President George H.W. Bush left a legacy of shaping the United States into “a kinder and gentler nation” in the face of a dramatically changing world. In his Inaugural Address, he used his voice to pledge American strength as “a force for good,” and when he founded Points of Light in 1990, he continued that promise. As his legacy foundation, he envisioned Points of Light as a conduit for doing more good in the world by helping people become deeply involved with and connected to their communities.
Today, through The George H.W. Bush Points of Light Awards, we celebrate our 41st president’s enduring legacy of integrity, empathy, respect, optimism, conviction in the face of opposition, and belief in the power of the human spirit to create positive change. This event honors individuals who demonstrate the transformative power of service, and who are driving significant and sustained impact through their everyday actions and words that light the path for other points of light.
“We can find meaning and reward by serving some higher purpose than ourselves, a shining purpose, the illumination of a thousand points of light… we all have something to give.”
— President George H.W. Bush, founder of Points of Light
These honorees include leaders from various spheres — music, politics, business and grassroots activism — channeling their expertise and passion into arenas of social impact.
Mike & Jacquelyne Love: Philanthropy and Legacy in Harmony
Mike and Jacquelyne Love, each holding their individual renown, have utilized their joint force not only to create music but to shape a legacy rooted in philanthropy. Mike, an integral part of the iconic band The Beach Boys, has channeled the fame and resources garnered over the years towards the uplifting of communities globally — focusing intensely on environmental and educational avenues. Jacquelyne, a force to reckon with in the realms of business and fashion, has joined hands with Mike, injecting fresh vibrancy and commitment towards philanthropic causes, and also touching lives across the world.
Their efforts have seen them at the forefront of critical initiatives, including their involvement in the Thousand Points of Light initiative launched by President George H.W. Bush. They took their commitment further by steering the Points of Light Awards in 2019, leveraging their influence to foster a culture of getting involved. Their sustained focus on education and environmental conservation has garnered them accolades, including the Seven Generations Award presented to Mike by City Year in 2013, signifying a legacy characterized not just by musical genius but by a deep-seated desire to nurture the next generations.
Condoleezza Rice: A Lifetime of Service and Education
Condoleezza Rice, a steady presence in public service and education, boasts a career dotted with numerous high-ranking positions, including serving as the 66th U.S. Secretary of State. She made history, breaking racial and gender barriers to become the first Black woman to occupy such pivotal roles in government. Alongside her political career, Rice has nurtured a strong connection with Stanford University, evolving from a faculty member since 1981 to becoming the provost, to her current role as Director of the Hoover Institution, laying a pathway of dedication to education and public service.
Rice’s intellectual vigor is mirrored in her literary contributions, with a plethora of books and publications to her credit. Her entrepreneurship journey saw her becoming a part-owner of the Denver Broncos, showcasing her multifaceted persona. Beyond the political and business spheres, Rice has been a cornerstone in educational philanthropy, contributing to the upliftment of underserved communities through initiatives like the Center for a New Generation, a beacon for extended learning and after-school programs, representing a lifetime of dedication to fostering knowledge and service.
Robert F. Smith: Business Acumen Meets Generous Philanthropy
Founder, chairman and CEO of Vista Equity Partners, Robert F. Smith stands as a towering figure in both the business and philanthropic spheres. Beyond building a successful business through strategic technology investments, Smith has deeply invested in preserving Black American history, fostering environmental conservation and revolutionizing music education through the Fund II Foundation. His business acumen and philanthropic endeavors have blended to create a legacy of liberating the human spirit through nurturing heritage and education.
His philanthropic journey reached a pivotal moment when he became the first Black American to sign the Giving Pledge, earmarking the majority of his wealth for philanthropic ventures. Smith’s gestures extend to practical empowerment, such as erasing the student loan debt for Morehouse College’s 2019 graduating class and their guardians. This monumental step inspired the inception of Student Freedom Initiative (SFI), which supports students at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and other Minority Serving Institutions (MSIs). Smith’s vision and commitment continue to bridge gaps and foster inclusivity, underscoring a mission to bring about tangible, transformative change in society.
Rebecca & Christyn Taylor: United in Hope and Resilience
Rebecca and Christyn Taylor embody hope and resilience, fueling their dedication to supporting children battling pediatric pancreatitis. Despite Rebecca’s personal health challenges, which involved numerous surgeries and considerable medical treatment, her spirit remained undeterred. Supported by her mother Christyn, Rebecca morphed her suffering into hope, initiating “Rebecca’s Wish,” a nonprofit organization dedicated solely to pediatric pancreatitis, and launching a global movement for change.
The organization has broken ground in fostering research partnerships with global entities and facilitating advancements in medical care. Leveraging the power of storytelling through “Rebecca’s Wish: The Documentary,” they have showcased the courage and determination of young individuals battling the disease. The Taylor duo has infused hope into the community through medical grants, scholarships and awareness campaigns. Their journey stands as a testament to the transformative power of resilience, portraying the spirit of unity and the unyielding determination to foster change in the face of adversity, illuminating the path for many others.
The impact of these honorees resides in President Bush’s legacy of service and that we all have something to give. Every action matters, big or small. We can find meaning and reward by serving some higher purpose than ourselves. Each story –spanning art, politics and health – resonates deeply with a shared commitment to fostering goodwill. The experiences and actions of these individuals remind us of the power of President Bush’s vision for a better world.
We are honored to recognize these individuals at The 2023 George H.W. Bush Points of Light Awards Celebration on October 26, 2023.