The 2017 Chiles Award Winner will be Announced:
Monday, March 27, 2017
at the Children's Week Awards Dinner & Reception
The Chiles Advocacy Award, in honor of Lawton and Rhea Chiles' dedication to Florida's children and families, is presented annually to a Floridian who has dedicated his or her life to improving the lives of children and families, and who has successfully engaged others to promote policies and programs that benefit those children and families. The recipient of the annual Chiles Advocacy Award exemplifies the integrity, dedication, and commitment to improving the lives of Florida's children and families for which we all strive.
Lawton and Rhea Chiles embody the spirit of what public service is intended to be. The wisdom and experience they gleaned during Lawton Chiles' decades of public service taught them that society's most precious natural resource - its children and their families - deserve the special attention of society and its representatives in governmental office. Together, they elevated understanding and awareness of the critical importance in the lives of children to new levels and helped craft state and national policy that will benefit children and their families for generations to come.
2016 Chiles Advocacy Award Winner: Modesto E. Abety
Throughout his more than 40 years of public service, Abety’s work has been rooted in his firm belief that “all children are our children.” He served as the director of the Miami-Dade County Children’s Services Council for 12 years before founding The Children’s Trust in Miami in 2002 where he served as CEO and president until 2013. He is proudest of his work at The Children’s Trust which has invested close to $1 billion in high-quality, research-based programs and services for children and families in Miami-Dade County. Abety’s previous roles include executive assistant to the director of the Metro-Dade Community Action Agency and Head Start Program; director of social services for Dade County’s Public Housing Authority; special projects officer on community development, housing and homelessness for the United States Conference of Mayors; and community organizer and social worker with a variety of organizations and agencies serving the aged, the poor and distressed families. In addition, he has served on more than two dozen boards and committees advocating for children and family issues and has been involved in the development of important legislation for children’s services such as Healthy Start, KidCare, early childhood and after- school services, universal pre-K and juvenile justice. In September 2011, Abety was appointed by President Obama to serve on the President’s Commission on Educational Excellence for Hispanics.