2004 Flame of Hope Award

Tipper Gore

Tipper Gore is one of the most admired women in the world. As an advocate for families, women and children, she is actively involved in issues related to mental health, education and the plight of homeless people everywhere. 

Mrs. Gore’s commitment to eradicating the stigma associated with mental illness and educating Americans about the need for quality, affordable mental health care placed her in the unique position to serve as the Mental Health Policy Advisor to President Clinton during her husband’s tenure as Vice President. In June 1999, she chaired the first-ever White House Conference on Mental Health, which interactively involved tens of thousands of Americans in over 1,000 cities across the country. In 1990, Mrs. Gore founded Tennessee Voices for Children, a coalition to promote the development of services for children and youth with serious behavioral, emotional, substance abuse or other mental health problems. She also served as co-chair of the Child Mental Health Interest Group, a non-partisan group of Congressional and Administration spouses. 

Serving as the Special Advisor to the Interagency Council on the Homeless, Mrs. Gore lead representatives from 17 member agencies to improve the effective delivery of federal homeless assistance resources and program coordination at the state and local level. A longtime advocate for the homeless, Mrs. Gore co-founded and chaired Families for the Homeless in 1986, a non-partisan partnership of families that raises public awareness of homeless issues. She forged a partnership with the National Mental Health Association (NMHA) to produce a major photographic exhibit entitled, Homeless in America: A Photographic Project, which toured the nation. 

In 1996, Mrs. Gore published Picture This, A Visual Diary, which is a personal photographic representation of life as wife of the Vice President. Proceeds from the book were donated to the National Health Care for the Homeless Council, headquartered in Nashville, TN. During the administration, Mrs. Gore served as co-chair of “America Goes Back To School,” an initiative launched by the Department of Education to work with students, parents and teachers to help promote a better learning environment among our nation’s children. 

Mrs. Gore also contributed to the formation of the Congressional Wives Task Force, serving as Chair in 1978 and 1979. The task force sought to draw attention to the violence that children were exposed to through the media. She subsequently co-founded Parents’ Music Resource Center in 1985 to promote parental and consumer awareness of themes in popular entertainment marketed to children. As part of that effort, she authored her first book, Raising PG Kids in an X-Rated Society, a guide to parenting and the media. 

Mrs. Gore received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology from Boston University in 1970 and her Master’s degree in Psychology from George Peabody College at Vanderbilt University in 1975. Mrs. Gore worked as a newspaper photographer for the Nashville Tennessean until her husband was elected to Congress in 1976. 

Born Mary Elizabeth Aitcheson on August 19, 1948, Mrs. Gore grew up in Arlington, Virginia; she was nicknamed Tipper by her mother. In 1970, she married Al Gore from Carthage, Tennessee. They have four children: Karenna (August 6, 1973), Kristin (June 5, 1977), Sarah (January 7, 1979) and Albert III (October 19, 1982). Karenna and her husband, Dr. Drew Schiff, have two children: Wyatt Gore Schiff and Anna Hunger Schiff.