University Teams with Foundation to Give Away $1,000,000

Jan 27, 2011, 15:59 ET from Loyola Marymount University

$1 Million to Go to Unsung Charity Helping World's Poorest

LOS ANGELES, Jan. 27, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Loyola Marymount University will serve as the university partner and host for the Opus Prize, a $1 million, faith-based award given annually to recognize humanitarian heroes of any faith tradition, anywhere in the world, who are solving persistent social problems in their communities. 

The 2011 winner will be announced in November at a public ceremony hosted by LMU on its campus in Westchester.

The Opus Prize identifies and honors organizations that are unsung, yet are providing exceptional and unique responses to difficult social problems such as poverty, illiteracy, hunger, disease and injustice in the world's poorest communities. Beyond supporting the humanitarian efforts, the Opus Prize also seeks to inspire people to pursue service to others.

David W. Burcham, LMU president, will chair the 10-member jury, which will meet Jan. 31 at LMU. The other jurors for the 2011 award are: Salam Al-Marayati, president, Muslim Public Affairs Council; R. Chad Dreier, chairman of LMU Board of Trustees; Antonia Hernandez, president and CEO, California Community Foundation; Steve Hilton, president and CEO, Hilton Foundation; J.D. Hokoyama, president and CEO, Leadership Education for Asian Pacifics; Joshua Holo, dean and associate professor, Hebrew Union College; Dolores Huerta, president, Dolores Huerta Foundation and co-founder, United Farm Workers of America; Cardinal Roger Mahony of Los Angeles; and Constance L. Rice, co-director, Advancement Project.

The Opus Prize Foundation, a private philanthropic organization, funds the Opus Prize.  Each year, the foundation selects a Catholic university and partners with it to select nominees, finalists, and then a winner of the $1 million prize, as well as a runner-up organization, which receives $100,000.  The process involves faculty and students in site visits and assessments of the nominees and is explicitly intended to be a learning experience that asks members of the university community to think globally about social justice.

The Opus Prize Foundation awarded its first prize in 2004 as a tangible way to support people who are committed to transforming the lives of others and to inspire the next generation's involvement in humanitarian and social work careers. The foundation supports the idea that its funds are best used by entrepreneurial organizations that, while nurturing the disadvantaged, teach them to fish, rather than just providing them with food.

The Opus Prize provides a single infusion of funds to advance the winner's work to a new level of impact, provide greater visibility and attract other supporters.

The 2010 winners were Sister Betrice Chipeta, who runs an orphanage in Karonga, Malawi, and John Halligan, S.J., who operates a center for the poor in Quito, Ecuador. Chipeta provides food distribution, infant formula, childcare and a food-growing program for the community. Halligan began by ministering to shoeshine boys but now provides food, shelter and health care, as well as job training and a home construction cooperative to Quito's poorest families.

Prior university partners include Fordham University, University of St. Thomas, Seattle University, Catholic University of America, University of Notre Dame, Marquette University and the University of San Francisco.

The Opus Prize Foundation does not accept unsolicited nominations. For more information, visit

About Loyola Marymount University

Located between the Pacific Ocean and downtown Los Angeles, Loyola Marymount University is a comprehensive university offering 56 major programs, 38 master's degrees and a doctoral degree in education from four colleges, two schools and Loyola Law School. Founded in 1911, LMU is ranked third in "Best Regional Universities West" by U.S. News & World Report. LMU is one of the largest Catholic institutions of higher education on the West Coast with nearly 5,700 undergraduate students and more than 3,000 graduate and law students. For more LMU news and events,

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