Award Winners

The Wilmers Integrity Prize recognizes these individuals for their exceptional achievements and important work in their communities.

2023 Winner

Edafe Okporo

Edafe Okporo is the founder of Refuge America. After migrating to the U.S. in 2016 as an asylum seeker, he helped create the first shelter for asylum seekers in New York City. A global gay rights activist, he founded Refuge America to strengthen America as a welcoming place for displaced LGBTQ people. Working with faith organizations, community members, and local government agencies in various cities, he is committed to helping refugees reconstruct their lives and find security, offering a lifeline to those who have been compelled to escape their homelands due to persecution and other hardships.

2022 Winner

Max Kenner

Max Kenner is the founder and Executive Director of the Bard Prison Initiative. He created BPI in 1999 as an  undergraduate at Bard College. For over 25 years, Kenner has led BPI’s development, currently enrolling over 400 incarcerated students earning Bard College degrees across seven campuses in correctional facilities throughout New York State. Outside prison, BPI has partnered with community institutions to create Bard Microcolleges, tuition-free liberal arts associate degree programs. On Bard’s main campus, BPI has established a community of adult students holding full-tuition scholarships as they complete bachelor’s degrees. BPI has also worked to expand the field through the Consortium for Liberal Arts in Prison, partnering with 16 colleges in 12 states, and created a global community of practice spanning programs across 14 nations and six continents.

2021 Winners

Veronika Scott

Veronika is the founder and CEO of Empowerment Plan, a Detroit-based organization that manufactures coats that transform into sleeping bags for homeless people. Since its founding in 2012, Veronika’s organization has distributed 55,000 coats and employed nearly 100 formerly homeless women – all of whom have since remained stably housed.

Lundy Ramos Perez

Lundy is the founder and CEO of Khesed Wellness, a Denver-based organization that makes outpatient mental health and wellness services affordable to the underinsured. In just three years, the number of free and reduced-cost therapy sessions administered by Lundy’s organization have climbed from just over 2,000 sessions in 2019 to an estimated 10,000 sessions in 2021.