The Gordon Parks Foundation Award is given to outstanding individuals whose contributions to the arts reflect four principles that Gordon demonstrated throughout his life: courage, vision, compassion and dignity. In 2009, the theme was fashion in honor of Gordon's career as a fashion photographer. The honorees were model and activist, Liya Kebede, activist and philanthropist, Russell Simmons, designer Isabel Toledo, and photographer/filmmaker, Bruce Weber. Bethann Hardison, Richard Plepler, Ruben Toledo and Anna Wintour served as presenters. André Leon Tally was the Master of Ceremonies. The Foundation also launched the Nikon/Gordon Parks photography scholarship which was awarded to Chiara Marinai, a student at SUNY Purchase College.
"He didn't just take their pictures, he captured their souls."