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“We All Have the Power to Move the Ball Forward”: Michael J. Fox Honored with ‘Yolanda D. King Higher Ground Award’

MJF receives Yolanda D. King Higher Ground Award

Known for his signature optimism and tireless work toward helping to advance scientific progress through The Michael J. Fox Foundation (MJFF), our intrepid founder continues to mark his legacy. Earlier this month, The King Center released its annual list of “Beloved Community Award” winners to an impressive group of changemakers in government, business, philanthropy, social justice and the arts who are transforming the world and inspiring the next generation to do the same.

Accepting the Yolanda D. King Higher Ground Award, Michael J. Fox was recognized as an entertainer who has faced obstacles and adversities by taking the higher ground in working for justice and addressing challenges that advance humanity through engaging in compassionate action.

“I congratulate each 2024 honoree. Their unwavering commitment to justice, equity and peace reflect the heart and soul of the Beloved Community,” said global thought leader, daughter of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and King Center CEO Dr. Bernice A. King.

The Yolanda D. King Higher Ground Award was presented by the late Muhammad Ali’s daughter, undefeated boxing world champion and TV host Laila Ali during the annual Beloved Community Awards on January 15 in Atlanta, Georgia.

  • Accepting the award on behalf of Michael J. Fox, Kristin Pate

    Kristin Pate, MJFF's vice president of foundation and corporate giving, accepts the award on Michael J. Fox's behalf.

  • Kristin Pate with Dr. Bernice A. King and Dr. Angela Farris Watkins

    MJFF's vice president of foundation and corporate giving Kristin Pate alongside Dr. Bernice A King, global thought leader and CEO of The King Center (right), and Dr. Angela Farris Watkins, Board member of The King Center and niece of Dr. Martin Luther King, JR. 


Accepting the award virtually, Michael reflected candidly on the power we each have in building greater outcomes for our communities even during life’s challenges:

“We all have the opportunity to move the ball forward on what matters most to us, whether it’s transforming unjust systems or curing a disease.”

He shared his unwavering gratitude for the worldwide Parkinson’s community and their role in the Foundation’s tremendous research progress since its inception in 2000:

“Seeing the progress we’ve made and the lives we’ve touched through the Foundation has been one of the greatest privileges of my life.”

Since 1968, the King Center has celebrated Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s birthday by inspiring new generations to carry forward its namesake’s legacy and work. The Beloved Community Awards recognize individuals and organizations who are doing something substantive to create the “Beloved Community” in their respective areas of influence. Browse the entire list of Beloved Community Award winners here.

Please join us in sending our sincere congratulations to Michael on this latest honor! And watch Michael’s full acceptance speech below.

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