13 November 2023

  • Honoring Change Makers: Defender brand has awarded six winning U.S. and Canadian non-profit and charitable organizations a custom Defender 130 SUV, empowering them with legendary capability to continue making a difference in their communities
  • Celebration with a Purpose: Winners were announced during a live awards celebration at Destination Defender, a premium weekend celebration curated for Defender vehicle owners and enthusiasts
  • Recognizing Everyday Heroes: Organizations were recognized for work in six award categories, with category sponsors awarding $25,000 to the winner: Veteran's and Civil Servant Outreach Presented by Hearts & Science; Community Services Presented by ei3; Search, Rescue & Emergency Support Services Presented by Pelican; Outdoor Accessibility & Education Presented by OUTSIDE Interactive, Inc.; Animal, Wildlife & Marine Mammal Welfare Presented by Animal Planet; and Defender Service Honorees
  • Monetary Awards enable organizations to go further: A total of $395,000 was awarded to winners and finalists during the 2023 Defender Service Awards. CHASE, as a Presenting Partner awarded $150,000 to the 30 category finalists. An additional $75,000 was awarded by the Premier Sponsor, Warner Bros. Discovery. 

MAHWAH, NJ –13  November  2023 - Continuing the legacy of honoring modern-day heroes, the Defender brand has announced the six winners of the third annual ‘Defender Service Awards’ presented by CHASE during a celebratory event at Destination Defender in Somerville, Texas. The event championed the selfless work that nonprofits and charitable organizations across the US, Puerto Rico and Canada have accomplished over the years embodying the ethos of the Defender brand as a beacon of liberty. 

The winning organizations will be awarded a customized Defender 130 SUV to aid further their unwavering commitment to bettering their local community. Featuring three rows of seating for up to eight volunteers, along with 88.9 cubic feet (2,516 liters) of load capacity, the Defender 130 will empower these organizations on their mission of service, continuing the long legacy of Defender vehicles humanitarian efforts across the globe. The winning organization will be able to customize their new vehicle with robust Defender accessories, required to meet the challenges of the organization’s mission, along with a custom exterior vehicle wrap. Additionally, each non-profit and charitable organization will be awarded $25,000 from respective category sponsors. 

As a Presenting Partner, CHASE has awarded $5,000 to each of the 30 category finalists. An additional $2,500 has been awarded by the Premier Sponsor, Warner Bros. Discovery, for a grand total of $7,500 to help finalists achieve more.

First place winners were announced during a live awards ceremony, while second place finalists across all six categories were also recognized for their outstanding work. Defender brand is pleased to match the monetary award of $7,500, from the Presenting Sponsor Chase and Premier Sponsor Warner Bros. Discovery for all second place finalists. In total, the third annual Defender Service Awards has awarded organizations across the US and Canada with $395,000 in prize money, which will enable organizations to make a positive impact on the communities they serve.

Congratulations to each of the six winners of the Defender Service Awards. They truly embody the spirit of heroism and giving back, which is a legacy of the Defender brand. All of the organizations who participated in the Defender Service Awards were true inspirations and we thank them for their selfless acts of improving their communities.

Charlotte Blank
US Chief Marketing Officer, JLR North America

The nonprofits and charitable organizations listed below have been recognized for embodying the Defender heroism that has followed the brand for decades. The winners across the six categories, based on public vote are as follows:

1. Animal, Wildlife and Marine Mammal Welfare Award, Presented by Animal Planet 


Manitoba Underdogs Rescue's mission is to rescue, rehabilitate, care for and ultimately place Manitoba's unwanted animals in loving homes. 100% volunteer-run and foster-home based, they primarily serve northern Manitoban communities that lack the resources and information to properly control the pet population, leaving countless animals without necessities for survival like food, water, shelter and medical attention. Manitoba Underdogs perform spay and neuter clinics, year-round rescues (even in -40 Celsius temperatures), provide medical care and find fosters and forever homes for these animals in need

2. Veterans and Civil Servant Outreach Award, Presented by Hearts & Science              


Honour House (HH) is a home away from home for members of the Canadian Armed Forces, Veterans, Emergency Services Personnel & their families to stay for free while receiving treatment for serious illness & injury. Honour Ranch is a tranquil, 120-acre rural retreat where these heroes and their families discover cutting edge strategies in the treatment of operational stress injuries such as PTSD, empowering them to be better equipped to navigate the debilitating, emotional & physical stresses of selfless commitment to service. Honour House Society prides themselves on being there to look after the heroes who look after us. 

3. Community Service Award, Presented by ei3 


Kairos Adventures empowers people with varying abilities to discover and develop their unique God-given potential and purpose. They offer innovative programs in the arts, including music, drama, dance, martial arts, culinary arts and video production, as well as local exploration opportunities and community service projects. The ancient Greek word “kairos” refers to the right time for crucial action, and the organization believes that by being present and engaged in a community that empowers and elevates artists, we all experience moments of kairos every single day. 

4. Search, Rescue and Emergency Services Award, Presented by Pelican


Squamish Search and Rescue (SSAR) is a 100% volunteer-run organization that provides ground and inland water search and rescue services, wilderness public safety and emergency services on the unceded traditional territory of the Squamish Nation in British Columbia. With over 6,400 task hours per year, their 80-member team is one of the busiest in Canada, with a response area that covers a vast and diverse terrain -- swift white water rivers, high alpine peaks and glaciers, massive rock faces, extensive mountain bike and hiking trails -- necessitating a wide array of rescue response types. They incorporate a combination of equipment, training and expertise in high alpine, avalanche, rope, helicopter long-line and swift water rescue discipline to save lives.

5. Outdoor Accessibility and Education Award, Presented by OUTSIDE Interactive Inc 


Youth Sports Alliance (YSA) runs after-school programs introducing kids to sports and healthy lifestyles with the goal of getting them outside and away from their screens. Evidence shows that active youth are more likely to succeed in life – physically, emotionally, socially and financially, and they work to bring those benefits to all children regardless of their family finances, gender, race or abilities. They also provide scholarships, proper clothing, gear, instruction and transportation to ensure that all students in the community have access to their programs. 2,400 kids participated last year, coming from diverse backgrounds with more than thirty percent from minority groups, a quarter from low-income families and a growing number of our students having cognitive or physical challenges. 

6. Defender Service Awards Honoree Awards


For 149 years, Charleston Animal Society (CAS) has prevented cruelty to animals and for the past decade, has been South Carolina’s top-rated nonprofit. From having created the first no-kill community in the Southeast to building the first no-kill state across the entire southern U.S., CAS is an international model for lifesaving success through focus, strategy and determination. As a leading emergency responder for hurricanes, flooding, and large-scale animal cruelty operations, CAS's workforce of 85 employees and 2,400 volunteers care for and rescue up to 20,000 animals annually. From finding families for homeless animals, to preventing unwanted litters, to guiding children to become compassionate toward animals, to fighting cruelty wherever it exists, the Animal Society’s mantra is “solving problems, not just reacting to them.”

The winners of the 2023 Defender Service Awards were presented during a live ceremony at Destination Defender, a three-day event that featured epic experiences that channeled the ultimate expression of the Defender brand with activities such as off-roading courses, live musical performances, heritage displays of the vehicle, fitness challenges and more. 

To learn more about the Defender brand and vehicles and the Defender Service Awards Presented by Chase, please visit: www.landroverusa.com/defender/.

Further information

About Defender Brand

The Defender brand embraces the impossible. Each member of the Defender family is purposefully designed, highly desirable and seriously durable. A modern-day hero that respects the past but at the same time anticipates the future.

Available in 90, 110 and 130 body styles, with up to eight seats, each has a charisma of its own.

A beacon of liberty since 1948, Defender vehicles have supported humanitarian and conservation work with the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies and the Tusk Trust. 

The Defender brand is underpinned by Land Rover – a mark of trust built on 75 years of expertise in technology and world-leading off-road capability.  

Defender vehicles are designed and engineered in the UK and sold in 121 countries. It belongs to the JLR house of brands alongside the Range Rover, Discovery and Jaguar brands.

Notes to Editors

Important notice
JLR is constantly seeking ways to improve the specification, design and production of its vehicles, parts and accessories and alterations take place continually. Whilst every effort is made to produce up-to-date literature, this document should not be regarded as an infallible guide to current specifications or availability, nor does it constitute an offer for the sale of any particular vehicle, part or accessory.