The LBJ Foundation honoring Willie Nelson

Country star honored with the LBJ Liberty & Justice for All Award

The LBJ Foundation will present its most prestigious honor, the LBJ Liberty & Justice for All Award, to Willie Nelson on Friday, May 12th at a gala dinner at the LBJ Presidential Library. A lifelong advocate for farmers, alleviating food insecurity, and support of rural communities, Nelson embodies President Lyndon Baines Johnson’s commitment to public service, particularly in the areas of farming and food security.

Net proceeds from the gala tribute will benefit the newly established Willie Nelson Endowment for Uplifting Rural Communities at the LBJ School of Public Affairs, a part of The University of Texas at Austin. The endowment will fund research and student fellowships focused on sustainable agriculture, eliminating hunger, resilient energy, sustainable water, and natural disaster recovery to benefit rural and farm communities.

Larry Temple, Chairman of the LBJ Foundation Board of Trustees, says the endowment helps to cement Nelson’s legacy, “Willie Nelson is a national treasure who gained fame through his sheer musical talent and won hearts as someone who truly cares about the lives of his fellow Americans. A product of rural Texas, Willie has never forgotten where he comes from. His longtime efforts to raise money and awareness for family farmers through Farm Aid and numerous other endeavors to help those in need throughout his career make him a true inspiration.”

President Johnson and Nelson share similar backgrounds as rural Texans, aware of the struggles of those who work in the agricultural industry. As President Johnson said in a 1965 Special Message to Congress on Agriculture, “The bounty of the earth is the foundation of our economy. Programs in every aspect of our nation’s life depend on the abundant harvests of our farms.” Nelson has long supported our nation’s farmers through Farm Aid, established in 1985, which has raised over $70 million for those who own and operate family farms throughout the United States. He has also helped raise millions around disaster relief, for families of the victims of the 9/11 attacks and for veterans, as well as working toward environmental and animal advocacy, and voting rights.

Nelson is a legend in the music world. A prolific songwriter, he has spent much of his life “on the road again,” with his family and guitar, Trigger, performing for the passionate across the world. He has won multiple Grammys, was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1993, received a Kennedy Center Honor in 1998, and was awarded the Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song in 2015.

Throughout 2023, Nelson celebrates his 90th birthday with multiple projects and events including a two-night star-studded concert, Long Story Short: Willie Nelson 90, in April at the famed Hollywood Bowl. The year began with the debut of Willie Nelson & Family, a new five-part film documentary series directed by Thom Zimny and Oren Moverman that premiered at the Sundance Film Festival as well as the just released new album, I Don’t Know a Thing About Love, which features 10 performances that pay tribute to American songwriter Harlan Howard.

Earlier this month, the Red Headed Stranger announced the first 16 shows for the 2023 Outlaw Music Festival Tour. For the largest-ever Outlaw Tour to date, Nelson’s bringing his family and friends on the road for a can’t-miss lineup of summer shows featuring artists including Willie Nelson & Family, Robert Plant & Alison Krauss, The Avett Brothers, John Fogerty, Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats, Whiskey Myers, Gov’t Mule, Marcus King, Margo Price, Trampled By Turtles, Molly Tuttle & Golden Highway, Kathleen Edwards, Flatland Cavalry, Kurt Vile And The Violators, Brittney Spencer and Particle Kid, with additional shows still to be announced.

Buddy Iahn
Buddy Iahn

Buddy Iahn founded The Music Universe when he decided to juxtapose his love of web design and music. As a lifelong drummer, he decided to take a hiatus from playing music to report it. The website began as a fun project in 2013 to one of the top independent news sites. Email: