CNN Hero Awards winners 2020 – photo galleries

Written by By Naomi Pfefferman, for CNN

There was a time — yes, 100 years ago — when people of every stripe looked to the saints, visionaries and stellar citizens that it felt like the world held out. You know, the folks who seemed to be making the world better.

CNN’s Hero of the Year award was introduced in 1971, to honor civic bravery and volunteer service.

In the time since, its Lifetime Achievement Award has gone to a bevy of legends — Martin Luther King Jr., Nelson Mandela, Eleanor Roosevelt and many more. The award is televised on CNN for viewers to admire.

CNN’s annual Awards went international with shows in 28 countries. CNN I Encourage empowers young people to take action.

CNN Now, a 24-hour channel featuring global news and live coverage, began in 2015.

Together, with its expanding international and domestic bureaus, CNN offers the very best in international, national and local news, in-depth investigations, real-time webcasting, live events and much more.

Other categories

It wouldn’t be a CNN awards show without a few other categories.

This year, the award winners — including Johnson & Johnson’s Scott Stagg, the world’s first fully engineered artificial heart — are delving into the philanthropic world, the music industry and other nontraditional industries.

Newly anointed recipients include Carrie Gracie, the BBC journalist who resigned after the BBC refused to rehire her because she had publicly voiced her views on Brexit.

CNN Hero Awards finalists also include the Parent Project Legal Defense Fund, which seeks to protect the rights of parents across the US; Kayla Wu, whose headstone was vandalized in tiny Port Townsend, Washington; and Project Listen, which trains schools to tackle America’s ear disease epidemic.

In addition, the evening recognized 24 men and women who helped to save lives during the devastating Dallas theater and Fort Lauderdale airport attacks, as well as people with disabilities who help to prevent and treat head injuries.

CNN Hero Awards winners come from all over the world, working at charities, hospitals, local communities, academia and government.

CNN’s late Roger Ailes, one of the network’s earliest viewers, bestowed this award on the Vietnam veteran who founded the Daughters of The American Revolution’s Daughters of Charity.


To honor those who can make the world a better place, we at CNN encourage the public to help identify top 10 nominees for the awards.

Our expert judges will narrow down the list to 10 finalists for our viewers to vote on.

If you would like to see some of the nominees, please visit

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