Sam Beard Story 2017-12-23T00:15:56+00:00

At the desk

In recognition of Sam’s work on National Development Council (NDC) Economic Development Programs, four U.S. Presidents– Nixon, Ford, Carter and Reagan signed and gifted this picture to Sam.

Sam and wife Joan in Mexico.  2006


I am hardly the stereotype for anything that might be considered woo-woo. A graduate of Yale and Columbia, I am more Brooks Brothers than tie-dyed. I had a childhood where sitting was frowned upon when you could be up and about. doing something more productive.

So the dye was cast. All these influences, from parents to schooling, combined to teach me to think big. Once out in the world, I learned from others how to turn ideas into action, and action into movements.

From all outward appearances at age 75, I was viewed as a “success.” I had helped design and implement public service programs for 8 U.S. Presidents. My resume was filled with building ideas from the ground up into major programs affecting millions of lives. My career accomplishments stood out and, on the home front, my family and three children were thriving.

Then a personal crisis created debilitating stress. My life was turned upside down. The solution came in a form that was astoundingly simple and profoundly life-changing: Meditation.

Sam Beard with Archbishop Desmond Tutu in Bali, 2006.

President George W. Bush appoints Sam Beard to be a member of the President’s Social Security Reform Commission, 2001.

Sam Beard as Staff Associate to U.S. Senator Robert F. Kennedy, 1966.

Sam, wife Joan and daughter Morgan

Sam pictured with his wife Joan and children, Alex and Hillary in 1987.

Sam Beard is a graduate of Yale University and earned a M.A. in history from Columbia University. He is married to Joan, the father of three children and resides in Wilmington, Delaware, USA.

Sam has had an extraordinary ’50 years of success’ career in service working alongside eight U.S presidents. Now in 2017, at 77 years young, he feels like the ‘training is done’! And he’s just getting started…


Sam Beard spent over a half century transforming ideas into far reaching impact to improve the lives of millions of people.

His focus on social justice and elimination of poverty started with work with Robert Kennedy in Brooklyn in the mid-1960s. Among his most noteworthy accomplishments include the creation of over ten million jobs in low-income communities.

With Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis and Senator Robert Taft, Jr., Beard also launched the Jefferson Awards, an American Nobel Prize for public service and youth leadership training program. More than 20,000 students have been trained, resulting in more than 20 million service hours.

Now in 2017, at 77 years young, he feels like the ‘training is done’ and Sam has embarked on a personal mission to spread mindfulness worldwide and impact one billion people over the next decade. His mission is called GIFT.

Son Alex Beard and Family. (Left to Right: Wife Amy, Son Landry, Alex, Daughter Camille. 2016)

Sam and Daughter Morgan. Lake Pichola, Udaipur, India 2013

1992-2006 Economic Security 2000 Campaign - save social security. Add individual savings accounts

Sam Beard invited to join President Bush in Mississippi to explain Social Security reform. 2004

Sam Beard, Feature Article,Wall Street Journal

President Ronald Reagan greeting Sam Beard in theWhite House after announcing the President’s $2 Billion Small Business Revitalization Program. 1982

Economic Security 2000 Campaign – save social security.
Add individual savings accounts.

From 1992 to 2006, Sam Beard worked on an initiative to save and reform America’s Social Security system and promote meaningful savings and wealth for all Americans.

He wrote a book, Restoring Hope In America, and launched the non-profit organization Economic Security 2000 to implement the goals.

The initiative teamed 5 organizations and 60 dedicated professionals to help change national thinking. The team worked closely with the Clinton Administration from 1997 – 2000 and with the George W. Bush Administration 2001-2006.

In 2001, Mr. Beard was appointed to serve on President George W. Bush’s Social Security Commission. When Congressional approval was imminent, unexpected events, including the September 11, 2001 World Trade Center attack, derailed final enactment.

Delaware Today magazine’s lead story covers Sam Beard’s national campaign to save Social Security and add individual savings accounts. 1996.

Sam and Hillary Beard at a White House reception with President and Mrs. Clinton as a result of our work on Social Security reform. 1998

1992 to Present The President’s Youth Service Awards

President Bill Clinton presenting a Youth Service Award.

The President’s Youth Service Awards

Working with President George H.W. Bush, Sam Beard was the driving force creating the President’s Youth Service Awards in 1992 to attract thousands of young Americans into service.

Acting on the recommendation of Mr. Beard, the Presidents’ Summit on Volunteerism in 1997 adopted these awards and set the national goal of attracting two million young Americans to perform 100 hours of service.

The organization was co-chaired by Presidents Bush, Carter, Clinton and Ford along with Nancy Reagan and Colin Powell. At Mr. Beard’s suggestion, President George W. Bush held the first major presidential press conference highlighting these youth service awards, and created the Presidential Service Awards.

More than two million young Americans have now been recognized for completing more than 100 hours of service.

At the Presidents’ Service Summit in Philadelphia, Presidents Bush, Clinton and Carter, along with Mrs. Reagan, endorsed the Jefferson Awards initiated Presidents’ Student Service Awards and set the goal of involving 2 million students in service, 1997.

1982 Delaware Waterfront Revitalisation

Delaware Waterfront Revitalisation 

This was a big idea and $2,500 turned into $2 billion of investment creating thousands of jobs.

Geographically, the Christiana River, a tributary of the Delaware River, runs through downtown Wilmington. The south end of the city was a slum with abandoned industrial plants, and run-down, drug-infested housing. In the center of the slum was the Wilmington railroad station – the official ‘Gateway to Delaware.’

The basic idea was to host an annual water festival to get Wilmington’s citizens and the Delaware leadership excited about revitalization and then attract major investment to rebuild the area.

1972 to Present The Jefferson Awards Foundation – a call to action for volunteering

U.S. Senator Hillary Clinton and Sam Beard congratulating the 2007 Jefferson Awards winners. 2007

President George HW Bush congratulates Sam Beard and the 1989 Jefferson Awards winners.

The Jefferson Awards Foundation – a call to action for volunteering.

In 1972, along with Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis and U.S. Senator Robert Taft, Jr., Mr. Beard co-founded the Jefferson Awards Foundation (JAF) to create a Nobel Prize for public service.

The Jefferson Awards recognize both ordinary people who do extraordinary things and individuals whose public service has had a broad national impact.

National winners have included six Justices of the Supreme Court, including Sandra Day O’Connor, Sonia Sotomayor and Thurgood Marshall; seven Secretaries of State, including Colin Powell and Cyrus Vance; as well as Alan Greenspan, Bob Hope, Peyton Manning, Oprah Winfrey and Stephen Jobs.

Over 120 newspapers, television and radio stations herald local “Unsung Heroes” – the nation’s largest media partnership fostering volunteerism. The media partners reach 78 million American families. More than 65,000 grassroots volunteers have been honored.

Beginning in 2007-2008, the Jefferson Awards began to use its prestige to change lives with a special focus on youth leadership and service. The Jefferson Awards Foundation has now trained more than 20,000 high school students, resulting in more than 20 million hours of service.

Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor andSam Beard welcome Jefferson Award winner Paul Newman to the U.S. Supreme Court. 1994

Jefferson Awards Board Members Hank Aaron and Julian Bond honor Colin Powell and Jody Powell in the U.S. Supreme Court, 1990.

1965-1969 The National Development Council (NDC) - inner city small business job creation

President Richard Nixon congratulated NDC on initiating and chairing the President's $100 MillionMinority Bank Deposit Program.Nixon heralded it as "the largest transfer of economic resources into minority-owned economic institutions in the history of the United States." 1971

Robert F. Kennedy and Bedford-Stuyvesant

In 1965 – 1968, Sam Beard began as Staff Associate to U.S. Senator Robert F. Kennedy working to revitalize Bedford-Stuyvesant, a low-income community in Brooklyn, New York.

In 1969, Mr. Beard founded the National Development Council (NDC), a national non-profit organization dedicated to redeveloping urban and rural low-income communities. NDC has initiated and run four national job creation programs for Presidents Nixon, Ford, Carter and Reagan.

In the United States in 1968, Blacks and Hispanics owned 1/1000th of 1 % of America’s business assets. With Presidents Nixon and Ford, Sam pioneered in stimulating minority-owned business investment. These activities opened doors and set new standards and led to hundreds of millions of dollars of investment in minority-owned businesses.

With Presidents Carter and Reagan, Sam focused on small business job creation in low-income urban and rural communities. Direct financing stimulated by these programs exceeds $300 billion and has impacted more than 2 million jobs. Every major bank in America began investing $50 to $100 million per year.

NDC formed hundreds of local development organizations and trained more than 60,000 economic development professionals to process the loans. As a catalyst, these efforts have created more than 10 million jobs.

"Congratulations to NDC for increasing the insurance-in-force held by minority-owned insurance companies from $8.5 billion to $15.3 billion." President Gerald Ford. 1976

President Ronald Reagan in the Oval Office, with Governor Kit Bond, HUD's Steve Bolinger and SBA's Jim Sanders, announcing the NDC proposed $2 Billion Small Business Revitalization Program. 1982

"With congratulations on surpassing the Neighborhood Business Revitalization goal of $1 billion." President Jimmy Carter. 1980

2015 to Present  GIFT - Global Investment Foundation For Tomorrow

1992-2006  Economic Security 2000 Campaign - save social security. Add individual savings accounts

1992 to Present  The President’s Youth Service Awards

1982  Delaware Waterfront Revitalisation

1972 to Present The Jefferson Awards Foundation – a call to action for volunteering

1965-1969  The National Development Council (NDC) - inner city small business job creation