Rice Mayor Nancy Anderson was one of six regional winners of the prestigious Jefferson Award. Founded in 1972 by Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, U.S. Senator Robert Taft Jr. and Sam Beard, the American Institute for Public Service created the Jefferson Award to promote and encourage volunteerism in local communities. Thought of as a Nobel Prize for community service, the Jefferson Award recognizes volunteers on a local and national level with 147 media partners across the nation.
Over 15,000 people are nominated every year with each media partner sending one representative to the national level in Washington, D.C. to be considered for the national Jefferson Award. Past winners include Henry Kissinger, Colin Powell, Jesse Jackson, Bob Hope and Oprah Winfrey.
The 2006 Jefferson Award Gala was held April 29 at the Holiday Inn Court Yard Ballroom in Alexandria. Of the following finalists: Carol Wilcox, Richard Vipond, Gertrude Weiss, Carol Meyer, Nancy Anderson and Barbara Grover, the national panel chose Gertrude Weiss to represent the greater Minnesota area in June at the Jefferson Awards National Gala. Anderson won a bronze regional award.
Some of the volunteer services which earned Nancy Anderson the award included: member of Sauk Rapids Rice Community Education, 10 years with Rice Camp Fire USA where she organized “Valentines for Veterans” in the Rice area each February—producing a handmade gift for every veteran in the St. Cloud VA Hospital and with a card of thanks and bookmark going to all the local veterans of the Rice American Legion, worked several years with a Blue Bird project with houses along Highway 10 giving homes to thousands of Blue Birds over the years and, in 2005, she became the first female mayor for the city of Rice.