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Honoring Those Who Inspire
the Best in All of Us

There are people in our community who give of themselves selflessly—role models of the human spirit who work tirelessly to overcome adversity and affect positive change on a daily basis. Regardless of accolades or opinions or obstacles or remuneration, they demonstrate the highest human qualities – courage, love, strength, determination, persistence, and more – moving beyond personal circumstances to make life better for others.

Each year the Essence of Humanity Award elevates the stories of these individuals who exemplify the human spirit, beyond the requirements of their formal work lives and demonstrate what it means to be a compassionate citizen.


Since 2001, the Essence of Humanity Award has been a collaboration with community partners to honor individuals who overcome personal obstacles and work tirelessly for the betterment of others. Through these partner organizations, individuals are presented for nomination.


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Dr. Leroy Hopkins and Gerald Wilson

Dr. Leroy Hopkins (second from left)
Volunteer, Advocate and Professor
Award recipient 2024

Gerald Wilson (third from left)
Lieutenant, Lancaster City Police and Professor
Award recipient 2024

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Past Recipients

Everyday heroes in your community who serve as an inspiration to the people whose lives they touch — this is the heart and soul of the Essence of Humanity Award.


View Past Honorees


INDIVIDUALS who have overcome challenges through adversity or obstacles involving economic hardship, physical disabilities, physical and/or mental illness, and;

CAREGIVERS who have exhibited the values we seek to recognize in delivering special care for those individuals described above. These individuals may be a parent, extended family member, coach, teacher, mentor, guidance counselor, neighbor, benefactor, etc.

Values and Characteristics
















Other qualities: exemplifying an outstanding commitment to uplifting humanity

Selection Process

Selection of the Award winners will be made by a steering committee in the local area, based on the eligibility criteria cited above. Each nomination will be considered on its own merit and in relation to other nominations submitted.

All award recipients are honored at a partner organization event held at a time of the partner’s choosing.

For More Information

Please contact:

Robin Stauffer
Executive Director

Or write to:

Essence of Humanity
P.O. Box 11087
Lancaster PA 17605-1087