2024 Spirit of Community Awards

For 31 years, the Spirit of Community Awards have recognized those who demonstrate a tireless commitment to improving life in Arlington. This year’s Award recipients will be recognized on Friday, November 15 at the annual Celebration & Luncheon, attended by hundreds of Arlingtonians from all sectors with a shared love of our community. Keep reading to learn more, and click the button below to secure your seat, table, or sponsorship!

Networking beings at 11 AM
Program begins at noon

Judge Newman
About the William T. Newman, Jr. Spirit of Community Award & Celebration Luncheon

The Honorable William T. Newman, Jr. served as Chief Judge of the 17th Judicial Circuit in Virginia. A life-long Arlingtonian, he is known for his active engagement in the county. Judge Newman is the founder and president emeritus of Arlington Community Foundation.

In 1993, Arlington Community Foundation awarded the first Spirit of Community award to the late Joan Cooper. Named in honor of Judge Newman, the award was established to recognize individuals and organizations who have demonstrated a tireless and unselfish commitment to improving the quality of life in Arlington.

The annual celebration and luncheon brings together hundreds of business, civic, and philanthropic leaders, as well as Arlingtonians from all walks of life, for a celebration of community and the individuals who have made Arlington a better home for all of us.

This year’s event is being held on Friday, November 15 at the Renaissance Arlington Capital View Hotel. Click here for tickets and sponsorships, and watch this highlights video from last year’s event to get excited!

Spirit luncheon and award
2023 winners
The 2023 Spirit of Community Award Honorees

John Foti
Most recently, John helped establish After School Enrichment Matters (ASEM) which supports students of Arlington’s eight Title 1 elementary schools in gaining access to free afterschool programming. Since its founding, ASEM has granted over $80,000 in scholarships, providing over 4,500 students access to theater, dance, soccer, robotics, and field trips. In addition to ASEM, John has been instrumental in ensuring Arlington youth have access to year-round sports facilities, while serving as board member and coach in many local athletics programs.

Dr. Tsehaye Teferra
Dr. Teferra is the founder and President and CEO of both the Ethiopian Community Development Council (ECDC) and Enterprise Development Group (EDG). In 2012, he was recognized by the White House as a Champion of Change. He was appointed by the Arlington County Board to serve as a founding member of the Arlington County, Virginia, Multicultural Commission, among many other distinguished roles.

Andres Tobar
In addition to serving as Executive Director of Shirlington Education and Employment Center for nearly 20 years, his community leadership has included president of the Arlington County Crime Solvers, many years as president of the Kiwanis Club of South Arlington, board member for the Arlington Food Assistance Center and Culpepper Garden, co-chair of the African-American/Hispanic Coalition, state director of the Virginia League of United Latin American Citizens (including two years as national Vice President), and as co-chair of the Immigrant Educational Rights Coalition, among many other distinguished roles.

2023 spirit winners
2022 winners
The 2022 Spirit of Community Award Honorees

Portia Clark
Portia has been a community organizer and advocate, particularly for youth, for three decades. She helped change the name of the Nauck neighborhood to Green Valley, which was significant to its residents and the Arlington community; and was very involved in the Four Mile Run Valley Area Plan and the Jennie Dean Park renovation. Watch Portia’s Award Honoree video here.

Mark Riley
Mark oversees the Arlington Turkey Trot, which benefits local safety net organizations. For the Arlington Turkey Trot, he is the Chief Turkey, overseeing 4,000 walkers and runners, and coordinating countless volunteers. He also founded Homerun for the Homeless, a 5k benefitting multiple organizations; and provided the framework to launch the Arlington Bunny Hop 5k. Watch Mark’s Award Honoree video here.

Dr. Mike Silverman
Dr. Silverman is the Chief of Emergency Medicine at Virginia Hospital Center. Throughout the COVID crisis, in addition to working through unprecedented challenges in the emergency department, Dr. Silverman took it upon himself to make the overwhelming amount of COVID information accessible and digestible to the public with weekly posts. Watch Dr. Silverman’s Award Honoree video here.

2023 spirit winners


Lucy Bowen McCauley

Lucy Bowen McCauley and Bowen McCauley Dance Company (BMDC) have dedicated their time and creative energy in the elevation of performance art here in Arlington for 25 years. Through award-winning performances and free community outreach programs, BMDC engages people of all-ages and socioeconomic backgrounds regardless of dance experience.

Watch Lucy’s Award Honoree video here.

Front-line workers


Front-line Workers

Recognizing and appreciating the dedication and hard work of Arlington’s frontline human service workers as they have been crucial to keeping the community going during the COVID crisis.

Watch their Award Honoree video here.

Dr. Alfred Taylor Jr.


Dr. Alfred Taylor Jr.

Taylor, who spent more than 30 years as an administrator at the University of the District of Columbia, is an Arlington native and is former president of the Arlington branch of the NAACP and the Nauck (now Green Valley) Civic Association. He also long has been a leader at Macedonia Baptist Church, and is the author of “Bridge Builders of Nauck/Green Valley: Past and Present.”

Read more about Dr. Taylor here.

Judge Newman
2023 winners
2022 winners
Front-line workers
Dr. Alfred Taylor Jr.
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Sponsorship Opportunities

For over 30 years, The Spirit of Community Awards have been a symbol of unity and shared vision within the Arlington community. By sponsoring this event, individuals, organizations, and companies establish meaningful connections across all sectors and industries, while enabling us to create a truly memorable awards ceremony for all those involved.

The Spirit of Community Awards is not a one-time event; it is a catalyst for lasting change. Your sponsorship investment will continue to inspire philanthropic efforts, creating a ripple effect that spreads far beyond the awards ceremony.

We welcome individual and company sponsorships and offer a variety of levels and benefits to match your unique needs. Contact Jamee Hood at jhood@arlcf.org or 703-243-4785×205 to discuss what works best for you.

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