Todd Bernstein

by Joe Tressa

Chestnut Hill resident Todd Bernstein, president of Global Citizen and founder of the Martin Luther King Day of Service in Philadelphia, was recently honored with the Bipartisan Policy Center (BPC) Public Service Award. This award recognizes people who have dedicated their lives to public service and helping out in their community. The ceremony took place on July 22 at the National Constitution Center.

The BPC is a nonprofit organization whose goal is to make sure that policy solutions get enacted by lawmakers. It also strives to overcome political divides and attempts to make the country’s government work better. The organization was founded in 2007 by Howard Baker, Bob Dole, George Mitchell and Tom Daschle.

Bernstein, 54, is well-deserving of this award. He organized the first Philadelphia MLK Day of Service in 1996 and still runs the program to this day. This has grown over the years to become the largest service day program dedicated to King in the United States. As of this year, an estimated 900,000 citizens have volunteered to join the day of service since the first event in 1996. Bernstein also founded MLK365 in 2008, which transforms the MLK Day of Service into a “year-round civic engagement initiative.”

Global Citizen was founded in 1994 by Bernstein. The company is a non-partisan organization focusing on civic engagement and community volunteering, particularly among young people.

Bernstein has also received recognition from other associations and organizations, but his highest honor came in January of 2012, when he was recognized as a “Champion of Change” by President Obama in the White House.