About The Joe A. Callaway Award for Civic Courage

The Joe A. Callaway Award for Civic Courage

The Joe A. Callaway Award for Civic Courage was established by Mr. Callaway in 1990. The Award recognizes individuals in any area of endeavor who, with integrity and at some personal risk, take a public stance to advance truth and justice, and who challenged prevailing conditions in pursuit of the common good. Toward this end, Mr. Callaway endowed The Shafeek Nader Trust for the Community Interest with a special fund to administer this annual award honoring citizens for their civic courage.

The Trust was created to extend the civic values of Shafeek Nader, community advocate and founder of the Northwestern Connecticut Community College. A tax-exempt organization, the Trust has the task of advancing the ability of citizens to participate and shape the quality of democracy in their communities.

Joe A. Callaway’s long career in the theater spanned a variety of roles: actor, co-founder of San Diego’s Globe Theater and founder of the first Midwest Equity summer theater in Marquette, Michigan in 1937, guest professor at many universities, television and radio reviewer of Broadway openings, and for many years the most widely-booked lecturer on the Broadway seasons. His solo performances included “The American Dream in Politics, Poetry and Humor” which painted vividly the fabric of the United States in the words of Americans from Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson to Abraham Lincoln and Woodrow Wilson, Walt Whitman and Carl Sandburg, Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes to Mark Twain and Will Rogers.

Mr. Callaway was a philanthropist on behalf of theater, playwrights, directors, and actors. However, his philanthropic reach was broader than his career interests. By endowing, in perpetuity, the award for civic courage, Mr. Callaway acknowledged the fundamental role of citizen in the greatest drama of all, life itself.