Press Releases

2007 Releases

Quincy Jones and Harvard School of Public Health Launch Global "Q Prize" to Spotlight Extraordinary Advocacy for Children

School Honors Quincy Jones as 'Mentor of the Year'

For immediate release: Monday, January 22, 2007

BOSTON, MA- Music impresario Quincy Jones will be honored by the Harvard School of Public Health as its first-ever "Mentor of the Year" at a star-studded gala on Jan. 24 at New York City's Core Club.  The event also will celebrate the launch of the Q Prize, a prestigious award created by Quincy Jones and the Harvard School of Public Health to recognize international leadership in advocacy for children.

This year's inaugural Q Prize recipient is Scott Neeson, executive director of the Cambodian Children's Fund (CCF), a safe house for Cambodia's orphaned, abandoned, and abused children.  Created by Neeson in 2003, the CCF serves 240 children from amongst the most impoverished and uneducated of Cambodia's population, those at greatest risk of child trafficking.  Most of CCF's children were rescued from Stoeng Meanchey, Phnom Penh's notorious rubbish dump.  It is there that hundreds of other children continue to live and work, picking through the refuse for recyclable metals and hard plastics. 

Neeson left a successful career as a film executive in Hollywood, and moved to Phnom Penh in 2004 to work full-time on the charity. The CCF offers shelter, nutritional meals, a comprehensive education that includes English and Khmer reading and writing, math, computer training plus in-house medical services a cultural program of dance and drama,   and a vocational training program.   

"Scott Neeson's selfless, remarkable commitment to the children of Cambodia represents a genuine profile in courage," Quincy Jones said in a statement. "I am humbled by what Scott Neeson has done, and am privileged to recognize his contribution by presenting him with the first-ever Q Prize."

The Jan. 24 event is being underwritten by Audemars Piguet.  The inaugural Q Prize has been funded by Sterling Stamos.  Additional support for the Q Prize has been provided by Time Warner and DaimlerChrysler.   

The Jan. 24 event is a highlight of National Mentoring Month (NMM), a campaign held each January to recruit volunteer mentors for at-risk youth.  The campaign's theme is "Pass it on. Become a Mentor."  Studies have shown that mentoring programs are a highly effective strategy for preventing youth violence and drug abuse.

"Quincy Jones' leadership in creating the Q Prize breathes life into the concept of ‘Pass It On" by shining a spotlight on Scott Neeson's profound contribution, and encouraging each of us to do our part to help the world's children," said Jay A. Winsten, an associate dean at the Harvard School of Public Health. "We are delighted to honor Quincy Jones as Mentor of the Year."

National Mentoring Month 2007 is spearheaded by the Harvard Mentoring Project of the Harvard School of Public Health, MENTOR/National Mentoring Partnership, and the Corporation for National and Community Service. Sponsors include MCJ Foundation and MetLife Foundation.

On Jan. 25, the campaign will celebrate Thank Your Mentor DayTM, a time when many Americans reach out to thank or honor a family member, teacher, coach or neighbor who served as a mentor to them.  For more information on ways to participate, go to www.WhoMentoredYou.org.

Thank Your Mentor DayTM is a trademarked initiative of the Harvard School of Public Health.

For further information contact: Robin Herman rherman@hsph.harvard.edu (617)432-4752