INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. — The Mitch Daniels Leadership Foundation awarded educator Earl Martin Phalen as its first recipient of a $50,000 grant and Tim Solso, retired chairman and CEO of Cummins, Inc., as the inaugural recipient of the Daniels Prize at an awards dinner at the J.W. Marriott in Downtown Indianapolis on Thursday, Oct. 24, 2013.
Beginning this year and occurring biennially, the Mitch Daniels Leadership Foundation will award a Daniels Prize to one Indiana leader and a grant of at least $50,000 to a person or organization that is doing work that can markedly advance the state. The Foundation is created in honor and affirmation of the service of Mitch Daniels as Indiana’s 49th governor. The purpose of the Foundation is to encourage leadership that refuses to accept the status quo as good enough, constantly aims higher, and executes courageously resulting in lifting the arc of progress in Indiana, according to a press release from the foundation.
The Mitch Daniels Leadership Foundation announced earlier that Tim Solso, retired chairman and CEO of Cummins, Inc. would receive the inaugural Daniels Prize for which a bronze custom-made sculpture commemorates the honor. Solso then selected Phalen to receive the grant.
Phalen is the CEO and founder of the nationally-renowned Summer Advantage USA and Reach Out and Read programs and is also the founder of the Phalen Academy charter school in Indianapolis. Phalen knows firsthand how a child can succeed thanks to the limitless opportunities of education, says the release.
Born in 1967, Phalen was abandoned at birth and quickly adopted into a large Irish Catholic family. Phalen’s parents, George and Veronica Phalen, raised him and their seven other children in a loving environment with exacting standards and high expectations for scholastic and extracurricular achievements. Phalen knew from an early age that exciting learning opportunities could not survive and thrive in empty classrooms or without parental involvement and the diligent assistance from caring communities, states the release.
Phalen would go on to graduate from Yale University and Harvard Law School, where in 1993 he co-founded BELL (Building Educated Leaders for Life), a program that began as a local community service project and became a national multi-million dollar non-profit. This experience helped him understand that collaborating with parents, educators and community leaders and developing and implementing a revolutionary model for educating children could change the course of a child’s life, says the release.
In 2009, with the support of the Indianapolis-based The Mind Trust, Phalen launched Summer Advantage USA, an organization geared toward keeping the summer learning loss at bay. This program works with schools in Indiana and throughout the country to increase student achievement through rigorous academic instruction, enrichment classes, mentoring activities and physical fitness.
“I first met Earl when Cummins became a supporter and sponsor of his Summer Advantage program in Indiana,” said Tim Solso, recipient of the first Mitch Daniels Leadership Prize. “As a bright and tireless trailblazer who has improved the lives of countless children in Indiana and nationally, as a mentor to young entrepreneurs, as a leader whose efforts have been honored by President Clinton and whose advice is sought by President Obama, I recognize that he humbly emulates the leadership and aspirational mindset of Governor Daniels and I am honored to designate Earl as the recipient of the Daniels Prize $50,000 cash award.”
“This award means so much because it carries the name of a man leads with passion and vision,” said Phalen. “Mr. Daniels has proven that leadership requires courage and the strength to blaze new paths because helping others find their way is always worth the effort.”
In September, the Mitch Daniels Leadership Foundation announced that Solso would receive the inaugural Daniels Prize.
Under Solso’s leadership, Cummins experienced record growth; became a Fortune 250 company that designs, produces and sells diesel engines, power generation equipment and related components worldwide; and became a global product provider to more than 190 countries and territories. His support of robust diversity in the workplace also sparked progress among Cummins’ customers and suppliers, says the release.
His leadership ensured that employment opportunities were accessible to all citizens. He opened worldwide markets for Indiana businesses, doubled Cummins’ revenue, and tripled its international business sales. Because of his bold guidance, even Cummins’ suppliers enjoyed employment growth and new economic opportunities. He worked tirelessly to lead Cummins to prominence and success and the significance of his achievements have helped solidify Indiana’s place on the world stage, states the release.
A jury of eight of the most respected men and women in Indiana selected Solso because he represents the Daniels mindset of leadership that improved the arc of progress in Indiana. Retired Chief Justice of the Indiana Supreme Court, Randall Shepard, is chairman of the Daniels’ Prize Jury. Serving with Shepard are former U.S. Representative Lee Hamilton; Reverend John I. Jenkins, C.S.C., President of Notre Dame; Clark Kellogg, CBS Sports broadcaster and former player for the Indiana Pacers; former Indiana Governor Joe Kernan; Martha Lamkin, civic leader and former CEO of Lumina Foundation; former U.S. Senator Richard Lugar; and Pat Miller, civic leader and founder of Vera Bradley.
For more information about the Mitch Daniels Leadership Foundation, the legacy of leadership provided by Mitch Daniels, and for biographies of Solso and Phalen, visit www.mitchdanielsleadershipfoundation.org.
SOURCE: The Mitch Daniels Leadership Foundation press release