The Champions for Equality and Justice Awards presented by Disability Rights North Carolina recognize and honor advocates who have made outstanding efforts to increase the awareness of disability rights issues in North Carolina, to remove both physical and attitudinal barriers for people with disabilities, to create a more inclusive community, and to speak for and represent those who cannot represent themselves.

Portrait of Adele FoschiaThe Adele Foschia Award for Lifetime Cross-Disability Advocacy recognizes individuals who have dedicated their lives to advocating for people with all types of disabilities. Adele Foschia helped Disability Rights NC become the results-driven organization it is today, and she never wavered as an enthusiastic supporter of the organization. For that reason and in recognition of her lifetime of service to people with all types of disabilities, Disability Rights NC created an award in her name to recognize individuals whose work honors her legacy.

2017 Recipients

Matt Potter
For his work improving the lives of people with disabilities as an advocate, a leader, and a builder of community.
Advocates for Medically Fragile Kids NC
For their passionate, personal, and highly effective advocacy to protect services for children with significant medical needs.
Beth Garriss Hardy: The Adele Foschia Award for Lifetime Cross-Disability Advocacy
For her decades of work as an advocate for the rights of people with mental illness and for the education of children facing homelessness.

2016 Recipients

Sandra “Sam” Hedrick
A compassionate and forward-thinking leader in providing supports and services for people with disabilities in North Carolina.
Bethany Smith
A young advocate determined to use her experience to educate and end the stigma of living with a mental illness.
Christine Trottier: The Adele Foschia Award for Lifetime Cross-Disability Advocacy
A dedicated advocate who spent her career fighting for the dignity and rights of children and adults with disabilities.

2014 Recipients

Linda McDonough
Portrait of Linda McDonoughA Leader in Advocating for Strong Educational Services for Children with Disabilities and Effective Mental Health Care
Betty Paesler, RN, MSN
Portrait of Betty PaeslerA Leader in Advocating for Patient Rights and Effective, Humane Treatment

2013 Recipients

Robert Bullock (In Memory)
Portrait of Robert BullockA Leader in Self-Advocacy and Community Life for People with Mental Illness
Leanna George
Photograph of Leanna George and her sonA Leader in Self-Advocacy and Supporting the Advocacy of Parents Whose Children Are Students with Special Needs
Sally and David Sloop
Photograph of Sally and David SloopLeaders in Providing Community Support for Individuals with Intellectual/Developmental Disabilities

2012 Recipients

Jeremy Donohue
Portrait of Jeremy DonohueA Leader in Self-Advocacy and Community Life for People with Intellectual/Developmental Disabilities
Ellen Russell
Portrait of Ellen RussellA Leader in Advocacy for Community Inclusion and Educational Opportunities for People with Disabilities
Steve Webster
Portrait of Steve WebsterA Leader in Advocacy for Recovery and Quality of Life for People with Mental Illness in Institutions

2011 Recipients

Julia Bick (In Memory)
Portrait of Julie BickA Pioneer in the Development of Affordable and Supportive Housing for People with Disabilities in North Carolina
Michael Maybee
Portrait of Michael MaybeeA Leader in Advocacy for Community Inclusion and Employment for People with Disabilities
Dr. Charles Walker
Portrait of Charles WalkerA Leader in Advocacy for Community Inclusion and Access to Public Programs for People with Blindness

2009 Recipients

The North Carolina State Bar Plan for Interest on Lawyers’ Trust Account
In Recognition and Appreciation of NC IOLTA and Executive Director Evelyn Pursley’s Commitment to Improving Access to Justice for Persons with Disabilities in North Carolina.
Marian Hartman
Portrait of Marian HartmanA Dedicated Supporter of the Board of Directors of Disability Rights North Carolina and Passionate Advocate for All People with Disabilities.
Greg McGrew
Portrait of Greg McGrewA Tireless and Skilled Advocate for an Independent Protection and Advocacy System for North Carolinians with Disabilities.

2008 Recipients

Honorable William (Bill) Creech
CLA Board Member (1999-2008) and lifelong Advocate for Children and Adults with Disabilities
Lockhart Follin-Mace
A Pioneer for People with Disabilities and 1st Executive Director of the Governor’s Advocacy Council for Persons with Disabilities
Jo Anne Jeffries
Unwavering Advocate for People with Disabilities
Robert R. Reilly (In Memory)
Tireless Advocate for Justice for People with Disabilities, CLA Board Member (2001-2007) and CLA Board President (2005)