Why the Fairness Award

GFI began with one core goal: to make our global economy work for everyone. A decade later we are proud to be an organization that has steadily built a track record of success through innovative programs that reduce poverty, enfranchise informal communities, and advance human rights and livelihoods. We look forward to hosting the 2016 Fairness Award and seventh award ceremony, this fall at the Howard Theater in Washington, DC.

The Fairness Award ceremony honors exceptional leaders whose work and life have opened opportunity and access for poor and marginalized communities. By honoring these outstanding individuals, GFI hopes to inspire a new generation of leaders to dedicate themselves to economic justice, fairness, and equality.

About the Award

Launched in 2010 at the Kennedy Center Opera House, the Fairness Award brought together an audience of more than 2,000 invited guests including members of the Cabinet and Congressional leaders, Ambassadors and media personalities, luminaries and thought leaders all joined together to celebrate partnership and honor leadership.

The Global Fairness Initiative is a not- for-profit international organization that promotes a more equitable, sustainable approach to economic development, ensuring that benefits and prosperity are extended to all people, including the working poor. Our work throughout the world helps create economic opportunity and security for the world’s poorest workers in Africa, Asia, and Latin America. The event and its proceeds go directly to support our collaborative and innovative programs that change lives and the way charitable work is done by giving nations and local people ownership of their success.

Each year the Global Fairness Initiative selects multiple honorees, at least one from the grass-tops who has enabled and supported marginalized communities and at least one from the grassroots who has led communities in building a stronger voice and finding a place in our global community. Together, these honorees highlight the power of bringing together top-down opportunity and bottom-up leadership to drive change. Join us in a celebration of what's possible when the hand reaching down meets the one reaching up.

The Fairness Award is now held at the historic Howard Theater, located at 620 T Street, NW, Washington, DC 20001.


In November of 2010, the first Fairness Award brought together a diverse audience, including Washington elite from the Cabinet, Congress, and the diplomatic corps, as well as local leaders, community and NGO activists, and dignitaries from around the globe.

At the first annual Fairness Award, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton presented the Fairness Award to Ms. Ela Bhatt, Founder of the Self Employed Women’s Association (SEWA) of India, a group of 1.5 million poor women in India united in their struggle for empowerment. Together, these first honorees set a precedent for bringing together top-down opportunity and bottom-up leadership that can improve the lives of millions of working families around the globe.

The Fairness Award is a chance to be part of something truly different in DC, a ceremony full of entertainment and a celebration of what’s possible when the hand reaching down meets the one grasping up. In 2010, the event drew over 2,000 people to the Kennedy Center Opera House in its inaugural year. In 2011, the Fairness Award honored President Jose Maria Figueres and Ms. Albina Ruiz at the historic Lincoln Theatre in front of 1600 friends and supporters. In 2012, the Fairness Award moved to a sold out historic Howard Theatre to honor Malawian President Joyce Banda, U.S. Ambassador-at-Large for Global Women’s Issues Melanne Verveer, and Lucy Kanu, a Nigerian social entrepreneur and innovator who has helped build innovative private-public partnerships to serve Nigeria’s underserved and under-represented communities.

Highlights form the 2015 Fairness Award

Highlights form the 2014 Fairness Award

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