Sean Penn and Ann Lee to Receive the LA Press Club Public Service Award

Sean Penn and Ann Lee have been named the Los Angeles Press Club’s 2021 Bill Rosendahl Public Service Awardees for Contributions to Civic Life.

Sean Penn and Ann Lee are co-founders of the crisis response organization CORE (Community Organized Relief Effort). Ann Lee serves as the organization’s Chief Executive Officer and Sean Penn is the board’s Chairperson.

“As the world was reeling from the spread of COVID-19, Sean and Ann jumped in and mobilized a massive testing effort in Southern California and beyond,” said Los Angeles Press Club President Lisa Richwine. “They are continuing to fight the pandemic with relief efforts targeted to marginalized and hard-to-reach communities.”

“It is an honor to receive this award, and we thank the Los Angeles Press Club for this recognition,” said Lee. “We dedicate this award to our ever-inspiring team across the U.S., Brazil, India and especially Haiti, where CORE began more than a decade ago. Our mission has never been clearer: to bring immediate aid and recovery to underserved communities across the globe.”

It was in the aftermath of the 2010 earthquake in Haiti that Penn and Lee founded the nonprofit CORE. While continuing its work in Haiti, CORE activated services in response to devastating hurricanes in The Bahamas, Puerto Rico, Antigua, Florida and North Carolina. In March of 2020, CORE’s work extended to the COVID-19 pandemic, activating a response effort inclusive of providing vaccinations, testing and essential resources to communities in Los Angeles, Atlanta, Chicago, the Navajo Nation and several other cities in the U.S., in addition to Brazil, India and Haiti. With the recent devastating earthquake in Haiti, CORE is responding in real-time to provide critical medical relief, emergency shelter, food, water and essential resources.

The Bill Rosendahl Public Service Award will be presented at the 63rd SoCal Journalism Awards Gala on Saturday, October 16th at the Biltmore Millennium Hotel, downtown LA. 

In addition to honoring Sean Penn and Ann Lee, Dr. Sanjay Gupta will be bestowed with the President’s Award for Impact on Media; ABC7’s Marc Brown will be honored with the Joseph M Quinn Award for Lifetime Achievement, Josie Huang, KPCC/LAist, will receive a special First Amendment Award, and Bari Weiss will be presented with the Daniel Pearl Award for Courage and Integrity in Journalism.

The evening will be dedicated to the memory of Ruth Pearl, the mother of slain journalist Daniel Pearl, and Buster Sussman, a member of the LA Press Club since 1948 and a former LAPC director.

More than 500 journalists and media executives are expected to attend this prestigious event. The Los Angeles Press Club is closely monitoring the development of the new Delta variant of Covid and all current information on the evolution of the disease. The LAPC will follow all recommended guidelines from LA County and protocols already in place at the Biltmore Hotel. In addition, we will require proof of vaccination or, in some cases, a negative Covid test and all safety rules specified by the CDC.

Proceeds from the Gala are the largest source of income for the Los Angeles Press Club a 501(c) 3 that speaks for journalists across all media platforms.  All contributions are tax-deductible.

For more information about this event or to sponsor, advertise or buy tickets go to or contact Executive Director Diana Ljungaeus at 310.210.1860 or email

The LAPC is one of the oldest and most respected journalist organizations in the nation with a storied history of honoring the most celebrated reporters of the past century.  In recent years the Los Angeles Press Club has continued to uphold its tradition of acknowledging excellence in spite of the fact that Journalism itself has struggled in the face of ever-declining budgets. 

CORE (Community Organized Relief Effort) is a crisis relief nonprofit organization co-funded by Sean Penn and Ann Lee that is dedicated to saving lives and strengthening communities affected by or vulnerable to crisis. Within hours of the 2010 earthquake in Haiti, Penn mobilized a powerful network to take immediate action. More than 11 years later, CORE continues to lead sustainable programs focused on four pillars: emergency relief, disaster preparedness, environmental resilience, and community building.

More information: and follow CORE on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.

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