The King Center Honors Rev. Dr. Joseph E. Lowery and Costco at The 2017 Salute to Greatness Awards Gala


ATLANTA- The King Center will be presenting the 2017 Salute to Greatnessindividual award toRev. Dr. Joseph E. Lowery and the corporate award to Costco. The Salute to Greatnessaward is one of the Center’s highest honors, presented to individuals and corporations/organizations that embody Dr. King’s philosophies and principles. The awards will be presented at the annual Salute to Greatness AwardsGala on January 14, 2017 at 7:00 the Atlanta Hyatt Regency located at 265 Peachtree Street NE, Atlanta, Georgia, 30303. The Gala is the King Center’s primary fundraiser and is open to the public.

“Dr. Lowery is a civil rights icon who worked alongside my parents in the Civil Rights Movement and continues to lend his voice to the struggle for human rights and dignity for all.” Dr. King added. “Dr. Lowery is being recognized for his profound commitment and devotion to civil and human rights, social justice, education, and nonviolent social change.”

“Costco is being honored for their commitment to providing quality children’s health care, for fostering a climate of inclusion, and for their philanthropic efforts,” said Dr.  King. “We are also pleased to recognize a Corporation who ensures that employees receive a livable wage in a climate where the norm is often increasing the bottom line without including the needs of the employees.” CEO W. Craig Jelinek will receive the award on behalf of the Costco.

Other awards presented at this year’s Salute To Greatness Award Gala are:

The Coretta Scott King A.N.G.E.LAward, which recognizes a youth leader (12-25) and a youth organization/initiative that exemplifies exceptional leadership in areas of peace, social justice, and nonviolent social change will also be presented at the Gala. The 2017 youth individual recipient is be Mary-Pat Hector,National Youth Director of the National Action Network. Ms. Hector is being honored for her dedication to youth advocacy, her “Shake Off the Violence” tour against youth gun violence, and teen safety workshops.

The youth initiative recipient is Students Against Violence Everywhere (S.A.V.E). S.A.V.E. was founded in memory of Alex Orange by his classmates.  Alex was a student at West Charlotte Senior High School in Charlotte, North Carolina who lost his life trying to break up a fight at a party. This organization was selected because of its commitment to decreasing violence in schools, promoting meaningful student involvement, and encouraging positive influences. SAVE Executive director Carleen Wray and student and program participant Gabrielle Allen-Destroismaisons, will receive the award on behalf of the organization.

The 2017 Christine King Farris Legacy of Service Awardrecipient is Mrs.Doris Dozier Crenshaw, community activist and founder/CEO of the Southern Youth Leadership Development Institute (SYLDI). Mrs. Crenshaw became involved in the civil rights movement at the age of twelve, as a member of the NAACP Youth Council, and travelled around Alabama with her mentor, Rosa Parks. Later, she worked as a southern field representative for the National Council of Negro Women, designing health and housing programs. In 1985, she was asked by Mrs. Coretta Scott King to serve as Director of Mobilization for the first national holiday honoring Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. 

In 2008, Mrs. Crenshaw founded Southern Youth Leadership Development Institute to address educational policy issues affecting communities nationwide. SYLDI serves youth ages 13-18 by providing educational and interactive experiences that increase their aptitude and aspiration for social change leadership. In accordance with Mrs.Crenshaw's fervent dedication to engaging youth in community activism and to honoring and building a legacy, SYLDI hosted the 2015 Ain't Gonna Ride Youth Summit in Montgomery, Alabama. The Summit was held in commemoration of the 60th Anniversary of the Montgomery Bus Boycott.


The inaugural Yolanda D. King Higher GroundAward will also be presented at this year’s gala. This award recognizes individuals in the arts or sports arena who have chosen to take the higher ground in addressing adverse and challenging situations, demonstrated one of the six principles of Dr. King’s philosophy and methodology of nonviolence in their life’s work, or enhanced the quality of life for marginalized populations.  The first recipient of this award is Edward James Olmos. Mr. Olmos is an international advocate, spokesman, and humanitarian working with organizations such as Thank You Ocean, Project Hope Foundation, Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles, The Boy’s and Girl’s Club of America, The River Keepers, Dr. Andros’ Diabetic Foot Global Conference and he speaks up to 150 times a year in schools, universities, and corporations.

The theme for the 2017 King Holiday Observance is Remember! Celebrate! Act! King’s Legacy of Peace with Justice for Our World. For more information about individual tickets and sponsorship opportunities for the Salute to GreatnessAwards Gala, please call The King Center at 404-526-8911. 


2017 Salute to Greatness Sponsors is provided below:

Legacy Sponsor:General Motors Foundation

Dream Sponsors:The Coca-Cola Company; Delta Air Lines; The Coca-Cola Company

Signature Sponsors:The Home Depot; The Target Corporation; Chick-Fil-A; Mercedes Benz, USA.,


About Us


The Martin Luther King Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change (The King Center) is a 501(c)3 organization established in 1968 by Mrs. Coretta Scott King. The King Center is the official living memorial and programmatic nonprofit organization committed to educating the world about the life, legacy, and teachings of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. The King Center serves to inspire new generations to carry forward his unfinished work, strengthen causes and empower change-makers who are continuing his efforts today. The King Center’s premiere educational initiative, Nonviolence365™, is based on Dr. King’s nonviolent philosophy and engages participants from various sectors of society, including emerging and next generation leaders, in modules and exercises that enhance communication, leadership, interpersonal and conflict reconciliation skills.