The TJ Martell Foundation has revamped its annual awards gala. For the first time, the leukemia, cancer and AIDS research foundation is presenting two new honors along with its Humanitarian Award, and

The TJ Martell Foundation has revamped its annual awards gala. For the first time, the leukemia, cancer and AIDS research foundation is presenting two new honors along with its Humanitarian Award, and has branched out beyond the music industry in its selection of honorees. The 29th annual gala is set for May 27 at the New York Hilton.

This year's Humanitarian Award honorees are former U.S. president George H. W. Bush and his wife, Barbara. TJ Martell CEO Peter Quinn tells Billboard.biz that the Bushes -- who lost a young daughter to leukemia -- are being recognized for their commitment to cancer research causes. This has included fundraising, serving on boards at various organizaitons and co-founding the National Dialogue on Cancer (now called C-Change), a nonprofit group that facilitates collaboration among private, public and nonprofit sectors to address the disease.

The TJ Martell Foundation's inaugural Artistic Achievement Award will be presented to Stevie Wonder, in honor of his body of work and commitment to philanthropic causes.

Finally, the first Scientific Achievement Award will go to Dr. Daniel Vasella, CEO of Novartis Pharmaceuticals. Vasella pioneered work with the new cancer drug Gleevec.

Quinn says the organization plans to keep this model for its awards going forward, and hopes that the diversification beyond the music industry will help raise its profile and enhance its fund-raising efforts.

Questions? Comments? Let us know: @billboardbiz

Print