About The Bellmon Awards
The Henry Bellmon Awards recognize those people, companies, and organizations that are committed to developing the “triple bottom line.” This bottom line continues to measure profits, but also evaluates the organization’s impact on people and on the planet. Our award winners recognize that their investment in social capital and environmental capital builds financial capital.
When we consider sustainability, we tend to think about the environmental aspect: carbon footprints, greenhouse gases, and ecosystems, etc. Economic and social factors are now recognized as equally important features of sustainability.
The triple bottom line is a balancing act in which organizations take into account the impact they may have on all three aspects of sustainability, beyond the economic viability of the business.
PEOPLE, or social sustainability, focuses on developing mutually beneficial relationships with employees, customers or clients, and the community. These activities strengthen the organization’s positive profile and customer and community support.
PROFIT, or economic sustainability, focuses on business efficiency, productivity, and profit.
PLANET, or environmental sustainability, focuses on the impact of resource usage, hazardous substances, waste, and emissions on the physical environment. These activities may have a direct benefit for a business by reducing costs.
The Henry Bellmon Award
Our hallmark prize, the Henry Bellmon Award, recognizes leadership and effectiveness in each of the triple bottom line categories.
The People Award – Quality of Life
Putting people first is good for every program, project, or organization, and it is good for our community. Focusing on quality of life builds goodwill and loyalty among the people who make the enterprise possible. This helps make the organization sustainable over the long term.
The Profit Award – Responsible Economic Growth
Organizations realize the value of a clear, long-term strategy focused on maximizing profitability and sustainable growth in an increasingly complex and competitive market.
The Planet Award – Environmental Stewardship
This represents an organization’s efforts to avoid activities that harm the environment and to reduce any negative impact on the ecosystem. Many companies may actively initiate additional practices, like implementing wind power, that can increase a company’s profitability while benefiting the health of the planet.
Henry Bellmon was an early champion of sustainability in Oklahoma. Even though the motto would become well known only years later, we have no doubt Henry Bellmon would embrace a commitment to People – Profit – Planet. That is why we honor him as the namesake for the annual Oklahoma awards for stewardship and sustainability.
“Dad loved the land and never tired of teaching us about nature and its beauty and mystery,” noted daughters Pat Hoerth, Ann McFerron, and Gail Wynne. “We hope to honor his legacy by teaching others and continuing to find better ways to live more sustainably with Earth.”
Henry Bellmon earned his political and personal reputation by speaking with the voice of a man raised by the land. Mr. Bellmon’s life demonstrated his commitment to sustainability. He encouraged sustainability in people through education reform and the passage of a state civil-rights law and a minimum-wage law. He encouraged sustainability in profit through the practice of conservative principles in state and national government. He encouraged sustainability in the environment through his support of soil conservation and the Clean Water Act and his lifelong vocation as a farmer outside Billings, Oklahoma.
Oklahoma Policy Institute honored Mr. Bellmon with the 2014 Good Sense/Good Cents Award. The annual award honors political leaders whose political service is distinguished by a commitment to respectful political dialogue, sound fiscal stewardship, and concern for the less fortunate.
Henry Bellmon was born in 1921 in Tonkawa, Oklahoma. As one of 13 children in a family surviving the Depression, Mr. Bellmon was ingrained with a strong work ethic, which he used to work his way through OSU (then Oklahoma A&M). Mr. Bellmon carried this work ethic to the Marine Corps, where he was taken to the Pacific Theater and Iwo Jima. He was awarded the Legion of Merit and a Silver Star.
Mr. Bellmon’s political career began in 1946 in the Oklahoma House of Representatives. In 1962, he was named Oklahoma’s first Republican Governor in nearly 60 years. He served in the United States Senate for 12 years. In 1981, he returned to Billings to tend to the family’s 1,600-acre farm. He won another term as governor in 1986. In 1987, Henry Bellmon returned to the governor’s office for another term.
Henry Bellmon passed away in 2009, remaining active through his final days.