The Republican Party of Virginia has awarded Heritage Foundation President Kay Coles James its Lifetime Achievement Award for her lifelong commitment to helping improve the lives of Virginia’s citizens.
Congratulations to President @KayColesJames on receiving the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Republican Party of Virginia today! Mrs. James was born and raised in Virginia and has dedicated much of her career to working to improve the lives of its citizens. pic.twitter.com/OizzWDZmq5— Heritage Foundation (@Heritage) August 24, 2019
In addition to presenting James with the Lifetime Achievement Award at a ceremony on Aug. 24, the Republican Party of Virginia also honored James by introducing a new award named for her.
The new Kay Coles James Award will be presented annually to an individual who brings traditional American values into minority communities in Virginia.
D.J. Jordan, a former communications director on Capitol Hill and current director at public relations firm Pinkston, was the first recipient of the Kay Coles James Award, which was also presented at the ceremony.
“It’s a tremendous honor to receive a Lifetime Achievement Award for decades of trying to make life better for all Virginians. Whether on the policy battlefields, and whether in government or the private sector, I have always tried my best to serve the people of this commonwealth that I love so much,” said James. “It’s also incredibly humbling to have an award named in your honor.”
James grew up in Richmond, Virginia, and helped integrate the city’s schools there in the 1960s. She has served in number government positions in the commonwealth and in the federal government.
In 1994, she was appointed secretary of health and human resources by then-Virginia Gov. George Allen. In that role, she designed and implemented Virginia’s landmark welfare reform initiative. As secretary, she also influenced housing policies regarding young, elderly, and low-income Virginians.
James later served as dean of Regent University’s Robertson School of Government in Virginia Beach and also served on the Virginia Commonwealth University Board of Visitors.
James’ commitment to providing quality education goes beyond just institutions of higher education. She crafted education policy during her time on the Virginia State Board of Education and the Fairfax County School Board. She also served as director of community education and development for Housing Opportunities Made Equal in Richmond.
James served Virginia and the nation in the administrations of former Presidents George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush.
Prior to becoming Heritage’s president in 2018, she served on several corporate and nonprofit boards, including The Heritage Foundation Board of Trustees. She also founded and led The Gloucester Institute in historic Gloucester County, Virginia, to train and nurture thousands of emerging leaders in the African American community.
A nonpartisan research and education institute, The Heritage Foundation is one of the nation’s premier think tanks devoted to public policy. It is the most broadly supported think tank in the world with more than 500,000 members.