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Inspire Awards 2003 Honorees

The Fearless 50

* He helps the poor help themselves
Robert Woodson, 65
Urban Activist, Founder of the National Center for Neighborhood Enterprise (NCNE)

What's the best cure for urban ills? Woodson preaches the gospel of entrepreneurship and economic self-determination. His center supports what he calls "community healers"—the church groups and block clubs that keep violence at bay and families intact. "These small institutions are like the neighborhood's immune system," he says. Woodson stumped for "faith-based initiatives" as early as the 1980s, and some of his concepts, such as anti-gang violence-free zones, have been implemented nationwide. His center is now working with poor families in rural Alabama. John McWhorter, author of Losing the Race: Self-Sabotage in Black America, has said, "Woodson is God. He is what we need."

* He draws back the curtain on Washington
Bob Woodward, 60
Assistant Managing Editor, The Washington Post

Bob Woodward Bob Woodward is, of course, the reporter who worked with Carl Bernstein to expose the Watergate cover-up and help bring down Richard Nixon. But his contribution to the country goes far beyond that. "Deep Throat," the still-unnamed source who gave Woodward pivotal information in the case, set the tone for a career. Through a series of books, including studies of the Supreme Court, the Clinton White House, and—in 2002—George W. Bush's wartime leadership, he has established himself as the king of access, "a reporting god," in the words of writer Nicholas Lemann. Like no other writer, he brings his readers into the corridors of power. Though he has been criticized for allowing his sources anonymity, that tactic may account for his uncanny ability to get high officials to confide in him. Today, he and the many younger reporters he inspired work to ensure that secrets of national consequence do not remain secret forever.'s Revisiting Watergate section is packed with actual Post coverage, facts and profiles, an interactive quiz, and more.

* He's the voice of our fastest-growing minority
Raul Yzaguirre, 63
President, National Council of La Raza (NCLR)

His teen years were spent working on a fishing boat off the Texas coast—until he jumped ship and helped form a series of Latino activist organizations. Now he heads the largest of them all, NCLR (3.5 million people, 270 affiliates), which works to improve employment, health care, education, and immigration policy for Spanish-speaking people. As the NCLR spokesperson on Capitol Hill and in business boardrooms, Yzaguirre has become a major voice in U.S. policy.

His message: "Because there are those who are frightened by [Latino population] growth, it is important that we convey in no uncertain terms the wonderful news of our presence in this nation."


Editors: Margaret Guroff and Gabrielle deGroot Redford

Writers: David Dudley, Corinne Hayward, Monica Hesse, Michael Hopkins, Jennifer Howard, Christina Ianzito, Marilyn Johnson, Bill Newcott, Abby McGanney Nolan, Maggie Pouncey, J.D. Reed, and Jon Spayde


*The name of this award was originally the Impact Award. In 2008, the awards were renamed as the Inspire Awards.

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