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Stan Curtis, USA Harvest

Stan Curtis is an entrepreneur, an investment executive, and the founder of the food distribution charity USA Harvest.

Before all that, though, he started his adult life touring the world as a professional tennis player. He retired from the sport in 1981 and entered the world of investment and finance. He now serves clients throughout the world as senior vice president at Hilliard Lyons in Louisville.

Of all of Stan’s efforts, the most dramatic is USA Harvest. President Bill Clinton said in 1997 that “USA Harvest has become a movement in the economic, social, and political structures of America.” In 18 years of operation, USA Harvest has grown to include 124 cities with more than 121,000 volunteers. Those volunteers have collected and distributed more than 11 billion pounds of food (more than 15 billion meals) by simply taking food from those who have it but don’t want it and giving it to those who want it but don’t have it.

Today, USA Harvest volunteers collect and distribute more than 1.2 million pounds of food every day. Entertainers such as Van Halen, the Goo Goo Dolls, k.d. lang, Neil Diamond, Bill Cosby, and the Rolling Stones have helped raise food donations. In partnership with Hilary Duff, USA Harvest delivered more than two million meals to America’s hurricane-ravaged Gulf Coast region. And the organizations says that a partnership with rock band Green Day will soon result in another major relief announcement.

In 1993, founder and chairman Curtis was one of six Americans honored with the America’s Award. Known as the “Nobel Prize for Goodness,” this award recognizes unsung American heroes who personify the American character and spirit. It was presented to Stan by Dr. Norman Vincent Peale. In 1995, Stan received the National Caring Institutes’ Caring Award, recognizing him as one of America’s most caring and giving citizens. In 1997, President Clinton presented him with the nation’s most prestigious volunteer award, the President’s Volunteer Action Award, in a Rose Garden Ceremony at the White House. That award honored Stan’s efforts on behalf of those less fortunate in America.

In addition to his work with USA Harvest, Stan serves on many boards of directors throughout the United States, including those of USA Today’s Make a Difference Day and the Heart of America Foundation.

USA Harvest will be featured in a book entitled The Passionaries, to be published in spring 2007 by the Templeton Foundation.

Program 108
The Keep Louisville Weird campaign, media personality Susan Sweeney Crum, the Louisville Metro Department of Neighborhoods, U.S.A. Harvest founder Stan Curtis, and historic cast-iron buildings. (#108)