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John Shinsky Wins Humanitarian Award

Founder of NPH’s Ciudad de los Niños and NPH USA National Board member John Shinsky has been named the 2015 recipient of the Dungy-Thompson Humanitarian Award.

Cindy and John ShinskyDecember 4, 2015

NPH USA is very pleased to announce that Former Michigan State Academic All-American John Shinsky has been named the 2015 recipient of the Dungy-Thompson Humanitarian Award. The award, which was announced on November 24, 2015, recognizes Big Ten football players that have achieved success in the areas of leadership and humanitarianism after their college careers have ended.

Shinsky was a three-year letter-winner for Michigan State from 1970-73, earning Academic All-America recognition and second-team All-Big Ten honors in 1973. Since then, he has established himself as a selfless humanitarian.

A former orphan, Shinsky had a dream to build an orphanage which would provide children in need with adequate food, shelter, safety, love, support, and training for future independence. In 2004, he became aware of the terrible living conditions for children in Matamoros, Mexico, which is located across the U.S. border from Brownsville, Texas. “Matamoros is plagued by poverty and violence from drug gangs,” said Shinsky. “Thousands of children live on $1.00 per day and sleep in cardboard houses with only the garbage dump as their neighborhood.” In 2005, Shinsky and his wife Cindy founded Ciudad de Niños, “City of the Children,” a home for orphaned and abandoned children in Matamoros. Two years later, Shinsky biked from East Lansing to Mexico to raise funds for the orphanage.

In 2009, Shinsky partnered with Nuestros Pequeños Hermanos International (NPHI) and its American fundraising arm, NPH USA, to open and operate Ciudad de los Niños. The partnership allows the organizations to combine their unique resources and strengths for the shared mission of transforming the lives of orphaned, abandoned and disadvantaged children. Today nearly 40 children call Ciudad home. They receive healthcare, education, training and opportunities that enable them to become self-sufficient adults who give back to their community.

For his efforts with Ciudad de los Niños, Shinsky received the Duffy Daugherty Award in 2005, named in honor of Michigan State’s legendary coach that has been presented annually since 1975 to a Spartan football alumnus who has distinguished himself both on and off the field following his graduation. Prior to founding the orphanage, Shinsky served as the Director of Special Education for the Lansing School District from 1981 until 2000. He is currently Professor and Department Chairperson in the College of Education at Grand Valley State University, serves on NPH USA’s national board of directors and continues to raise funds to support the children of NPH.

“Over the years, the Shinskys have raised hundreds of thousands dollars to support the children we serve,” said NPH USA President and Chief Executive Officer, Frank Donaghue. “They are passionate ambassadors for vulnerable boys and girls who once lived in bleak circumstances but now have the chance to have bright futures.”

The Ford-Kinnick Leadership and Dungy-Thompson Humanitarian awards are part of the Big Ten’s annual awards program. The Ford-Kinnick Leadership Award is named for Michigan’s Gerald Ford and Iowa’s Nile Kinnick. The Dungy-Thompson Humanitarian Award is named for Minnesota’s Tony Dungy and Indiana’s Anthony Thompson.

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Above: Cindy and John Shinsky at the Annual Football Legends Classic, which they organize