LBJ Liberty & Justice For All Award

Willie NelsonMusician

Highlights Video

Press Release

AUSTIN, TX, May 13, 2023 – LBJ Foundation honors Texas icon Willie Nelson with an endowed university initiative in his name benefitting rural America at a concert and award gala.

The LBJ Foundation has presented its highest honor, the LBJ Liberty & Justice for All Award, to Texas singer-songwriter and legend Willie Nelson at a gala dinner Friday night that featured musical performances by Eric Church, Sam Hunt, Elle King and Lyle Lovett.

And while there have been many tributes to Nelson this year, including the announcement that he will be inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, the sold-out celebration at the LBJ Presidential Library raised funds to create the Willie Nelson Endowment for Uplifting Rural Communities in honor of his longtime philanthropy and commitment to family farms and sustainable agriculture.

Conversation with Willie Nelson

The many contributions received through the gala has enabled the LBJ Foundation to establish the Willie Nelson Endowment for Uplifting Rural Communities at the LBJ School of Public Affairs, a part of The University of Texas at Austin.

The endowment will carry Willie’s legacy of support for farming families through funding for research and student fellowships focused on sustainable agriculture, eliminating hunger, resilient energy, sustainable water, and natural disaster recovery to benefit rural and farm communities.

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President Lyndon B. Johnson in the Oval Office. Portrait by Arnold Newman.

About the LBJ Foundation

Established by President and Mrs. Johnson in 1969, the LBJ Foundation is a nonprofit organization comprised of a board of trustees and administrative staff that supports the LBJ Presidential Library and the LBJ School of Public Affairs at The University of Texas at Austin.

The LBJ Presidential Library, operated under the auspices of the National Archives and Records Administration, maintains the archive of President Johnson's administration and political career and promotes his legacy while providing, in his words, "a springboard for the future" through public programming aimed at addressing the issues of our time. The Foundation enhances the Library by directing public programming, administering the museum's store and admissions operations, and directing grants for researchers and scholars.

The LBJ School of Public Affairs embodies President Johnson's living legacy by nurturing leaders and public servants in the hopes that they will pursue what he called "the oldest, most basic mission of our country: to right wrong, to do justice, to serve man." The Foundation provides financial support for the school for the outstanding education it offers its graduate students in public policy and government affairs, community outreach, and global initiatives.

All bearing our 36th President's name, these three institutions—the LBJ Foundation, the LBJ Presidential Library, and the LBJ School of Public Affairs—preserve Lyndon B. Johnson's consequential legacy while pursuing his hopeful vision for the future.