The Lehrer Prize for Community Well-Being
December 2020. Virtual
Empire was honored to be selected by New York Public Radio (NYPR) to produce a series of three virtual events to support NYPR’s programming. For the first event, Empire collaborated with NYPR to produce the inaugural Lehrer Prize for Community Well-Being, which was established in honor of Peabody Award-winning host Brian Lehrer for his 30th anniversary on-air with WNYC.
The Lehrer Prize aims to recognize a standout idea, individual, effort or group that contributed meaningfully to improving the quality of life in the New York City region. During the program, Mr. Lehrer featured three award nominees, each with their remarkable story told through a mini-documentary video followed by a live conversation with Mr. Lehrer through Zoom. The 2020 award nominees included Allison James-Frison, Founder of Girls; Live, Love, Laugh, Inc. which helps girls ages 6 to 16 in the Newark area achieve sustainable health and happiness early on in their lives; Pedro Rodriguez, Executive Director of La Jornada, a food pantry in Queens which scaled up during the pandemic despite the risks to feed 10,000 families per month; and the winner of the Lehrer Prize, Heather Butts, Co-Founder and Executive Director of H.E.A.L.T.H. for Youths, whose attention is on the imperative need for wholistic approaches to healthy living, especially focused on young adults 18-21 who’ve grown out of foster care, public schools, and other support systems.
The program was emceed by WQXR host Terrance McKnight and included a special conversation with chef & humanitarian José Andrés, Founder of World Central Kitchen; remarks from Goli Sheikholeslami, President and CEO of New York Public Radio; a musical performance by Violinist Kelly Hall-Tompkins, President and Founder of Music Kitchen, with Pianist Donna Weng Friedman; and an upbeat “Thank You” montage comprised of video submissions featuring the many faces of show hosts from sister stations WNYC and WQXR radio.
Empire collaborated with NYPR on the production of the program, and scripted and produced the mini-documentary videos highlighting the work of the three award nominees. The mix of pre-recorded and live segments was streamed through NYPR’s studio The Greene Space to a Lehrer Prize event page, designed and built by Empire for the virtual event and hosted on the New York Public Radio website.
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