While the Red Sox have won their first two World Series championships since 1918 in the Henry regime, they have also taken their game up several notches with regard to community endeavors.
"John's honor tonight is in recognition of his philanthropy and civic responsibility," said Red Sox president and CEO Larry Lucchino, who served as the master of ceremonies for the event. "He's sort of led the charge for us. He points the direction, and we try to march in that direction, because we all agree that's what a baseball team should do.
"It's even more special here because of the history, the tradition, the passion, the overall centrality of baseball to life here. We get more support so we should be giving more in the way of involvement. He deserves some special recognition. We like to do things as a team but, make no mistake, he is the leader of the team."
In typical Henry fashion, even on his big night, he was more in the mood to spread the credit around.
"It's unfortunate that it's given to [just] me," Henry said. "Thankfully [team chairman] Tom [Werner] and Larry are here. It's really the people of our organization that I accept this for. Every morning I get up, I am thankful for the people that I work with, people who are committed not just to what's happening on the field but making a difference off the field."
Much like Lucchino, Werner was thrilled to see Henry recognized with such an honor.
"He deserves it, and he's often been quite shy about his philanthropic endeavors," Werner said. I think it's great that he's being recognized tonight. The Red Sox Foundation does a tremendous amount in the community. We all feel a certain amount of responsibility to be really important and to give people hope, and I think this evening represents John's endeavors."
According to the Web site for the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, the award Henry received is given to those who fit the following profile:
"Those executives who, by their examples and their business practices, have shown a deep concern for the common good beyond the bottom line. These corporate leaders have inherited Woodrow Wilson's commitment to scholarship, public discourse, and the promotion of knowledge both at home and abroad. They work tirelessly in the service of their belief that private firms should be good citizens in their own neighborhoods and in the world at large.
"They understand that good citizenship can come in many forms, such as promoting renewed growth and vigor in economically disadvantaged towns and neighborhoods, supporting the arts, encouraging ties between different sectors of society, promoting international cooperation and understanding, and improving education at all levels. Recipients of this prestigious award recognize the unique, enlightened role they can play in improving society in general, while at the same time advancing the long-term interests of their firms, employees and shareholders."
In a news release promoting the event, Henry was lauded for several of his charitable endeavors:
"In addition to bringing home championships, the Red Sox organization has made significant contributions to the community, particularly through the Red Sox Foundation. Established in 2002, the Red Sox Foundation has become the largest charitable organization in MLB and the largest sports charity in New England. It has also enhanced the Red Sox's 56-year partnership with the Jimmy Fund, promoting the advancement of educational and societal well-being in Boston and throughout New England.
"After years of privately supporting many charitable organizations, in 2004 Henry established the John W. Henry Family Foundation to promote child development, support local educational initiatives, and to fund clinical programs and research in stem cells and mind/body. Since its inception, the John W. Henry Family Foundation has supported numerous charitable organizations in New England and in Florida, the most notable of which is the Benson-Henry Institute for Mind/Body Medicine."