Children's National on Dec. 7 honored producer George Stevens, Jr., with the "Friend of Children Award" for his leadership in creating and producing the Christmas in Washington concert for more than 30 years. At the organization's annual meeting, Mike Williams, chairman of the board, said, "George Stevens, Jr., had a big idea over 30 years ago -- to celebrate Washington, DC, at the holiday season by bringing together the First Family of the United States and talented performers at an iconic building for the benefit of Children's National. Christmas in Washington brought Children's National into the homes of millions of people and introduced new friends to our mission.
Williams noted, "The Christmas in Washington production team was a family matter -- two generations of Stevens family members made the production possible." Stevens accepted the award on behalf of himself and his son, Michael, who passed away earlier this year.
The concert was first aired on NBC in 1982 and went to TNT in 1998. Recorded at the National Building Museum, the event was attended by every president from President Ronald Reagan to President Barack Obama. In addition to raising significant visibility and revenue for Children's National, Stevens also helped brighten the holidays for children by inviting the performers to visit the hospital. In recent years, Christmas in Washington visitors have included Conan O'Brien, Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, Charles Barkley, Justin Bieber, Victoria Justice, Scotty McCreery, Megan Hilty, Demi Lovato, and Chris Mann. Others have supported the hospital by making PSAs, including Hugh Jackman, Sheryl Crow, the Backstreet Boys, Janelle Monae, and Annie Lennox.