Yale senior wins Jefferson Award for being a 'globechanger'

Yale senior Jourdan Urbach is one of four individuals under the age of 25 who have been awarded 2012 Jefferson Awards for “Outstanding Service by a Globechanger.”

Urbach, a virtuoso violinist and composer, was honored as the founder and director of two non-profit organizations that raise funds to fight children’s neurological disease and fund research: Children Helping Children and Concerts for a Cure. He is also the founder and director of the International Coalition of College Philanthropists. Through fundraising concerts, he has raised $4.8 million, money that has funded 12 life-saving neurosurgeries, 1,000 cochlear implants to indigent children, pediatric clinics in Africa, and the largest music therapy program in the country at the University of Michigan’s Mott Children’s Hospital, which serves 5,000 inpatients a year.

The Jefferson Awards are known as the “Nobel Prize for public service.” They recognize individuals and companies “whose profound achievements and commitment to their communities are making the world a better place.”

The other award winners in the under age 25 category include sisters Rachel and Kelsi Okun of Virginia, the co-founders of ThanksUSA, an organization that holds national fundraising treasure hunts based on American history and values, to fund scholarships for the children of U.S. veterans; and Charles Orgbon III of Georgia, founder and CEO of Greening Forward, which encourages, engages, and empowers people to establish Earth Savers Clubs at schools, workplaces, and within communities to address environmental problems.

“This year’s Jefferson Award recipients have made real and lasting differences in the lives of countless people,” says Sam Beard, who with Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis and U.S. Senator Robert Taft Jr. founded the Jefferson Awards, now in their 40th year. “Their remarkable contributions — in fundraising, activism, community service, and the arts — nobly reflect one of the founding qualities of our republic: a commitment to help one another and serve the greater good. The Jefferson Awards is proud to bestow on them this fitting tribute in recognition of the breadth and scope of their extraordinary achievements.”

Urbach and the other award recipients (see here for a full list of honorees) were celebrated at a national ceremony at the Pierre Hotel in New York City on March 6.

The Yale senior was featured in 2010 article in YaleNews, found here. More information about Urbach can also be found here.