The Women's Conference - Minerva Awards

Minerva Awards

Created by Shriver in 2004, the Minerva Awards honors remarkable women who have stepped forward in the spirit of Minerva and changed their country with their courage, their strength and their wisdom. The Minerva Awards are presented every year at The Women's Conference. Nominees are announced prior to the conference event, typically in September.

Minerva Award recipients have made extraordinary contributions in the areas of the Arts, Health and Sciences, Community Activism, Human Rights, Business and Technology, Motherhood, Innovation, Education and Finance. Many of the nominees not only have made a significant contribution to their profession, but they also impart their knowledge and skills to the next generation either by mentoring, or by working for the inclusion and retention of women in their field.

The award is named after the Roman Goddess, Minerva, who graces the State Seal of California.

In 2007, Shriver expanded the awards to extend beyond California to honor a woman who has positively impacted the U.S. and world by honoring Eunice Kennedy Shriver, Executive Vice President of the Joseph P. Kennedy, Jr. Foundation and Founder and Honorary Chair of Special Olympics International.

The achievements of Minerva Award winners are chronicled in a permanent exhibit at The California Museum for History, Women and the Arts in Sacramento and have become part of California's official archive.

Year Minerva Award Recipients
  • Carolyn Blashek, founder of Operation Gratitude which send toiletries and other much-needed supplies to soldiers overseas.
  • Oral Lee Brown, businesswoman and founder of the Oral Lee Brown Foundation in Oakland, California.
  • Sister Terry Dodge, executive director of Crossroads Inc., an eight-bed transitional living facility in Claremont, Calif., that offers a six-month program for women just released from prison.
  • Jane Goodall, author, world renowned primatologist and environmentalist and founder of The Gombe Stream Research Centre.
  • Agnes Stevens, retired school teacher and founder of School on Wheels a one-on-one caravan tutoring homeless children.
  • Dr. Kathy Hull, founder of the George Mark Children's House in San Leandro, California, the first freestanding residential pediatric palliative care center in the United States.
  • Helen Waukazoo, co-Founder of the American Indian Friendship House for rehabilitation and sober living.
  • Betty Chinn, has been showing the homeless who live in her hometown of Eureka love, comfort and basic humanity daily, for over 20 years.
  • Billie Jean King, professional tennis player and champion of the 1973 Battle of the Sexes match, and founder of The Women's Sports Foundation.
  • Gloria Steinem, Women's Rights Advocate, Writer, Organizer, and Co-founder, Women's Media Center.
  • Ivelise Markovits, founder of Penny Lane, offering help and hope to abandoned, neglected and abused children.
  • Louise Hay, author, self-help pioneer, and counselor who first gained national prominence during the AIDS epidemic.
  • The Honorable Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the House of Representatives
  • "Sweet" Alice Harris, Founder and Executive Director of Parents of Watts
  • Maureen Pennington, Senior Nurse, Director Medical Services, Naval Medical Center San Diego
  • Christy Porter, Founder and Executive Director of Hidden Harvest in the Coachella Valley of California
  • Eunice Kennedy Shriver, Executive Vice President of the Joseph P. Kennedy, Jr. Foundation and Founder and Honorary Chair of Special Olympics International
  • Jane Alexander, Co-founder of Citizens Against Homicide
  • Sandra Orozco Stapleton, Ramona Delgado and Jennie Hernandez Gin, founder of Women Escaping A Violent Environment (WEAVE)
  • Marilyn Hamilton, Designer of the "Quickie" wheelchair and founder of "Winners on Wheels" youth program

Lifetime Achievement Minerva Award recipient:

  • Dr. Sally Ride, Astronaut, Scientist and Writer
  • Anita L. DeFrantz, former Olympic medalist in rowing, Vice President of the 1984 Los Angeles Games Organizing Committee and the first American female and African-American to serve on the International Olympic Committee
  • Sister Jennie Lechtenberg, SNJM, Executive Director, PUENTE Learning Center
  • Janice Mirikitani, author and partner of Glide Memorial Church

Lifetime Achievement Minerva Award recipient:

  • Betty Ford, thirty years of service raising awareness around breast cancer and addiction
  • Helene Brown, "political oncologist" and advocate for cancer research and prevention
  • Ana Deutsch, co-founder and clinical director of the Los Angeles-based Program for Torture Victims
  • Mimi Silbert, founder and president of the Delancey Street Foundation
  • Lula Washington, founder and artistic director of the Lula Washington Contemporary Dance Foundation (LWCDF)

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Maria Shriver - Career - First Lady of California
... In 2004, Shriver created The Minerva Awards to honor and reward "remarkable California women" who have changed their communities, their state, their country ... The Minerva Awards are named after Minerva, the Roman goddess who adorns the California State Seal and "who symbolizes the dual nature of women as warriors and peacemakers" ... The Minerva Awards are presented annually at The Women's Conference in Long Beach during a special ceremony ...