The Advocate’s President and CEO Dan Shea gave television personality Whitney Vann the 73rd annual Golden Deeds award at a Crowne Plaza Hotel banquet Tuesday night, as hundreds of well-wishers applauded Vann’s prolific work with local charities and nonprofits.
“The common theme of anyone who’s won this award — they’ve all made Baton Rouge a better place,” Shea told the audience. “Tonight’s honoree, Whitney Vann, is also a great example of someone who has used her public persona to help others.”
The Inter-Civic Council and The Advocate grant the Golden Deeds award to volunteers and Baton Rouge-area residents for their activism and charity work.
“I stand on the shoulders of 72 magnificent people who came before me,” Vann told the crowd, speaking of past recipients. “I couldn’t be more honored to be among you. I really am humbled by that.”
Mayor-President Kip Holden also thanked Vann and presented her with a key to the city and other honors.
Vann is most well-known for co-hosting the local TV show “2une-In” for 17 years until her switch last month to a new Sunday morning show, “Weekends with Whitney.”
But Vann has also raised money for a wide variety of causes, from medical ailments to after-school initiatives to theater and other efforts to support the arts. Some of those causes sought to eliminate epilepsy and diabetes, human trafficking and sexual assault.
Her fundraising efforts have taken many forms, from helping haul an airplane down a runway to rappelling down Tiger Stadium. She estimates she has walked at least 500 miles to raise money at various causes.
“It seemed like I was always on a board,” Vann said in October. “I guess I just got to be known as ‘that girl.’ Unless I had a conflict, I don’t think I ever said no.”
Vann grew up in Glasgow, Kentucky, and worked TV news jobs in various cities before landing in 1994 at WBRZ-TV, where she became a regular fixture on morning television. She studied broadcast journalism at the University of Mississippi.
Vann has repeatedly won “Best Local TV Personality” from 225 Magazine.
She has hosted up to four charity events each week throughout the fall and spring.
Vann is married to Robert Schneckenburger, who is the president of Chase Bank in Baton Rouge. The two have a 16-year-old son, Reid, and 11-year-old daughter, Sydney Joy.