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Each year, the foundation presents the Morton E. Ruderman Award in Inclusion to one individual who has made an extraordinary contribution to the inclusion of people with disabilities. The Award was named after Mort Ruderman, the founder of the Ruderman Family Foundation. He was a successful entrepreneur, mentor and proud family man who saw his success as the result of help he received from others and was therefore passionate about providing opportunities for others.
The 2014 recipient of the Award was Dr. Michael Stein, Visiting Professor at Harvard Law School. The 2015 recipient was Ari Ne’eman, President and co-founder of the Autistic Self Advocacy Network and an advisor to the White House. The 2016 recipient was Senator Tom Harkin, former U.S. Senator and proponent of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and ADA Amendments Act. The 2017 recipient was Marlee Matlin, Academy Award winner and long-time inclusion proponent in Hollywood and beyond. Our 2018 recipient is Michael Phelps, the most decorated swimmer of all times, in recognition of his advocacy for people with disabilities and the sharing of his own journey with mental health. The Ruderman Family Foundation honored acclaimed filmmakers Peter Farrelly and Bobby Farrelly with the 2019 Morton E. Ruderman Award in Inclusion, in recognition of their advocacy for the inclusive and authentic representation of people with disabilities in the entertainment industry. The 2020 Morton E. Ruderman Award in Inclusion is being given to Taraji P. Henson. The Academy Award nominated and Golden Globe winning actress has been outspoken about her personal experience with mental illness and launched the Boris Lawrence Henson Foundation to address stigma surrounding mental health in the African American community.