Everyday heroes in your community serving as an inspiration to the people whose lives they touch — this is the heart and soul of the Essence of Humanity Award.


The Essence of Humanity Award honors those who inspire the best in all of us, through the giving of the award itself and also by elevating the stories of these role models in our communities. The award is presented by participating organizations in collaboration with the Essence of Humanity program’s steering committee, which evaluates the nominations. For more information, contact Robin Stauffer, Executive Director, at 717-293-4498 or RStauffer@high.net.

Award criteria

The Essence of Humanity Award is presented to

1. Individuals who have overcome challenges through adversity or obstacles involving economic hardship, physical disabilities, physical and/or mental illness, etc.


2. Caregivers who have exhibited the values we seek to recognize in delivering special care for those individuals described in item 1 above. These individuals may be a parent, extended family member, coach, teacher, mentor, guidance counselor, neighbor, benefactor, etc.

The selection of the Award winner in each of the categories above will be made by a Steering Committee in the local area, based on the criteria cited. Each nomination will be considered on its own merit and in relation to other nominations submitted.

Values we seek to recognize

The values this program has established as those it seeks to recognize include, but are not limited to:

  • Courage
  • Love
  • Strength
  • Determination
  • Encouragement
  • Integrity
  • Inspiration
  • Persistence
  • Support
  • Gratitude
  • Optimism
  • Faith
  • Hope
Supporting the Essence of Humanity Award

If you are interested in supporting the Essence of Humanity Award program with a tax-deductible donation, we thank you in advance for your generosity. Your donation may be sent to:

Essence of Humanity Award
c/o Ms. Robin D. Stauffer
Executive Director
P. O. Box 10008
Lancaster, Pennsylvania 17605-0008


Program Organization
Governing Board

Michael Newsome, Chair
Senior V.P. and Controller
The Wolf Organization, Inc.

Laura Duran
Founder / Principal PR consultant
Laura Duran & Associates LLC

John Morefield
Morefield Communications, Inc.

Craig J. Schwartz
Vice President
M&T Bank

Joan Paxton
Tri-Starr Services of Pa., Inc.

Susan Eckert
United Way of Lancaster County

Christy S. Renjilian
Senior Director of Community Initiatives
United Way of York County

Robin Stauffer, Executive Director
Corporate Secretary
The High Companies

S. Dale High
The High Companies

Alicia Richards
WHTM abc27

Steering Committees

Harrisburg Area Steering Committee

Craig J. Schwartz, Chair
Marion C. Alexander, Vice-Chair
John Arnold
E. Garrett “Garry” Brinton
Joseph M. Capita
Kirk Hallett
Shelly S. Karsnitz
Heidi Neuhaus
Beth A. Peiffer
David B. Skerpon

Lancaster Steering Committee

Robin Stauffer, Chair
Larry Brown
Michele Criste
Susan Eckert
Thomas Ryan
James Shreiner

York County Steering Committee

Christy J. Renjilian, Chair
Robert Woods
Polly Rost
Richard Hershey
Henry Christ
Sean Kenny
Michael Newsome
Richard Wagman

Recognizing Organizations in the Capital Region


Big Brothers Big Sisters of Lancaster
Crispus Attucks Community Center
Spanish American Civic Association
School District of Lancaster
United Disabilities Services


Bell Socialization Services, Inc.
National Alliance on Mental Illness
Lutheran Social Services
Visiting Nurse Association of Hanover and Spring Grove
Volunteer Center


Volunteer Center
Harrisburg School District
Central PA Food Bank
Catholic Charities