On Monday, November 18th, while the Dallas Cowboys absorbed the impact of the Philadelphia Eagles’ soaring to first in the division, the Horatio Alger Association of Distinguished Americans selected their owner, Jerry Jones, for the Horatio Alger Award Class of 2014.
“I have had many thrills in my life, but to be inducted into Horatio Alger Association . . . is both gratifying and humbling. I look forward to representing the Association as proudly and as passionately as I represent the Dallas Cowboys,” Jones said in a press release Monday.
Since 1947, this yearly award has recognized philanthropic leaders with a commitment to higher education who have overcome significant personal challenges to achieve success. Jerry joins eleven other business and civic leaders from across the continent in accepting this award.
On Tuesday the 19th at the Salvation Army’s annual outreach event in Dallas, his wife of fifty years, Gene Jones had time to speak about her husband’s award that presidents and captains of industry have previously won.
“It sure makes you count your blessings and realize that really wonderful things have happened in our life,” Mrs. Jones added. “And Jerry has made the most of every opportunity that has come along for him and he’s always wanted to do for others because he remembers the people that lent a hand to him when he was a young man trying to make his way in life.”
Born in Los Angeles, California and raised in North Little Rock, Arkansas, Jerry always worked in his father’s grocery store, above which the family also had a residence. He later earned a scholarship to the University of Arkansas and co-captained the 1964 National Championship team. He graduated in 1965 with both a B.A and MBA and began his career as executive vice president of Modern Security Life Insurance. On the side, he invested in a myriad of real estate and oil and gas ventures. In 1989, Jerry bought the Dallas Cowboys and the lease on Texas Stadium for $140 million. Today, the Dallas Cowboys are worth $2.3 billion.
Today, Jones is involved with various philanthropic ventures from the Salvation Army to the Gene and Jerry Jones Family Charities to raising funds for local children’s hospitals. It’s easy to give back when one is so wealthy in the spotlight, but Mrs. Jones states Jerry has, “always had a big heart.”
The central point for his charitable heart has been putting his family first. Jerry always wanted to give everything possible to his children.
“Our children have always come first,” Mrs. Jones explained. “Of course, you have your spiritual world that comes first as well. But our children have always been important in our life. And then doing for others is just automatic what you want to do if you have a chance.”
Gene and Jerry’s children do come first, even in business. Children Stephen, Jerry, Jr., and Charlotte are each executive vice presidents in the Dallas Cowboys organization.
Charlotte Jones Anderson doesn’t evaluate football talent, but utilizes the football talent for community outreach in her roll as executive vice president and chief brand officer. Mrs. Anderson had a moment Tuesday at the Salvation Army’s annual outreach event to comment on her father’s prestigious award.
“That is an incredible honor. And I think we are all very excited for him. Obviously, we are biased and we think he’s well-deserved of it. And we’re just excited to see him recognized,” Anderson, an executive vice president of the Dallas Cowboys, said.
Always very driven, Mrs. Jones said her husband’s work ethic through the years, “has only increased.”
“Jerry Jones’ leadership and work ethic are unparalleled,” said Tony Novelly, president and CEO, Horatio Alger Association and 2000 Horatio Alger Award recipient. “When looking at all of his accomplishments, it is clear that Mr. Jones not only meets the standard for lifetime Membership of the Association but exceeds it. From his business acuity to his renowned generosity, especially in the Dallas community, we are proud to welcome him as a Member. We have no doubt that he will serve as a wonderful advocate for the Association and its mission.”
Jerry Jones will officially be inducted in April 2014 in Washington, D.C. along with the eleven other members as part of a three-day ceremony. Concurrently, the Horatio Alger Association will also recognize its 2014 National Scholarship recipients, which offers, “an opportunity for Scholars and Members to meet and exchange stories of their respective perseverance and success.”
For more information on the Horatio Alger Association, please visit www.horatioalger.org.