Houston jeweler and philanthropist I.W. Marks has been honored with the Jefferson Award, part of a national program of the American Institute for Public Service, which recognizes public and community service. Marks has long been at the forefront of charitable giving to a variety of Houston causes, including education, medicine, and the arts. He serves on executive committees and boards of such organizations as the Society of the Performing Arts, the Houston Grand Opera, the Houston Symphony, Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo, Crime Stoppers, and the Better Business Bureau. In 1998, he launched his most ambitious grassroots arts initiative with a major gift to the Jewish Community Center to renovate its two theatres and lecture hall. Last year, he made a contribution to the Institute for Rehabilitation and Research that enabled the medical center to construct the 2,500-sq.-ft. I.W. Marks Therapy Gym.
The award was sponsored locally by KPRC-TV Channel 2 and Reliant Energy. KPRC-TV anchorwoman Linda Lorelle presented Marks with the award medallion—a replica of the Great Seal of the United States, designed and underwritten by The Franklin Mint. The national program was founded in 1972 by Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, Senator Robert Taft Jr., and Sam Beard.