The Paul M. Chase Memorial Prize: Inaugural Co-Winners Announced on Oct. 23rd

I. Paul M. Chase Memorial Prize: Inaugural Winners of the PMC Prize Announced!

During the month of Sept. and Oct., the Paul M. Chase Memorial Prize Review Committee, convened by the Hoosier Environmental Council, looked over the applications of nearly 50 candidates, so many of whom have done exceptional things for the betterment of our world.    On October 23rd, in celebration of Paul Chase’s birthday, we announced the Co-Winners of the inaugural PMC Prize as Ashley Ring (Christel House Academy South) and Olivia Kavanaugh (Perry Meridian High School), two exceptional high school seniors!


PMC Prize Advisory Council members, Convened by HEC, flank the Co-Winners of the Paul M. Chase Memorial Prize, Olivia Kavanaugh and Ashley Ring. From left to right, Rhea Newman, Sandy Gosling, Lorraine Chase, Terry Briner, Olivia Kavanaugh, Ashley Ring, Beth Avraham, Kathy Williams, and Jesse Kharbanda (Photo credit should go to “Mark Lee/Great Exposures, on behalf of the Hoosier Environmental Council.”)

The 2016 Co-Winners, both of whom have shown a sincere commitment to better our environment, are:

Ashley Ring, a senior at Christel House Academy.   Ashley has deftly balanced a strong academic career with choir, a part-time job, and a variety of service projects.   She has poured a lot of her volunteer energies into the Humane Society and has also found time to volunteer at a homeless shelter and to play soccer with disabled kids.  Ashley would like to devote her energies in college towards a variety of service projects and to help foster racial reconciliation.   Ashley aspires to be a veterinarian, and has a special interest in making veterinary care affordable to low-income Americans.

Olivia Kavanaugh, a senior at Perry-Meridian High School.  Olivia excels in academics, has been a competitive gymnast for most of her life, plays in the orchestra, serves in student council, and has been a delegate to the Hugh O’Brien Youth Leadership Seminar.   Olivia’s service work has included founding “Blankets for Hope” which makes fleece blankets for patients at Peyton Manning Children’s Hospital; Olivia has also been active in an organization that helps to provide clean water in developing countries.   Olivia aspires to be a pediatric oncologist, inspired by her younger sister who has brain cancer.

Warmest congratulations to Ashley and Olivia, both of whom reflect Paul’s commitment to learning, to serving others, and to healing our environment!   Our gratitude to so many of Paul’s family, friends, and colleagues who have supported the PMC Prize.   Ashley and Olivia will each receive a scholarship of $2,500 upon enrollment in college.   You can support the Paul M. Chase Memorial Prize, which is administered by HEC, by donating here!

Congratulations, also, to the other three PMC Prize Finalists, Alexa Carr (Franklin Central High School), Lilly Springer (Warren Central High School), and Charese Cook (Chrispus Attucks High School)!

II. Background 

A. The Loss of a Great Champion for Those in Need of a Hand

Paul Chase was a great advocate, lawyer, son, partner, brother, uncle, cousin, and friend.   In his more than thirty year career as a lawyer and advocate, Paul stood up for the chronically ill, the disabled, the elderly, and the financially struggling.   He advanced the causes of affordable energy, climate change action, civil rights, consumer rights, health care access & affordability, and renewable power.   Paul’s remarkable abilities, character, humor, and warmth were widely appreciated by the entire breath of the Indiana public interest community (as seen by the tributes in Section IV below), including our organization. Paul, our treasured personal friend and professional colleague, was tragically taken from us, due to a car accident, on June 25, 2014.

B. Keeping Paul’s Spirit Alive: The Announcement of the Paul M. Chase Memorial Prize

In celebration of the life of a true champion of social justice, the Hoosier Environmental Council has established the Paul M. Chase Memorial Prize.

HEC aspires for the Memorial Prize to be not only an annual honor to a worthy young Hoosier who follows in Paul’s footsteps, but a fund for a modest annual scholarship.    We are very thankful that this Memorial Prize has the blessing of Paul’s family and that our announcement of this honor at Paul’s memorial service on July 2, 2014 provided comfort to many who were touched by Paul’s extraordinary life.

C. Turning Vision into Reality: The Formation of the Memorial Prize Advisory Council

On June 25, 2015, the anniversary of Paul’s passing, the Chase-Briner Family and the Hoosier Environmental Council announced the formation of the Paul M. Chase Prize Advisory Council.  The Advisory Council, and its leaders, will together turn the vision of the Paul M. Chase Memorial Prize into reality.    Leslie Chase Korengold, Paul’s younger sister, wrote a beautiful essay about the unfolding of the Council here.

-Aims of the Advisory Council

1. Raise awareness of Paul’s life, inspiring high school students to emulate his selfless dedication to improve the lives of others.
2. Honor a worthy high school senior who embodies Paul’s spirit of compassion, integrity, commitment to the public good, and love of knowledge.
3. Provide a continuing sense of peace and strength to Paul’s family and friends who were honored to have him in their lives, knowing the spirit of his work will continue.

-Advisory Council Co-Chairs and Director

The Paul M. Chase Prize Advisory Council will be co-chaired by Paul’s mother, Lorraine, and Paul’s partner, Terry Briner.  HEC’s Executive Director, Jesse Kharbanda, will serve as Senior Advisor.

-Advisory Council Members

Advisory Council members include Glenn & Sydney Anderson, Beth & Sam Avraham, Joey Avraham, David Chalfie & Mark Demerly, Sandy Gosling & Rhea Newman, David Korengold, Lucas Korengold, Leslie & Richard Korengold, Veronica Korengold, June Lyle, Caitlin Priest, Iris Rosa, Robert Roth, Brenda Stickler, Marci Toler, and Kathy Williams.

-Advisory Council Roles

Advisory Council members may be involved in reviewing scholarship applicants, raising awareness and funds for the Prize Fund, helping to recognize & celebrate future Paul M. Chase Prize winners, and working to keep Paul’s spirit alive in our community and beyond.

III. Support the Paul M. Chase Memorial Prize Fund

If you would like to donate to the Prize Fund, please go to our Donation page and write “Chase Memorial Prize” in the comments box of the Donation page.   If you would like to give a general gift to HEC in memory of Paul, please write “in memory of Paul Chase” in the comments box. In either case, we will notify the Chase Family of your thoughtfulness and your generosity.

IV. The Future: Applications will next be accepted in early 2017.

On October 23, 2016, the Prize went to two deserving Marion County-based public high school seniors who best embodies Paul’s amazing character and commitment to serve others.   They are Ashley Ring (Christel House Academy South) and Olivia Kavanaugh (Perry Meridian High School).   For inquiries about the scholarship, please email
V. Learn More About Paul and His Great Life

Fran Quigley, a law professor and long-time advocate for social justice, wrote a tribute in the Indianapolis Star, and Shelia Suess Kennedy, a prominent political commentator and law professor, wrote a piece about Paul here. John Cardwell and Nancy Griffin, champions for health care access and affordability, write of Paul in the Indianapolis Star.   Mike Leppert, long engaged in the Indiana political scene, shares his thoughts about Paul.   Leslie Chase Korengold, Paul’s younger sister, has written moving and funny reflections about Paul on her blog site.  Many mini-tributes for Paul can be found at the Shalom Memorial Funeral Home page, in this Indianapolis Star article, and across Facebook, such on the group pages of the “Highland Park High School – Our Fallen Classmates” and the African American Dance Company.

On April 21, 2015, the Indiana State Senate adopted SCR 52, a tribute to Paul’s life and to his exceptional contributions to the public good.     In October, Paul was selected as one of five distinguished Hoosiers honored in a new exhibit at the Indiana Historical Society.

VI. Share Your Reflections and Learn More

If you would like us to add a tribute that you’ve written about Paul’s life, write to us at   If you would like to get meaningfully involved in promoting and/or financially supporting the Paul M. Chase Memorial Prize, please reach Jesse Kharbanda, Executive Director of the Hoosier Environmental Council, at