The Forrest Church Award for Humanitarian Service, given annually by the Heart & Soul Fund for leadership in helping the less fortunate, again went to a individual with notable Irish connections.  President Bill Clinton was honored with inaugural award last year and the 2010 award went to former president of Ireland, Mary Robinson.

A dynamic world leader who has spent her career advancing human rights, inclusion and ethical globalization, Robinson is a 2009 recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom, former United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, and served as the President of Ireland from 1990 to 1997. 

Robinson received the award at a gala event at the Down Town Association in New York City last month, and delivered a riveting acceptance speech, according to event organizer Marilyn Collins.

“She described the kind of neighborhood outreach which the Heart & Soul Charitable Fund has supported for over 21 years as the fundamental element of global human rights,” Collins said.  “She explained that her focus has expanded from global human rights to global warming and climate justice. She drew the connection from climate justice, back to global human rights and back to the neighborhood.”

Forrest Church, who died in September of 2009, was a leading Unitarian minister, author, and theologian with a long association with the Unitarian Church of All Souls in New York City. Nancy Northup, President of the Center for Reproductive Rights, and Nina Church Adams, daughter of Forrest Church, presented the award to Ms. Robinson.