In addition to being the subject of an in-depth three-part consideration on NPR earlier this year, Stevens was, over a decade ago, honored as the Scene's 2000 Nashvillian of the Year, a distinction perhaps outshone a bit by this well-deserved presidential recognition.
Full press release follows.
BECCA STEVENS RECOGNIZED AS A WHITE HOUSE “CHAMPION OF CHANGE”
The work of Magdalene/Thistle Farms founder to be highlighted at upcoming White House event.
October 17 - Nashville, TN —— In honor of Domestic Violence Awareness Month, the White House’s Office of Public Engagement has selected The Rev. Becca Stevens as one of 15 “Champions of Change” to be highlighted at a White House event this coming week. Stevens founded the residential community, Magdalene, in 1997 and the social enterprise, Thistle Farms, in 2001, to serve women who have survived prostitution, addiction and abuse.
The Champions of Change program was created as a part of President Obama’s Winning the Future initiative. From fighting AIDS, to suicide prevention, the initiative highlights Americans who are influencing others, who have taken leadership in driving societal shifts and are making an impact in their communities and beyond. The Champions of Change event recognizing Stevens and 14 other individuals working to end domestic violence will be held on Thursday, October 20th, 2011 at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building in Washington D.C.
Says Stevens, “I believe this recognition is in honor of Magdalene’s witness for the past 15 years to the truth that love is the most powerful force for change in the world. I want to help change this culture that still buys and sells women and holds on to the notion that prostitution is a victimless crime. All of us at Magdalene stand in solidarity with women who are recovering from violence, prostitution and addiction and life on the streets. ” The Magdalene program is unique for serving women for two years at no cost to residents, maintains no staff in its residential homes, takes no government funding and has a 72% success rate of women leading healthy, sober lives two and a half years after entering the program. The program is drawing hundreds of individuals and groups from across the country that are interested in learning more about the model.
Becca Stevens is an Episcopal priest, social entrepreneur, speaker and author of eight books. In addition to being the founder of Magdalene/Thistle Farms, Becca serves as Episcopal chaplain at Vanderbilt University. To date, Becca has raised over $13 million and gained nationwide press coverage for the organizations she supports. In addition to receiving awards from the Frist Foundation and the Academy of Women in Achievement, Becca was named "Nashvillian of the Year" and "Tennessean of the Year" by the Nashville Scene and The Tennessean respectively. In 2010, Becca became the youngest and first female recipient of the University of the South’s “Distinguished Alumnus” award. Becca lives in Nashville with her husband, Grammy-winning songwriter Marcus Hummon, and their three sons.