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The Greg Farrell Award

Lighting Sparks, Living Boldly, Leaving the World a Better Place

The Award honors the legacy and life of Gregory Rowland (Greg) Farrell, a visionary educational leader and public servant; a founder of NYC Outward Bound Schools and EL Education (formerly Expeditionary Learning); and Executive Director of the Fund for the City of New York. A group of Greg’s former colleagues from the early crew of NYC Outward Bound Schools staff established the Award as a way to express their love and appreciation for Greg. Most of the group were personally recruited by Greg in the late 1980s to help bring the principles and practices of his beloved Outward Bound to New York City. All have felt supported and shaped by their long connection and friendship with Greg.

A dreamer and doer, Greg possessed an exceptional ability to recognize and cultivate the gifts of others, support creativity, service, and adventure, and foster innovation for a better, more just society. Each year the Award recognizes an individual or team that exemplifies the qualities that Greg exhibited and that he sought to nurture in others. The Award is announced annually in December and comes with a $5,000 cash award.

Hover over the image and use the arrow on the right-hand side of the photo to scroll through the gallery. Photos courtesy of EL Education and NYC Outward Bound Schools.

Award Selection Criteria

Awardees should demonstrate the following qualities:

  • Dedication to improving the lives of others and impacting the greater good
  • A knack for recognizing the gifts of others and empowering them to use their unique capacity to help others
  • Lively imagination, inquiring mind, and passion for exploration, experimentation and out-of-the-box thinking
  • An ability to translate innovative ideas and approaches into effective strategies
  • Commitment to collaboration and to sharing lessons from experience
  • Deep abiding kindness, interest in others, and spirit of adventure, curiosity, wonder and delight

We especially encourage nominations of individuals who are neither at the very beginning nor at the end of their professional journeys – and are poised for even greater contributions in the years ahead. This is not intended to be a lifetime achievement award. 

Nomination and Selection Process

Anyone or any group/organization may nominate. Nominations may be for an individual (of any age) or team from, for example, a school, district office, nonprofit organization, community group, governmental entity, etc. We especially encourage members of Greg’s expansive network of friends, colleagues and organizations — people who knew him well and cherished his spirit — to spread the word and to make nominations. Nominations for 2022 are now closed.

Click below to donate online or send a check payable to “NYC Outward Bound Schools” to:
Attn: Greg Farrell Award, NYC Outward Bound Schools, 2946 Northern Boulevard, Long Island City, NY 11101

Click Here to Support the Award Fund

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For issues or inquiries, please reach out to [email protected].

Meet our 2022 Award Winner and Finalists

Tonya Dreher was chosen from among a stellar group of 9 nominees as our 2022 recipient of the Greg Farrell Award. 

August 2019, we descended on him en masse at the Farrell “Palace” and yurtland in the Adirondacks for precious days of storytelling, laughter, reminiscing, feasting, and the pure joy of being all together once again. He inspired us, and we loved him — and were devastated as you all were when he passed. We just couldn’t let him go without creating some way to honor his extraordinary legacy and to perpetuate his values, vision and special way of being in the world. 

Award Committee

Thea Daniels, Paul Herdman, Susan McCray, Leah Rugen, Richard Stopol, Jeanne Sturges, Sanna Randolph Thomas, Denis Udall & Paola Vita

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