The Joe W. and Dorothy Dorsett Brown Foundation Excellence Award

Excellence Award Nomination Information

The Joe W. and Dorothy Dorsett Brown Foundation launched an exciting program in 2019 where we seek to recognize and honor those individuals that have far exceeded reasonable expectations in furthering a charitable purpose consistently over the course of many years.  The Excellence Award is issued to those individuals who are pillars of their community, lead by example, make a measurable impact, and have establish or operate a charity at an elite level.  Winners of our Excellence Award have shown such dedication, perseverance, and sophistication in running their charity that they have become synonymous with the organization they lead.  Winners of this award receive a plaque and the qualified charity or research center they are most closely affiliated with receives a $10,000 in general support grant to further their mission.  We envision issuing four (4) excellence awards per year. 

To qualify to win an Excellence Award, a person must either be a founder, employee, or volunteer of a generally well regarded and qualified exempt organization.  A person must be living to be considered for an Excellence Award. We will not issue an award posthumously.  Though this award is primarily designated for individuals who are charitably active in Louisiana, we will under some circumstances consider individuals active along the gulf coast.

If you know of an individual who you believe should be considered to receive an Excellence Award, you are welcome to nominate them for our consideration.  There is no strict deadline for when you should send in this information and we will keep all recommendations on file for five years.  You can send your recommendation to us through USPS Mail (we will not consider a recommendation through email and may not open or see the email). You should identify the person you are recommending by their full name, provide their mailing address if you know it, and identify the exempt organization they are affiliated with while providing a summary on why you believe they should be considered (this summary should not exceed three pages).

Privacy Policy: All information gathered will be limited to the purposes of this award. The Joe W. and Dorothy Dorsett Brown Foundation does not provide any personal information to outside organizations or entities. For more information on this policy, please contact us.


Previous Award Winners

Artie Carhee Kickman, Ministry Director of Soul Soup at Grace Church of DeRidder, Louisiana
The Hope Against Hunger Award issued December 2020

The Joe W. & Dorothy Dorsett Brown Foundation continued the matriculation of its Excellence Award program in 2020 and divided up the excellence awards into multiple categories.  One of these categories – The Hope Against Hunger Award – was issued in December of 2020 to Beauregard Parish’s own Artie Carhee Hickman for her dedication to the development of Soul Soup.  Soul Soup, which also won the Greater Beauregard Chamber of Commerce’s Non-Profit of the Year designation earlier in 2020, received a $10,000 award from the Foundation as part of the award.  Soul Soup is an outreach ministry that provides dinner, everyday, free of charge to help those in the community who are experiencing financial burdens, low or fixed incomes or no incomes, no questions asked. Soul Soup enjoyed its tenth year anniversary in 2020 and has established dozens of partnerships throughout south-west Louisiana to further its mission under the tireless leadership and dedication of Artie Carhee Hickman. For more information, visit:



Kristi Trail, Executive Director at Ponchartrain Conservancy
Environmental Impact Award issued December 2020

In December of 2020, the Joe W. & Dorothy Dorsett Brown Foundation awarded Pontchartrain Conservancy Executive Director Kristi Trail with the inaugural Environmental Impact Award and issued a $10,000 grant to the Pontchartrain Conservancy. The funds will enable Pontchartrain Conservancy - a leader in coastal sustainability, water quality and environmental education for more than three decades - to continue its mission of driving environmental sustainability and stewardship through scientific research, education and advocacy.  “I’m humbled and deeply honored to be the inaugural recipient of the Brown Foundation’s Environmental Impact Award,” said Trail. “As our region faces increasing environmental threats and challenges, we greatly appreciate the Foundation’s support of Pontchartrain Conservancy’s programs, which have never been as vital to Louisiana — and to the nation — as they are today.” For more information, visit:



Ouachita Parish Sheriff’s Department
40th Judicial District Attorney’s Office of St. John the Baptist Parish
Louisiana Leaders in Law Enforcement Awards issued September 2020

The Community Foundation of Acadiana hosted the inaugural Louisiana Leaders in Law Enforcement Awards on Thursday, September 10, 2020 in Lafayette, Louisiana at River Ranch. This is a project envisioned and fully funded by the Brown Foundation under our Excellent Award Program and implemented and operated by the Community Foundation of Acadiana.  The awards, underwritten by us and presented by The Community Foundation of Acadiana, aim to bolster morale, increase respect for public service, acknowledge improvements in operations, and encourage extraordinary performance among Louisiana’s sheriff’s departments and district attorney’s offices. We wish to honor those departments who are making the most positive impacts in their communities. This year’s two recipients each received a $25,000 award to be used at their discretion to improve operations and continue to encourage extraordinary performance. Can you think of a deserving sheriff’s department or district attorney’s office in Louisiana? Let them know about this opportunity! The application process is made available by the Community Foundation of Acadiana. All sheriff’s departments and district attorney’s offices from around the state are invited and encouraged to apply. For more award information, visit:

First of the two Leaders in Law recipients: Ouachita Parish Sheriff’s Department received $25,000 because of their DMAC Program – Deputies Making A Change. The significantly successful DMAC Program is a mentoring program initiated to address the incarceration and school dropout rate among vulnerable male youth aged 9-18 in Ouachita Parish. This sheriff’s department is showing young men how to change their lives and create success for themselves. For more program information, visit:

The Second Leader in Law recipient: The 40th Judicial District Attorney’s Office of St. John the Baptist Parish was recognized and also received a $25,000 award for implementing their impactful Opportunity Now collaboration. Through education and meaningful employment offerings, Opportunity Now serves as a Criminal Justice System diversion program for low-risk, non-violent, first-time offenders by fostering intervention that is accountable to effectuate successful outcomes for individuals getting back on the right path and avoiding a life of crime. District Attorney Bridget A. Dinvaut recognizes that crime prevention, restorative justice and rehabilitation programs are vital to the public safety and future of her community in St. John the Baptist Parish. We are excited to see what is in store for Louisiana Leaders in Law, year two! For more program information, visit:


Charles Johnson, Pastor at Way Maker Ministries
The Human Services Award issued September 2020

On September 8, 2020 The Joe W. and Dorothy Dorsett Brown Foundation issued its first ever Human Services Award to Pastor Charles Johnson of Way Maker Ministries. The Human Services Award is issued to one individual who personifies the displays of leadership, skill, ability and service in an exemplary manner. Throughout the COVID-19 crisis, Pastor Johnson demonstrated he values service to others above his own personal interest, even risking his own health on a day-to-day basis. He fights on the front lines, enabling perseverance for those with little. Since initial efforts commenced in 1990, under Pastor Johnsons leadership and direction, Way Maker Ministries has acquired dozens of certifications and specialized licenses to help those in need and has been one of the more flexible nonprofits in the Greater New Orleans area for disaster relief efforts. Serving as a Louisiana State Certified Emergency Shelter for Women, hundreds of people have sought refuge at Way Maker Ministries over the years while tens of thousands have received meals from the pantry and food services overseen by Pastor Johnson. Way Maker Ministries has run many camps and after school programs for disadvantaged children and even has support groups for children whose parents may be addicted to narcotics. The economic impact Way Maker Ministries has had in the Greater New Orleans community is challenging to measure but readily apparent in the sheer number of people they have helped obtain employment and the tireless efforts to help people reenter society or recover from addiction issues. For more information, visit:



Burton and Denise Stigen at A City of Refuge
Excellence Award issued February 2020

On Tuesday, February 18, 2020 the Joe W. & Dorothy Dorsett Brown Foundation issued an Excellence Award to Burton and Denise Stigen. Mr. Stigen serves as Founder and Director of a Veterans homeless shelter in Southwest Louisiana. In addition to receiving the Excellence Award, the Stigen’s accepted $10,000 in support of this charity they have tirelessly served. Nearly 35 years ago, in 1986, IR-MIKLATO MINISTRIES began. Named after a Hebrew phrase that translates to English as “City of Refuge” a shelter for the scorned homeless veterans of Vietnam was born. A City Of Refuge is a unique facility located in Southwest Louisiana and close to the Southeast Texas border. They are strategically located off US Interstate 10, approximately mid-way between Houston and New Orleans or Los Angeles and Miami. The shelter is for homeless veterans and also, when space was available, other homeless persons who could follow the military-style rules. A meal is always available for any needy and hungry person who might drop in. For Burt and wife Denise, they regard COR as their calling from God. Burt acquired the Shady Rest Motel property on old Hwy 90 in Vinton, LA in 1985 on a lease./purchase arrangement and began allowing homeless Vietnam vets to stay in the old motel rooms shortly thereafter. In 1999, Burt retired from plant work and used his accumulated retirement funds to pay off the mortgage. Improvement of the facility became a high priority in 2005 when Hurricane Rita devastated the old Shady Rest buildings, the property and other portions of the landscape and forced a concentrated redevelopment of the property which continues today.  As an accredited 501(3)c tax exempt organization that relies entirely on private donations – mostly from individuals, church groups, civic groups and veterans organizations. First phase of the master plan for the five acres of land was construction of 10 cabins for housing. Those cabins have largely been completed through the efforts of those COR residents who are able-bodied as well as a variety of organizations, individuals and corporate grants.  In the future, more cabins may be built on a different part of the property which would be designated for veteran families who come to the shelter from time to time. Information about the Facility:  the facility is governed by its Director and Founder and his wife along with their Board of Directors and most importantly God. Currently, they have 13 sitting on the Board, consisting of former military, a retired Colonel, a minister whose two sons are military and their spouses. All rules are adopted by the Board of Directors and while lengthy and precise relatively easy for those who are serious about a change in their life to follow. Many residents arrive by referral, a phone call, the police, hospitals, prisons and even brought by others who have found the person alone, living on the street, walking down the road, in a soup kitchen, at their church, or who just stopped to inquire if they knew somewhere they could go. Some stay for a brief period, and some stay for an extended period of time. There is no time limit, although 7 days is often limited to those who are not Veterans and fail to adhere to the rules or have family members where they can go. No matter what the reason, we believe that no one comes to City of Refuge by accident but by Divine direction. All are treated equal and there is no discrimination.  Because of the need for a larger facility we have been diligently seeking resources to make this a reality and to broaden the scope of what we do to help the Veterans and others. This award recognizes individuals who have given a substantial part of their life to make this world a better place through either founding or leading a charity that has had a longstanding and recognizable impact. For more information on IR-MIKLATO Ministries, A City of Refuge, please visit their website at:


Michael Hecht, President & CEO at Greater New Orleans, Inc.
Community Crisis Leadership Award issued August 2020

On Monday, August 17, 2020 the Joe W. & Dorothy Dorsett Brown Foundation issued the first Community Crisis Leadership Award to Michael Hecht. This specific excellence award is intended to identify and recognize an individual who has guided a community in Louisiana through a crisis with sophistication, reason, calmness, benevolence, and a tireless dedication to pushing through challenges. Mr. Hecht showed great dedication in leading the New Orleans MSA through the ongoing pandemic crisis. Weekly reports throughout 2020 were one of the few places where concise information could be found that was regularly updated with timely, credible, and actionable information that people and businesses needed. A check for $10,000 was issued to GNO, Inc. to further its charitable purpose: Greater New Orleans, Inc. is the regional economic development nonprofit organization serving the 10-parish region of Southeast Louisiana that includes Jefferson, Orleans, Plaquemines, St. Bernard, St. Charles, St. James, St. John the Baptist, St. Tammany, Tangipahoa, and Washington parishes. Their mission is to create a region with a thriving economy and an excellent quality of life, for everyone. The ultimate indication of our success will be the presence of a robust, accessible, and growing middle class in Southeast Louisiana where our children and grandchildren can live and prosper. For more information, visit:



Thomas J. Kennedy, M.D. Vice President at New Orleans Medical Mission Services
Excellence Award issued December 2019        

The Brown Foundation closed its 2019 giving in December with the issuance of an Excellence Award to Thomas J. Kennedy, M.D., Vice President of New Orleans Medical Mission Services (NOMMS). Dr. Kennedy embodies everything that we look for in a candidate for an Excellence Award - Dr. Kennedy is a pillar of the community, has led by example, and has made a measurable impact in operating a charity at a truly elite level. A New Orleans native and retired OBGYN, Dr. Kennedy has gratuitously served on the board of many hospital bodies throughout his professional career, constantly driving more volunteer work from his constituents and peers. NOMMS serves the underprivileged peoples of foreign countries by providing medical expertise, treatment, services, education, equipment, and supplies. They elevate the dignity and self-esteem of recipients and participants through a network of volunteers which includes doctors, nurses, medical and non-medical professionals. NOMMS is active in Louisiana as well as NOMMS coordinates the donations of millions of dollars of valuable supplies for educational use and to help animals in Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama.  In addition to the Excellence Award, New Orleans Medical Missions received a $10,000 grant in Dr. Kennedy’s honor, bringing the Foundations total support for NOMMS to $512,000 since 2006! For more information, visit:



James R. Kelly, Founder and Executive Director at Covenant House New Orleans
Excellence Award issued October 2019

We could not be prouder to issue an Excellence Award to James R. Kelly on October 10, 2019.  Mr. Kelly is an easy selection to receive this award.  He has devoted his life and career to making this world a better place through serving the suffering children of the street. Mr. Kelly founded Covenant House New Orleans in 1987. In 2011, he returned to Covenant House as Executive Director. In the past forty years, Mr. Kelly has worked in ministries that serve the poorest and most vulnerable members of our society. Mr. Kelly is the past Co-President of Catholic Charities of New Orleans. The organization played a major role in the community’s relief, recovery, and rebuilding efforts following Katrina. Mr. Kelly serves on many local Boards of Directors and has testified before numerous Congressional Committees. In addition to the Excellence Award, the Foundation issued a $10,000 grant in Mr. Kelly’s honor to Covenant House, bringing the Foundations total support to Covenent House through year end 2019 to over $650,000. For more information, visit:



Coach Melvin R. Howard, Executive Director at Victories in Service
Excellence Award issued September 2019

During the service learning ceremony, we took the opportunity to present a special award and scholarship in honor of an outstanding partner of the Foundation. Coach Melvin R. Howard of Victories In Service received the second (ever!) Joe W. and Dorothy Dorsett Brown Foundation Excellence Award. The Foundation launched the Excellence Award program earlier in 2019 to recognize individuals who have become synonymous with the mission of the charity they have led for a significant portion of their life.  Coach Melvin is the ideal embodiment of this award as his service to others to make this world a better place through leading Victories in Service has had a recognizable and transformative impact on inner city New Orleans. The Victories in Service program uses sports and sportsmanship to redirect the mindset of underserved youth in the upper and lower ninth wards and throughout inner city New Orleans and strives to encourage children to be dedicated in their work habits and to become productive members of and engaged in society. In honor of Coach receiving our Excellence Award, the Foundation issued the medal of excellence (shown in the photos) and Victories In Service received a $10,000 check in support of its programming. Further, we are honored to have issued a $20,000 scholarship in Coach Melvin’s name to Southern University of New Orleans, where Coach Melvin played baseball.  Great work, coach! For more information, visit their website.



Dan and Jackie Silverman at New Orleans Women and Children's Shelter
Excellence Award issued August 2019

On August 5, 2019 the Joe W. & Dorothy Dorsett Brown Foundation launched the Excellence Award Program. This three year program is designed to recognize individuals who have given a substantial part of their life to make this world a better place through either founding or leading a charity that has had a longstanding and recognizable impact. Winners of this award will receive a framed medal and a grant check for $10,000 made out to the charity they have tirelessly served.   The Foundation is deeply honored to have Dan and Jackie Silverman as the first ever winners of the Excellence Award. Their relentless work from 2006 through the present day at the New Orleans Women and Children shelter is an inspiration to everyone.  To meet the needs of vulnerable people in our community, the New Orleans Women & Children’s Shelter is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and consistently operates at 90% capacity or higher.  Innovation, dedication, perseverance, and sophistication are all words that can describe the management and leadership style of Dan and Jackie.   Dan and Jackie have helped keep families together and give hope to not just those specific families they serve but all of us in this community. For more information on the New Orleans Women and Children Shelter and the relentless efforts of Dan and Jackie, please visit their website at:

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