Donnell is a prominent voice for others who struggle with addiction, and a strong advocate for family involvement in the treatment and recovery process. In 1995, he also founded Miraval Resort, which has consistently received the highest ratings by industry publications. A native of Chicago, O’Donnell resides in Wilmette and is managing director of ODE, LLC, an investment and development firm.


2014 Justice Leadership Award
Mattie Hunter • Illinois State Senator (3rd District)

Illinois State Senator Mattie Hunter (D-3) is a committed leader and a strong advocate for substance use treatment and social justice for individuals and families across Illinois. A certified alcohol and drug counselor and prevention specialist, she joined the State Senate in 2003. Since then, Senator Hunter has led ongoing efforts to maintain critical addiction treatment funding in extremely challenging and constantly evolving fiscal environments. She chaired the Illinois Disproportionate Justice Impact Study Commission and led its investigation of the over-representation of minorities in Illinois' criminal justice system as a result of drug policies. Most recently, she secured successful passage in the General Assembly of "No Entry" legislation designed to expand the use of criminal justice diversion programs that connect individuals to community-based services without the criminal conviction record that often stands in the way of restored and productive citizenship. Through her leadership, Illinois has made significant progress in ensuring access to treatment and just dispensation of policies.

2014 Public Voice Leadership Award
Steve Pemberton • Author, Business Leader, and Child Advocate

Steve Pemberton has made leadership, opportunity, access, and equality pillars of his personal and professional life. A successful author and chief diversity officer and divisional vice president for Walgreens, Mr. Pemberton spent much of his childhood as a ward of the state of Massachusetts. A Chance in the World: An Orphan Boy, a Mysterious Past, and How He Found a Place Called Home (2012) describes a difficult path through foster care and a determined search for family. It is a journey that crosses generations and cultures, and resonates with the difficult realities for those with the odds stacked against them. His candid and moving story underscores the importance of connected and accountable systems of care, the value in programs and services which protect and support children, and the essential inclusion of opportunities to intervene with parents struggling with substance use disorders or mental illness.


2013 Justice Leadership Award
Paul N. Samuels, JD • Director/President of the Legal Action Center

Paul N. Samuels has dedicated his career to justice and fairness. As president and director of the Legal Action Center, a not-for-profit public interest law firm with a national scope, Mr. Samuels has worked on ground-breaking litigation defending the rights of people with alcohol and drug histories, HIV disease, and criminal records. He has been at the head of numerous campaigns to combat discrimination, expand services, reform sentencing laws, and effect other important public policy advances through Congressional testimony, state and national advisory groups, lectures, and collaborative partnerships. Mr. Samuels is widely respected for his calm approach and steady resolve for justice. He has received numerous awards for his successful advocacy and leadership, including the prestigious Robert Wood Johnson Innovator Award in 2002.

2013 Public Voice Leadership Award
Robert H. Jordan, Jr., PhD • WGN-TV Anchor & Reporter

Robert H. Jordan, Jr.—a weekend anchor on Chicago superstation WGN-TV, seen by millions of viewers nationwide—approached TASC to explore issues related to youth violence in Chicago. His keen interest and sensitivity to the complexities of violence led to an in-depth WGN cover story and hour-long CLTV special that sparked meaningful public dialogue around health, family, community, public policy, and more. Dr. Jordan’s critical and caring reporting consistently explores social challenges that personally and profoundly affect local families and communities. In addition to being a respected journalist, author, reporter, and news anchor, Dr. Jordan is active in the community and serves on the board of directors of several local organizations, including the John G. Shedd Aquarium, the Safer Foundation, and The Night Ministry.


2012 Justice Leadership Award
Paul P. Biebel, Jr. • Presiding Judge of the Criminal Division of the Circuit Court of Cook County

The Honorable Paul P. Biebel, Jr., was honored for championing collaboration and science as critical tools in advancing improved criminal justice practices. As presiding judge of the Criminal Division of the Circuit Court in Cook County, the largest unified court system in the United States, Judge Biebel draws on the strengths of community service providers and clinical experts to help confront the pervasive challenges that addiction and mental health problems impose on justice systems. He has led the implementation of problem-solving courts and clinically specialized probation for people with substance use and mental health problems, and continues to engage health scientists and community partners in addressing the complex variables that contribute to criminal behavior. Judge Biebel is widely respected for his commitment to science-based solutions that serve both public safety and public health.

2012 Public Voice Leadership Award
Christopher Kennedy Lawford • Author and Recovery Advocate

Christopher Kennedy Lawford was recognized for his tireless work in promoting recovery worldwide. Committed to bringing forth knowledge and enlightenment over myths and misinformation, he works in partnership with international health organizations, the US government, Fortune 500 companies, and numerous non-profit groups to advance the dialogue around addiction and other complex public health issues. In recovery from addiction for more than 26 years, he is the author of two New York Times bestselling books, Symptoms of Withdrawal: A Memoir of Snapshots and Redemption (2005) and Moments of Clarity (2009). He has also published Healing Hepatitis C (2009) and Recover to Live, Kick Any Habit, Manage Any Addiction (2012).


2011 Justice Leadership Award
Gino L. DiVito • Retired Appellate Court Justice & Illinois Sentencing Policy Advisory Council Chair

The Honorable Gino L. DiVito, chairman of the Illinois Sentencing Policy Advisory Council and retired justice of the Illinois Appellate Court, was honored for his significant contributions in simplifying and strengthening state criminal codes and sentencing policies and for his leadership in ensuring that effective evidence-based practices guide both policy and practice in Illinois. In his more than 20 years on the bench, Justice DiVito authored, updated, and shared his personal benchbook, which has become the Illinois Sentencing and Disposition Guide published by LexisNexis. Always a strong proponent of supervised treatment alternatives as important sentencing options for individuals whose core problems are tied to mental illness or addiction, today Justice DiVito continues to lead efforts that build greater understanding of the law, that guard against unintentional consequences of sentencing policies and practices, and that make justice more accessible for everyone.

2011 Public Voice Leadership Award
Toni Preckwinkle • Cook County Board President

The Honorable Toni Preckwinkle, president of the Cook County Board of Commissioners, was recognized for her outspoken leadership in the need for expanded treatment and incarceration alternatives to improve the public—and financial—health and safety of Cook County. As Cook County Board President, Toni Preckwinkle has amplified the conversation regarding the substantial societal and fiscal costs incurred when nonviolent, drug-involved offenders cycle repeatedly through courts, jails, and prisons. Her willingness to discuss the economic disparities and disproportionate minority contact realities associated with these issues, and her call for increased accountability and transparency in addressing them, bring a refreshing and necessary public candor to these complex challenges and the broad evidence-based reforms that will be essential in reversing them.


2010 Justice Leadership Award
Melody M. Heaps • TASC Founder and President Emeritus

TASC honored Melody M. Heaps, its founder and president emeritus, for her considerable accomplishments in leading public health and safety solutions to address the complex and interrelated issues of drugs, poverty, and crime. An expert in building collaborative service systems, Ms. Heaps has helped shape local, state, and federal policies to ensure that quality treatment and recovery services are available and accessible to those who need them. Thanks in great part to the pioneering work of Melody Heaps, Illinois is recognized as a national leader in providing effective and affordable alternatives to incarceration for nonviolent drug-involved individuals in the criminal justice, corrections, juvenile justice, and child welfare systems.

2010 Public Voice Leadership Award
George W. Timberlake • Former Chief Judge of the Second Judicial Circuit

TASC honored the Honorable George W. Timberlake, chairman of the Illinois Juvenile Justice Commission and former chief judge of the Second Judicial Circuit in southeastern Illinois, for his leadership in advancing public policies, evidence-based practices, and systems change to benefit youth and adults throughout Illinois. An innovative thinker and motivational communicator, Judge Timberlake’s voice, expertise, and experience continue to drive state and national efforts toward expanding and strengthening resources and reforms to improve successful results for troubled youth.


2009 Justice Leadership Award
Louis B. Garippo • Retired Judge and Past Chairman of TASC Board of Directors

The Honorable Louis B. Garippo was recognized for his lifetime of extraordinary service to the community and his exemplary dedication to social justice. Judge Garippo’s commitment to justice has been evident throughout his distinguished 50-year legal career, from his work as assistant state’s attorney to judge to private attorney. After retiring from the bench, Judge Garippo became an active member of the TASC Board of Directors (from 1980 until 2007) and served as board chairman for almost 20 years. His wisdom and counsel have provided a sound, stable, and judicious guide to TASC’s growth and development..

2009 Public Voice Leadership Award
Isaac Lewis, Jr. • Founding Publisher & CEO of North Lawndale Community News

TASC honored Isaac Lewis, Jr., for his outstanding leadership in community and civic journalism. Mr. Lewis is founder of the North Lawndale Community News and co-founder of its parent organization, Strategic Human Services. By focusing on positive, productive solutions that improve the lives of community members, Mr. Lewis and the North Lawndale Community News encourage active involvement in community issues and provide educational and training opportunities in the fields of technology, communication, and multi-media journalism.


2007 Justice Leadership Award
Timothy C. Evans • Chief Judge of the Circuit Court of Cook
TASC honored the Honorable Timothy C. Evans, chief judge of the Circuit Court of Cook County, for his outstanding leadership in providing innovative treatment alternatives for individuals who have substance abuse and/or mental health problems. His court’s commitment to a comprehensive range of interventions throughout the criminal justice system saves money and improves the health and safety of families and communities. Thanks to programs such as the mental health court, adult and juvenile drug court programs, intensive drug probation, and TASC sentencing alternatives, Cook County leads the nation in implementing evidence-based solutions for some of society’s most pervasive challenges.

2007 Public Voice Leadership Award
Daily Herald • Managing Editor Madeleine Doubek

TASC recognized the Daily Herald and its Managing Editor Madeleine Doubek for outstanding leadership in advancing the public dialogue around addiction and other complex health and social issues. The Daily Herald’s consistent, thoughtful, and in-depth coverage of underage drinking and treatment alternatives to incarceration are examples of reporting that provides important information, heightens community awareness, and illustrates the human consequences of these conditions.


2005 Leadership Award
Barack Obama • US Senator

Dedicated to public service as a community organizer, civil rights attorney, and leader in the Illinois State Senate, Barack Obama continued his fight for working families following his election to the United States Senate. Sworn into office January 4, 2005, Senator Obama focused on promoting economic growth and bringing good paying jobs to Illinois. Obama served on the Environment and Public Works Committee, the Veterans’ Affairs Committee, and the Foreign Relations Committee. Barack Obama was born on August 4th, 1961, in Hawaii to Barack Obama, Sr. and Ann Dunham. Obama graduated from Columbia University in 1983, and moved to Chicago in 1985 to work for a church-based group seeking to improve living conditions in poor neighborhoods plagued with crime and high unemployment. In 1991, Obama graduated from Harvard Law School where he was the first African American editor of the Harvard Law Review.


2003 Leadership Award
Danny K. Davis • US Representative (7th District)

TASC honored Congressman Danny K. Davis for his leadership in policies that promote public health, employment, and community safety, and for his passionate commitment to opportunity and the rights and dignity of all citizens. A member of several congressional committees and caucuses, he con-sponsored the comprehensive American Community Renewal Act, signed into law in 2000, which empowered the nation's most economically disadvantaged communities through investment, employment, and targeted tax benefits. He also introduced the Public Safety Ex-Offender Self-Sufficiency Act of 2003 which supported housing, job readiness, and other necessary services to facilitate the successful transition of former offenders back to the community. As a community organizer, a civil rights activist, an alderman, and a US Congressman, Davis has tirelessly advocated for rights of the under-served.

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