Since its establishment in 2006, the Foundation’s annual Lincoln Leadership Prize has honored exceptional individuals for their service in the Lincoln tradition. Past honorees include U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, astronaut James A. Lovell Jr., journalist Tim Russert, Polish President Lech Wałęsa, U.S. presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, film director Steven Spielberg, the Little Rock Nine civil rights movement icons, historian Doris Kearns Goodwin, scientist Neil DeGrasse Tyson, U.K. Prime Minister Tony Blair, philanthropist David Rubenstein, actor Gary Sinise, corporate leader Mellody Hobson and business leader Jim Reynolds.


The Lincoln Presidential Foundation (“Foundation”) announced that it will award its prestigious Lincoln Leadership Prize to acclaimed historian Jon Meacham for his exceptional contributions to the historical canon and public understanding of American democracy.

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The Lincoln Leadership Prize, to be presented during an in-person dinner on May 21st at the Four Seasons Hotel Chicago (120 East Delaware Place), is an annual award that recognizes notable individuals for a lifetime of exceptional service in the spirit of the 16th President of the United States, Abraham Lincoln. The award honors individuals who accept the responsibilities imposed by history and demanded by conscience, who show great strength of character and exhibit unwavering commitment to the defining principles of democracy.

The Foundation is also proud to announce that Edward J. Wehmer Sr., Executive Chairman of the Board and Founder of Wintrust, will receive its 2024 Wayne Whalen “Charity for All” Award. This award, inspired by Lincoln’s Second Inaugural Address, recognizes individuals like Wehmer who exemplify civic leadership, generosity of spirit, and a commitment to the ideals of this nation. The presentation of the award will take place during the Foundation’s Lincoln Leadership Prize event honoring Jon Meacham.

Jon Meacham is a Pulitzer Prize–winning biographer. The Rogers Chair in the American Presidency at Vanderbilt University, he is the author of the New York Times bestsellers His Truth Is Marching On: John Lewis and the Power of Hope, Destiny and Power: The American Odyssey of George Herbert Walker Bush, Thomas Jefferson: The Art of Power, American Lion: Andrew Jackson in the White House, American Gospel, and Franklin and Winston. A fellow of the Society of American Historians, Meacham lives in Nashville.

Ed Wehmer serves as an executive leader of the Northwestern Memorial Foundation, Lurie Children's Hospital, and is active on many other non-profit boards. With his wife Dorothy, he champions charitable causes including Misericordia, Loyola Academy, and Mercy Home for Boys and Girls. His philanthropy has been inspired in part by his own experiences in his youth. He held various jobs while attending school including as a delivery boy, cooler cleaner, and parking lot guard. He is dedicated to causes that promote health and human services, particularly for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities, and to giving hardworking students “a leg up in the world.”

To view the presentation of the 2024 Lincoln Leadership Prize and Wayne Whalen "Charity for All" Award visit HERE!

For more information, contact Phyllis Evans at (217) 557-5610 or

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