The award is given each year to the individual or organization that best informs students and the general public of the value and strength of our form of government through, but not limited to:
- Supporting NCSL’s Legislators Back to School program
- Promoting civic engagement and education through legislative activities
- Encouraging internships and fellowships in state and local government
- Developing educational materials or curricula on the role of state and local legislatures to further public understanding of representative democracy.
Eligible recipients include lawmakers, legislative staff, chambers or entire legislatures, individuals or organizations.* The recipient is selected by a seven-person committee of legislators, former NCSL presidents and legislative staff. The award was presented at NCSL's Legislative Summit August 2014 in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Kevin B. Harrington of Salem, Mass., was the founding president of the National Conference of State Legislatures in 1975. He was an educator by profession and, as president of the Massachusetts Senate (1971-1978), organized the Legislative Education Office, which is responsible for training for State House interns, the Citizens Legislative Seminar, and the NCSL Legislators Back to School program in Massachusetts. He was a leading advocate of civic education and of the role of government in promoting education of its citizens. Throughout his career in the Senate and in his public service activities afterward, he was dedicated to improving public understanding of American democracy. More
*Current members of the NCSL Executive Committee are ineligible during the term of office.