Interfaith Alliance celebrates Welton Gaddy’s 15th anniversary as president by presenting him with 2012 Walter Cronkite Faith & Freedom Award
The chair of the Interfaith Alliance’s board of directors, Amber Khan, announced today that the board has unanimously voted to award the 2012 Walter Cronkite Faith & Freedom Award to Rev. Dr. C. Welton Gaddy in honor of his 15th anniversary as the organization’s leader. 2012 also marks the 15th year of the Cronkite award, named after the organization’s late honorary chairman and renowned CBS news anchor. Mr. Cronkite was an active part of the organization and personally presented the award until his death in 2009. The award ceremony will take place on November 11, 2012, in New York.
Rev. Gaddy is unique among organizational leaders in Washington, D.C. In addition to his full time job leading Interfaith Alliance, he travels back to his home in Monroe, La., every weekend to serve as Pastor for Preaching and Worship at Northminster (Baptist) Church. His experience as a pastor for more than 50 years has informed his understanding of faith in America and the positive role it can play in people’s lives. Rev. Gaddy has travelled across the country and around the world meeting with advocates of religious freedom, working for understanding among people of different faiths, and challenging extremism at home and abroad. Mr. Cronkite once said of Rev. Gaddy, “Personally, I appreciate Welton Gaddy’s courageous leadership of the Interfaith Alliance. He continues to … give people of faith a strong voice of reason in public discussions and media presentations on the issues of the day and the proper role of religion in the life of the nation.”
Khan added, “Welton is a man of deeply held faith and a passionate advocate for religious freedom for everyone. Over the last 15 years, he has established Interfaith Alliance as a strong voice for people of different faiths and beliefs who want to protect a principle at the very foundation of our democracy.”
Interfaith Alliance also announced that Mitchell Gold will receive the organization’s President’s Award. Gold, the chairman of Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams, has been a longtime advocate for religious freedom and a supporter of Interfaith Alliance. He is also a founder of Faith in America, an organization dedicated to combating religious-based bigotry aimed at the LGBT community.
“Mitchell’s commitment to equality for all has been an inspiration to everyone who shares his vision for a more accepting world,” said Khan.
This year’s dinner will be held on Sunday, November 11, in New York City. The chair of the event is Helio Fred Garcia, the president of the Logos Consulting Group, and the vice chair is Jacob Worenklein, a partner at Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld. Both are members of the Interfaith Alliance Board.
“It has been an honor to work at Welton’s side and see his unique ability to bring together people of different faiths and beliefs for the common purpose of protecting religious freedom,” said Garcia.
“The work being done by Interfaith Alliance is as critical today as it was when Rev. Gaddy first started,” said Worenklein.
The Walter Cronkite Faith & Freedom Award, established by Interfaith Alliance in 1998, recognizes individuals who courageously promote democratic values, defend religious freedom and reinvigorate informed civic participation. The award recognizes individuals whose actions have embodied the values of civility, tolerance, diversity and cooperation in the advancement of public dialogue and public policy on traditionally controversial and divisive issues.
Rev. Joan Brown Campbell, one of the founders of Interfaith Alliance and a 2010 Cronkite Award recipient, said, “Welton's gift to Interfaith Alliance is his commitment to interfaith harmony. His respect for every faith is rooted in his own deep faith. He has given of himself and his talents to bring about a world where peace and justice are the order of every day, in every heart. Welton Gaddy shares the values of truth and trust that were Walter Cronkite's signature.”
Interfaith Alliance celebrates religious freedom by championing individual rights, promoting policies that protect both religion and democracy, and uniting diverse voices to challenge extremism. Founded in 1994, Interfaith Alliance has 185,000 members across the country from 75 faith traditions as well as those without a faith tradition. For more information, visit www.interfaithalliance.org.