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Sadie Awards

Past Sadie Awards Honorees


Sadie Awards Recipients

Dr. Levi Watkins*

Dr. Levi Watkins overcame prejudice to become Chief of Cardiology at Johns Hopkins then went on to invent the first implantable defibrillator. He also became a key player in the civil rights movement, was a prominent force for creating opportunity for minority students to be admitted to Johns Hopkins in medicine and was involved in philanthropic work throughout the community.


Donald Manekin

Donald Manekin throughout his life exhibits his desire to give back to the community. This is reflected in his philanthropy and his interest in improving education for those who are socially and economically disadvantaged. He took on the tremendous task of improving the business and financial operations of the Baltimore City School System.

Ron Shapiro

Ron Shapiro has taken on challenges all of his life and worked to improve the community through using the law to promote civil rights, through his charity work, by creating civic pride in Baltimore, and as an educator and author. Ron’s philosophy of life is consistent with the values and principles that The Children’s Guild is founded upon.

Bill Struever

Bill Struever exemplifies a “can do” spirit in everything he does, from revitalizing the landmarks of Baltimore to tackling the challenges of the Baltimore City School System. He has a special ability to not only rejuvenate antiquated structures, but also to rekindle a sense of neighborhood around the buildings he’s resurrected.

Walter Sondheim*

Walter Sondheim demonstrated the spirit of the Sadie Award by his ability to lead the desegregation of Baltimore City Schools without violence, to guide the development of Baltimore’s Inner Harbor and by doing so initiating the renaissance of the city. In addition, he was a confidant and advisor to governors, mayors and business leaders. In doing so, he earned their respect and admiration and never lost his humility nor his willingness to serve when called upon.


Steve and Mindy Geppi

Steve and Mindy Geppi. Steve made the impossible possible by rising from a school drop out to becoming a mailman to being the “Comic Book King” and a community leader who has played a key role in Baltimore’s renaissance. He has been a a partial owner of the Baltimore Orioles, the owner of Baltimore Magazine and helped scores of charities. Mindy emanates a “can do” spirit through her volunteer efforts and has chaired numerous galas for charities.

Lou Grasmick*

Lou Grasmick demonstrated his ability to make the impossible possible over and over again through making it from the sand lots to the big leagues, overcoming poverty and family hardships. He was known for his entrepreneurial skills, helping to rejuvenate Baltimore’s image, exhibiting quiet heroism to help individuals in need, and helping scores of charities raise funds to benefit people in the community.


Nick Tsakalos* and Jeanne Tsakalos

Nick Tsakalos and Jeanne Tsakalos manifested their spirit of making the impossible possible through helping to expand H&S Bakery. As the children of first- generation immigrants, they grew H&S Bakery from a small bakery to a national business. Their philanthropy helped to improve Baltimore and further the mission of the Greek Orthodox Church locally, nationally and internationally.


Leroy Merritt*

Leroy Merritt was a man who represents the concept of what it means to be a “True American.” An Eagle Scout, a soap box derby winner, the boy entrepreneur, the athlete, the teacher, the builder, the philanthropist who cares about children, women and education, and a block layer who transformed himself into a major real estate developer. These are just a few of the descriptors that give credence to his status as a “True American”.


Ray Lewis and Sunseria “Buffy” Smith

Ray Lewis and Sunseria “Buffy” Smith were honored as a mother-son team. Ray for becoming one of the greatest linebackers in NFL history and his commitment to family, community and for providing personal and economic assistance to disadvantaged youth. His mother, Buffy, was honored for being a single mom who overcame tremendous odds to raise her children to overcome whatever adversity they faced in life. Both of them make the impossible possible every day.

Frank Kelly and Janet Kelly

Frank Kelly and Janet Kelly embody the spirit of the Sadie Award having established a business in the basement of their home that became a company responsible for over $1.4 billion in insurance premiums and 13,000 clients. Frank also created the Adams Cowley Shock Trauma Center and was named one of the most effective members of the Maryland State Senate. He continues to be a driving force for change in Maryland. Both Janet and Frank have made major gifts to charities, served on many not-for-profit boards, and took in a foster child.

Sheela Murthy

Sheela Murthy works to improve the lives of society’s most vulnerable and disenfranchised people in both India and the United States, especially women, children and immigrants. She established the largest immigration law firm in the world through the internet. Sheila is helping to transform India through establishing United Ways across India and has founded a school and an orphanage there, and has also played a major role in women’s rights through her work with the Girl Scouts of America.

Lee Warner

Lee Warner is a true leader in the field of financial services. Known as the man you can always count on ,he is aware of the importance of giving back to the community. He knows that the success of his business is built on strong relationships with his clients and providing the highest possible level of service. He has a passionate dedication to professionalism, education and high ethical standards.

Ellen Yankellow

Ellen Yankellow is a visionary, philanthropist, and entrepreneur and has a strong commitment to delivering the highest quality service to the many lives she impacts as a national leader in the advancement of clinical pharmacy services. She is one of the leading women pharmacists in the country. She is also committed to a culture of caring and has a passion for community service as reflected in her philanthropic activities and the many board seats she holds.

Stephen J. Woerner

Stephen J. Woerner is an industry leader, civic leader and philanthropist and is president and chief operating officer of BGE. He has a tremendous sense of responsibility and instills in his employees the commitment to service and accountability to the people of Maryland who depend on them. He actively participates in community affairs by giving his time, talent, and support to many causes and is a strong believer in giving back to the community and making a difference and embodies the spirit