Scappoose - The Ford Foundation has announced that Marcy Westerling, director of the Rural Organizing Project in Scappoose, is a 2003 winner of a Leadership for a Changing World award.

Westerling is one of 17 awardees, selected from a pool of more than 1,300 nomination, representing individuals and leadership teams that are tackling some of the nation's most entrenched social problems. Each winner will receive $100,000 to advance their work and an additional $15,000 for supporting activities over the next two years.

"These awards recognize the achievement of remarkable people, such as Marcy Westerling, working to bring positive social change to their communities and beyond," said Susan V. Berresford, president of the Ford Foundation.

Westerling, a driving force behind the Rural Organizing Project, has help organize 60 human dignity groups in more than 52 rural communities and small towns in Oregon. In the tradition of the small town church or town hall, the human dignity group provides a forum for people to engage in face-to-face progressive political discussion. ROP has built bridges to Oregon's farmworkers union, the state's immigrant rights coalition and other organizations.

Launched in September 2000, Leadership for a Changing World is a program of the Ford Foundation in partnership with the Advocacy Institute in Washington, D.C. and the Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service at New York University.

"We hope to stimulate a nationwide discussion about the rich array of leadership styles in the United States and increase public understanding and appreciation of the extraordinary accomplishments of these largely unrecognized leaders," said Kathleen D., Sheekey, president and CEO of the Advocacy Institute.

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