In recognition of his advocacy for people with disabilities and the sharing of his own journey with mental health, Michael Phelps, the most decorated swimmer of all time, is the recipient of The Ruderman Family Foundation’s Morton E. Ruderman Award in Inclusion.
In sharing his personal story with the world, Phelps has demonstrated the importance of taking care of oneself and accessing help when needed. In a world in which shame and stigma are pervasive, Phelps’ leadership in advocacy, raising awareness and destigmatizing mental health is critical.
Michael Phelps is the most decorated swimmer in history, capturing a total of 28 medals including a record-setting 23 gold medals, over the course of his career.
Since retirement from swimming, Phelps has dedicated his time and energy to promote the importance of water-safety and normalizing the conversation surrounding mental health.
The Award, now in its fifth year, was named after Morton E. Ruderman, a founder of the Ruderman Family Foundation. A successful entrepreneur, mentor and proud family man, he saw his success as the result of help he received from others and was therefore passionate about providing opportunities for others – including assisting many people in becoming independent and successful in business. In years’ prior, the award has gone to advocates from several societal sectors, including Academy Award-winning actress Marlee Matlin, former Iowa Senator and driving force behind the Americans with Disability Act, Senator Tom Harkin, disability self-advocate Ari Ne’eman and Harvard Law Professor Michael Stein.