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Humanitarian Award

NYU Martin Luther King, Jr. Humanitarian Award The NYU Martin Luther King, Jr. Humanitarian Award is presented annually to a humanitarian within the NYU community who embodies and exemplifies the characteristics promoted by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. -- "a vision of peace, persistence in purpose, and inspirational action." The recipient must be an NYU alumnus or alumna, or a current NYU faculty or staff member. 


2016 Award Recipient

Jennifer Jones Austin, Esq.

Jennifer Jones Austin is the Chief Executive Officer and Executive Director of the Federation of Protestant Welfare Agencies (FPWA), a prominent New York City anti-poverty, policy and advocacy organization with 200 member human services agencies operating throughout New York City.

Prior to joining FPWA, Ms. Jones Austin served as Senior Vice President of United Way of New York City. There, she developed United Way’s "Program to Policy" business model, which resulted in community level and systems improvements in education economic stability, and hunger prevention and nutrition.

Ms. Jones Austin was appointed New York City's first Family Services Coordinator by Mayor Bloomberg. She also served as Deputy Commissioner for the Administration for Children's Services, Civil Rights Deputy Bureau Chief for Attorney General Eliot Spitzer, and Vice President for LearnNow/Edison Schools.

Ms. Jones Austin has chaired several influential boards and commissions. Mayor de Blasio appointed her the Co-Chair of his mayoral transition in 2013, lead of his UPK Workgroup responsible for designing the City’s full day universal pre-kindergarten plan, a leader of his Jobs for New Yorkers Task Force, and Co-Chair of the Department of Education Capacity Framework Advisory. She is a member of the Mayor's Clergy Advisory Council and the NYC City Council Speaker's Young Women's Initiative Steering Committee. Ms. Jones Austin was appointed to the NYC Board of Correction and the PlaNYC Advisory Board in 2014. She also serves on the boards of The National Marrow Donor Program, The New York Blood Center, the Fund for Public Housing, and the Human Services Council. Previous Board service includes co-chairing the New York State Supermarket Commission and chairing the Bethany Child Development Center Advisory Council.

Jennifer Jones Austin earned her law degree from Fordham University, a Masters in Management and Policy from the NYU Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service, and a Bachelor's degree from Rutgers University.  

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