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Awards and Honors Bestowed

Honors Bestowed

The Racicot Leadership Award – In 2009, the Leadership Foundation Board of Directors created the Racicot Award to be named for Theresa Racicot, first lady emeritus of Montana for her efforts to turn the Leadership Initiative into the Leadership Foundation in 2006-7.  The Award would be given annually to a sitting First Spouse who had made significant accomplishments in his/her state on underage drinking prevention and contributed time and energy into the Leadership Foundation’s work.  Recipients of the Racicot Award have been:

  1. 2009 – First Lady Mikey Hoeven served as co-chair of the Leadership Foundation Board, started the successful “Let’s Keep Our Kids Alcohol Free” campaign, raised money for her efforts through Applebee’s and a MOMS cookbook, created the “I Choose” CD and served on the Governor’s Prevention Advisory Council on Drugs and Alcohol during her tenure as First Spouse.
  2. 2010 – Wyoming First Lady Nancy Freudenthal utilized her role as First Lady to change the conversation about childhood alcohol use and to support youth groups around Wyoming whose mission was to prevent substance use by children.  Mrs. Freudenthal worked collaboratively with the Wyoming Liquor Division, the Mental Health & Substance Abuse Division of the Wyoming Department of Health, the Wyoming Association of Sheriffs and Chiefs of Police and parents to develop new partnerships and programs on underage drinking prevention.
  3. 2011 – First Lady Sally Ganem of Nebraska worked to create several videos that are still widely used in Nebraska and available to other states that serve as discussion openers.  She also visited countless Nebraska communities to talk on the importance of dealing with childhood drinking. 


The Hope Award – In 2011, the Leadership Board of Directors voted at their 10th Anniversary Annual Meeting to create a recognition program for Emeritus spouses to be named for Hope Taft, first lady emeritus of Ohio and current president of the Foundation.  Patterned after the annual Racicot Leadership Award, the Hope Award recipient is selected from nominations of Leadership members and given to a former governor’s spouse who has stayed involved and committed to the vision of the Leadership Foundation after leaving the Governor’s Residence.  Recipients of the Hope Award have been:

  1. 2010 – Hope Taft, First Lady Emeritus of Ohio (pictured below) who currently serves as the pro bono President/CEO of the Leadership Foundation received the first Hope Award.   Nancy Freudenthal, Chair of the Leadership Foundation presented the first award named in Mrs. Taft’s honor.  Mrs. Taft was a leader in underage drinking prevention in Ohio during her tenure as First Spouse, and a vital player in the Leadership Foundation at the national level.  She provided a Leadership presence on numerous Advisory Boards, gave testimony on many policy initiatives, and prompted bi-partisan conversations and collaborations on issues pertinent to the prevention of underage drinking.
  2. 2011 – Karen Baldacci, First Lady Emeritus of Maine received the 2011 Hope Award, given to deserving emeritus spouses who have shown exceptional leadership after leaving the Governor’s Residence.  Karen has led the recruiting effort, and stayed on as chair of the Leadership Foundation beyond the normal term.  She also has represented the Leadership Foundation at national conferences. 

Hope Taft, First Lady Emeritus of Ohio