National Institute for Reproductive Health (NIRH) Announces Honorees for 2021 Champions of Choice Awards Gala

April 26, 2021
Contact: Kelly Novak, [email protected]

U.S. Representative Ayanna Pressley, Connecticut Non-Profit Health Equity Solution and Philanthropist Marshall Weinberg to be Honored for Their Continuous Support of Reproductive Freedom

New York, NY – The National Institute for Reproductive Health (NIRH) and NIRH Action Fund proudly announce honorees for the annual Champions of Choice awards gala to be held virtually on Wednesday, April 28th from 6:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m. EDT.  Described as New York City’s “premiere reproductive rights event,” this year’s theme – Purpose. Power. Progress. – will recognize three individuals who have demonstrated their commitment and used their influence to advocate for reproductive health, rights, and justice.

The evening will be emceed by media personality Aisha C. Mills and feature a live table read by some of the original cast members of popular TV drama Private Practice (2007-2013), produced by Shonda Rhimes. Participants include Amy Brenneman, Kate Walsh, Chris Lowell, Audra McDonald, and guest cast member Alysia Reiner (Orange is the New Black) who will portray scenes from a powerful episode that deals with abortion access.

Brenneman and Walsh will also serve as Honorary Chairs of the event along with filmmaker Dawn Porter,  journalist Cindi Leive, filmmaker Margaret Munzer Loeb, philanthropist Nancy Silverman, actress Erika Alexander and social activist and financial advisor Lola C. West.

The 2021 Champions of Choice honorees include:

U.S. Representative Ayanna Pressley – an activist, a legislator, a survivor, and the first woman of color to be elected to Congress from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Throughout her career as a public servant, Congresswoman Pressley has fought to ensure that those closest to the pain are closest to the power – driving and informing policymaking. Throughout her first term in Congress, Congresswoman Pressley has been a champion for justice: reproductive justice, justice for immigrants, consumer justice, justice for ageing Americans, justice for workers, justice for survivors of sexual violence, and justice for the formerly and currently incarcerated. 

Marshall Weinberg – philanthropist and NIRH donor who is passionate about many things, from philosophy to the arts to the environment. An issue that he cares about deeply — and to which he has devoted countless hours — is reproductive rights. “If you care about equality, if you care about opportunity, if you care about families, you have to care about a woman’s right to make decisions about whether and when to have children,” says Weinberg. “If a woman can’t exercise that basic right, then I would argue that not only will she suffer, but so will her family and so, ultimately, will society.” Raised by parents who stressed the importance not only of making the world a better place, but of having a real impact on those in need, Marshall looks to support organizations with practical solutions to seemingly intractable problems.

Health Equity Solutions, represented by Executive Director Dr. Tekisha Dwan Everette, is a non-profit organization with a mission to promote policies, programs, and practices that result in equitable health care access, delivery, and outcomes for all people in Connecticut. Since 2014, their approach to this work centers the lived experience and voices of racial and ethnic minoritized people and communities in Connecticut. This includes a focus on sexual and reproductive health equity, specifically seeking solutions to maternal mortality and comprehensive reproductive care for Black birthing persons in Connecticut.

The National Institute for Reproductive Health (NIRH) is an advocacy group that works directly with state and local reproductive health, rights, and justice organizations and allied groups to protect and advance equitable access to reproductive health care. Its strategy is to go on the offensive to pass laws that safeguard reproductive freedom. NIRH partners with communities to build coalitions, launch campaigns, change the narrative on abortion care, and successfully advocate for policy change, so the fabric of reproductive freedom is harder to tear apart. NIRH partners with and has the support of local and state advocates from Georgia to Oregon, and from Massachusetts to Texas, and so many places in between.

As political, policy, and advocacy organizations, we believe that change comes from the efforts of both organizations and individuals who have the strength to take principled stands, the creativity to find new ways of tackling often-entrenched problems, and the audacity to reach for big goals. In 2021, NIRH’s advocacy spans 24 states, including 15 localities, and the organization is directing a majority of its partnership resources toward working with organizations led by Black, Indigenous, or people of color as part of its ongoing commitment to racial equity.

“It has been a challenging year, but one in which both the National Institute for Reproductive Health and the incredible champions we will be honoring have risen to the occasion by fighting to center and advance reproductive health, right, and justice – even amidst the chaos and turmoil that have surrounded us,” said Andrea Miller, President of the National Institute for Reproductive Health and NIRH Action Fund. “We are thrilled to have the chance to celebrate the endurance and wins of the previous year, take stock of all we’ve accomplished, and set our sights on how we’re emerging more powerfully than ever in 2021.”

Tickets for Champions of Choice Awards are $500 per person, $50 per person for ages 30 and under.  Sponsorship opportunities are available beginning at $5000 and Shannon Carey ([email protected]) can be contacted. For additional information or to purchase tickets please visit here.


The National Institute for Reproductive Health (NIRH) and the National Institute for Reproductive Health Action Fund (NIRH Action Fund) are advocacy groups that fight to protect and advance just and equitable access to reproductive health care and build political power for reproductive freedom. Working hand-in-hand with reproductive health, rights, and justice organizations in states and cities across the country, NIRH and NIRH Action Fund build coalitions, launch campaigns, change policy, and elect candidates who stand up for everyone’s right to control their reproductive lives. Their strategy is to go on the offensive to pass laws that safeguard reproductive freedom. They work in the communities where change is needed, so the fabric of reproductive freedom becomes harder to tear apart.