Elizabeth Claire, 2012 Intellectual Benefits Award winner

Elizabeth Claire of Virginia Beach, Va., is the 2012 recipient of the Intellectual Benefits Award, an annual tribute to one member of American Mensa whose intellectual abilities resulted in a substantial benefit to society. The co-founder of Easy English NEWS, Elizabeth has made it her mission to help adult and young adult newcomers to the United States adjust to their new environment by building their English skills.

“Today, accessing information is effortless for many of us, but not all. Claire recognized how important this access is and exactly who was denied it,” said Dave Remine, President of the Mensa Foundation. “Because of her work, many, many people will be able to achieve economic growth they might otherwise not have been able to.”

Claire worked as an ESL teacher for 20 years, teaching English, history, geography, health and science. Recognizing that foreign-born students make up 10% of high school students (as well as 27% of the dropout population), Clare co-founded Easy English NEWS in 1996. It has sold more than 5 million copies since and has a current circulation of 45,000 papers per month. Claire also supplies free copies to refugee centers, prisons, shelters and literary programs with people who can’t get subscriptions.