This article was published in partnership with Land Rover.
Do you know of a nonprofit organization in your community or a supporting charity that deserves recognition, and maybe a new Land Rover? Nominations are being accepted now for this year’s Land Rover Defender Service Awards, a program that honors and celebrates the people and organizations making a difference in their communities.
The awards program was launched in 2021, inspired by acts of public service and selflessness by individuals and charities during the covid pandemic. The program expanded in 2022 to include nonprofits and partner organizations. The winners of last year’s Defender Service Awards received a total of $300,000 dollars and five Defender 130 models.
For 2023, the awards include the Land Rover Defender 130 P300 S, which the company says has, for decades, “been known worldwide for enabling service workers to reach the most remote places across the globe in efforts of helping others.”
Presenting sponsor Chase will provide $150,000 to the finalists, and additional sponsors will contribute $25,000 to each of the category winners.
2023 Defender Service Awards and Sponsors
Category sponsors for this year’s program are:
Veteran and Civil Servant Outreach Award, Presented by Hearts and ScienceCommunity Services Award, Presented by ei3Search and Rescue and Emergency Services Award, Presented by PELICANOutdoor Accessibility and Education Award, Presented by Outside Interactive Inc.Animal, Wildlife and Marine Mammal Welfare Award, Presented by Animal Planet
Each category highlights a different aspect of service, giving a voice and a vehicle to a few organizations deserving of them. The program is open to organizations in the continental U.S., Canada, and Puerto Rico.
The awards also give these worthy organizations a chance to win a customized Defender 130 SUV. The Defender 130 is a longer, roomier version of the legendary off-road SUV that returned in 2020. It seats up to eight people and carries up to 88.9 cubic feet of cargo, making it ideal for hauling supplies, volunteers, or equipment for missions. The winners will get to work with the Defender team to accessorize their vehicle according to their specific needs.
How to Enter the 2023 Defender Service Awards
The Defender Service Awards program is now open for nominations. Contenders must complete an entry form and submit a video (up to three minutes long), where eligible organizations can showcase their mission, impact, and explain how a Defender 130 would boost their efforts.
From now to July 21, 2023, individuals from various fields of service can nominate themselves or their organizations for the awards.
A panel of judges will review the submissions and select the finalists, who best represent the Defender spirit and show outstanding commitment to their cause. The finalist videos will then be posted online for public voting at Landroverusa.com and Landrover.ca starting in September.
The winners will be announced at a special event celebrating the Defender community, adventure, and service this fall.
Each category finalist will win $5,000 from Chase and $2,500 from Warner Bros. Discovery and each category winner will receive $25,000 from their sponsor, in addition to a custom Defender 130.
The 2022 Land Rover Defender Service Awards Winners
The categories and winning organizations from 2022.
Veteran Outreach Award, presented by dentsu X: This category salutes the men and women who’ve served our country and protected our communities, honoring organizations that offer vital support to military veterans, firefighters, first responders, and police officers injured in action.
2022 Winner: Patriot Service Dogs, a Marion County, Fla.-based organization that provides trained service dogs at no charge to honorably discharged veterans dealing with issues such as PTSD, traumatic brain injuries, mobility challenges, and military sexual trauma.
Community Services Award, presented by ei3: Here, Defender applauds organizations that tackle critical social issues within their communities, from fighting food insecurity and homelessness to empowering seniors.
2022 winner: Mercy Chefs is a faith-based, non-profit group that serves up meals and clean water to people in need during disasters and emergencies, often trekking over dangerous terrain to get there. So far, Mercy Chefs has dished out over 20 million meals in 150 disasters, 29 states, and 12 countries, thanks to their 10,000 volunteers.
Search and Rescue Award, presented by Pelican: When disaster strikes and lives are at stake, heroes step up to provide crucial support. This category recognizes organizations involved in remote area search and rescue, natural disaster support, firefighting, and other emergency services facing dangerous situations.
2022 winner: Sauvetage Bénévole Outaouais Ottawa Volunteer Search and Rescue (SBO-OVSAR) is a volunteer-based search and rescue organization that plays a key role in Western Quebec and Eastern Ontario. It offers critical assistance during emergencies and delivers public education programs that teach safe outdoor practices.
Animal Welfare Award, presented by KONG: This category acknowledges organizations committed to promoting outdoor accessibility, adaptive sports programs, environmental education, and conservation efforts, honoring those who work to ensure everyone has the chance to enjoy nature.
2022 winner: Appalachian Bear Rescue is on a mission to care for orphaned and injured black bear cubs, rehabilitating them for eventual release back into their natural habitats. In addition to their crucial wildlife conservation efforts, the nonprofit raises awareness about coexisting with black bears and more.
Environmental and Conservation Award, presented by Outside Interactive, Inc.: Heroes come in all shapes and sizes, and this category salutes those who work tirelessly to protect and conserve animal, wildlife, and marine mammal welfare. These champions devote their lives to preserving our planet’s precious biodiversity.
2022 winner: Green Lake Association safeguards Wisconsin’s deepest natural inland lake. This nonprofit organization serves as a model for cleaner lakes within the Lake Michigan basin and around the world, from restoring missing species to tackling water quality.
An additional category will give finalists (but not winners) from the 2021 and 2022 contests another crack at winning a Defender.
If you know of an organization or individual making a difference, let them know about the awards program, which is accepting nominations. They might just drive away with a symbol of their dedication.