The Ad Council’s 68th Annual Public Service Award Dinner Celebrates Extraordinary Accomplishments and Inspires the Marketing and Media Industries to Face Forward and Meet the Moment

At the end of last year, the Ad Council, America’s leading organization harnessing the power of communications for social change, held its Annual Public Service Award Dinner. Doug McMillon, President & CEO of Walmart, was honored for his exceptional contributions to corporate citizenship, including Walmart’s support for the Ad Council’s campaign Welcoming Immigrants, COVID-19 Vaccination Education Initiative and additional efforts. The Dinner was co-hosted by co-anchor of ABC News/Nightline, Juju Chang, and anchor of ESPN’s SportsCenter Face to Face, Hannah Storm, and featured a live performance from the Detroit Youth Choir. The Annual Dinner was held at the Glasshouse in New York City and raised a record-breaking $7 million to support the Ad Council and its national social impact campaigns.

Attended by prominent executives from the media, marketing, advertising and technology industries, the Annual Public Service Award Dinner recognizes the organizations and individuals who support the Ad Council and its social impact efforts. This year’s dinner theme was “Face Forward, Meet the Moment” and was co-chaired by Jacki Kelley, Ad Council Chair and CEO of dentsu Americas, and Ad Council Board Member William White, Chief Marketing Officer of Walmart. Diamond sponsor for the event is Verizon. Platinum sponsors included Adobe, Amazon Ads, Coca-Cola, Disney, Google, IPG, Meta, Walmart and WPP. Gold sponsors included Fox and TikTok and Silver sponsors included Comcast NBCUniversal, Deloitte, dentsu, GroupM, Johnson & Johnson, Medialink, Paramount, Pfizer, P&G, Publicis Groupe, Salesforce, SHE Media and SJR. In addition, Disney served as the evening’s Entertainment Sponsor and Adobe as the Creative Content Sponsor. The Cocktail Reception was hosted by Google and the After-Party by Meta.

“The Annual Dinner is a truly extraordinary evening where we celebrate the people and projects that have helped turn moments into movements,” said Lisa Sherman, President and CEO of the Ad Council. “Through the Dinner and work we do every day at the Ad Council, our aim is to inspire the industry – and people across the country – to unite and bring purpose to everything we do. Together, we can meet the moment and make a measurable impact in the lives of millions.”

Doug McMillon was presented with this year’s Public Service Award for his long-established dedication to social good and philanthropy. Walmart has been an Ad Council supporter since 1986, most recently with the funding and activation of the COVID-19 Vaccine Education Initiative. Additionally, Walmart’s contributions have supported the Ad Council’s campaign welcoming immigrants, Belonging Begins with Us, Emmy-winning diversity and inclusion effort Love Has No Labels, and Workforce Readiness, helping people of all ages, experiences and backgrounds develop their skills for the rapidly changing job market. Walmart has also donated millions in media time and space across their platforms including and on in-store checkout screens. In addition to his impactful work with the Ad Council, under Doug’s leadership, Walmart is making life easier for busy families and building trust with customers. It is investing heavily in associate wages, benefits and education — including a debt-free college program and an expanded parental leave policy. And it launched Project Gigaton, an ambitious platform to collaborate with suppliers and support them on addressing climate change with an initial goal of reducing or avoiding 1 billion metric tons of emissions worldwide by 2030. Doug serves on the boards of directors of Business Roundtable, the Consumer Goods Forum, the U.S.-China Business Council, and Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art. He also sits on the advisory board of the Tsinghua University School of Economics and Management in Beijing, China.

The event highlighted personal stories from individuals throughout the country whose experiences and actions have inspired their communities amid complex challenges since the onset of the pandemic, including:

  • Cecilia Marie Patterson – Mental Health Advocate and Tattoo Artist

Patterson is a US Army veteran and tattoo artist who specializes in tattooing other veterans as an alternative way to help them cope with mental health issues. 

  • LaShana Lewis – Chair, Opportunity@Work STARs Advisory Council

Lewis, despite not having a traditional 4-year bachelor’s degree, is the founder and CEO of her own consulting firm and works with other STARs (Skilled Through Alterative Routes) like herself as the Chair of Opportunity@Work’s STARs Advisory Council.

  • Ron Holden – Founder, Ride For Black Lives

Holden is the founder of Ride For Black Lives, a group bike ride in Los Angeles, CA that begin during the pandemic as a way to bring people together with a peaceful message of love and unity.

  • Sandy Connolly and Ngoc Nguyen – Goodwin Living Resident and Ngoc’s Tutor / Staff Member of Goodwin Living

Connolly and Nguyen became friends while Connolly was tutoring Nguyen on U.S. history to help her achieve her U.S. Citizenship.

The Detroit Youth Choir (DYC) is a non-profit 501(c)3 organization that services young people throughout the Detroit Metropolitan area and develops students between the ages of 8-18 through music education, dance, and theatrical arts. ​​DYC recently participated in a documentary IMAX film America’s Musical Journey, which has been shown in all IMAX theatres across the US. The Choir also competed on “America’s Got Talent,” reaching 2nd place and has performed locally, nationally and internationally. The Choir will soon appear in a new show on Disney+.

The Ad Council’s Public Service Award Dinner is the organization’s largest fundraising event and has been honoring corporate leaders for their contributions to public service since 1953. To learn more about the Ad Council, visit

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