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About the Gala

Each year, the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids' Youth Advocates of the Year Awards Gala honors the accomplishments of outstanding young leaders and tobacco control champions in the United States and worldwide. The 21st Annual Gala will be held in Washington, D.C. on May 10, 2017, at the Ritz-Carlton.

This year, we will present our highest honor, the Champion Award, to Tom Steyer, the business leader and philanthropist and co-chair of the Yes on 56 – Save Lives California ballot initiative campaign.

Tom Steyer is a business leader and philanthropist who believes we have a moral responsibility to give back and help ensure that every family shares the benefits of economic opportunity, education and a healthy climate.

In 2016, Tom served as co-chair of the Yes on 56 – Save Lives California ballot initiative campaign. Approved by 64.4 percent of California voters, Proposition 56 raised the state's cigarette tax by $2 per pack, with equivalent increases on other tobacco products. The revenue generated will be used to improve health care programs, expand tobacco prevention and cessation efforts, and fund research on cancer and other tobacco-related diseases.

Tom's personal advocacy played a key role in the success of this historic measure to reduce tobacco use and save lives, which was overwhelmingly approved despite vigorous opposition from tobacco companies that spent over $71 million against it.

Tom founded a successful California business, which he left to work full-time on non-profit and advocacy efforts. He now serves as President of NextGen Climate, an organization he founded in 2013 to prevent climate disaster and promote prosperity for all Americans.

Our gala will also recognize the remarkable efforts of youth advocates throughout the U.S. These young leaders inspire us and give us great confidence we will make the next generation tobacco-free. We will also honor the recipient of the Judy Wilkenfeld Award for International Tobacco Control Excellence, awarded to an exceptional advocate from a low- or middle-income country.

We look forward to seeing you on May 10! To learn more about sponsorship opportunities, contact Louella Haymon at 202-481-9341 or lhaymon@tobaccofreekids.org.

About the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids

The Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids is a leading force in the fight to reduce tobacco use and its deadly toll in the United States and around the world. Our vision: A future free of death and disease caused by tobacco. We advocate for public policies that prevent kids from smoking, help smokers quit and protect everyone from secondhand smoke.

In the United States, we fight at the national, state and local levels for these proven strategies that reduce tobacco use and save lives. Internationally, Tobacco-Free Kids supports governments and non-governmental organizations in promoting and implementing these policies. We are a partner in the Bloomberg Initiative to Reduce Tobacco Use, which focuses on low- and middle-income countries where more than 80 percent of tobacco-related deaths will occur in the coming decades.

While we have made enormous progress, tobacco still kills nearly half a million Americans each year. The worldwide death toll is six million a year and climbing. With your support, we will win the fight against the world's No. 1 cause of preventable death.

Created in 1996, the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that accepts no government or tobacco industry funding. We rely on contributions from individuals, philanthropic foundations, corporations, special events and other non-profit organizations.