As part of the 10-Year Anniversary of the Prince George’s County Social Innovation Fund, we are pleased to introduce you to the 2021 PGCSIF’s Founder’s Award Recipients
These honorees embody the essence of PGCSIF’s mission: To build social capital and look for new ways of solving old challenges in Prince George’s County. They represent exceptional accomplishment in Arts & Humanities, Business, Community Leadership, Education, and Public Service. These 12 honorees were hand-picked by Tonia Wellons, Founder of the Prince George’s County Social Innovation Fund and they are the last cohort of honorees who will be recognized under the current iteration of PGCSIF.
Join us in celebrating their success!
Since the beginning, Antionette has been a part of the production team for PGCSIF and Forty Under 40. She was 50% of the AOTA team and through video, photography, and sound, helped to create the look, feel, and memory of PGCSIF. She captured the very essence of the cool and trendy feel through slick videography and creative imagery. Antionette joined the team as a very young professional, immediately after Art School, and set a standard that has been hard to replicate.
Steve is a long-time County resident and master facilitator. His early work in Prince George’s County through EnVision Prince George’s was a pivotal approach to widespread community engagement. More recently, Steve has been deeply involved with the Purple Line Coalition. Steve also authored a pivotal paper entitled “Prince George’s Rising: Key Strategies to Ensure Equitable Prosperity in Prince George’s County”.
Jenna Carter was the first Managing Director for PGCSIF. She helped us to find our way, professionalize our efforts, and to really make our mark. Her professional organizing skills were an amazing complement to a fledging organization trying to offer a value add to the County on limited resources. Her impact was significant and long-lasting.
Forrest Hall has been with PGCSIF for all 10 years of our existence. On day one, he prepared the video, brand design, captured the photos, and the website for PGCSIF. Every year since, he’s led the charge to help us tell our story; and the story of the amazing people we’ve honored. Over the years, our secret weapon – Forrest Hall and AOTA – have been engaged by the ‘who’s who’ of the County. Because of this, they are the owners of perhaps the largest catalog of film and video on Prince George’s County. Forrest has files that will be worth millions in the years ahead.
I met Brian Rubin on Twitter. Brian was as excited as I was to find a kindred spirit in black social entrepreneurship. He moved his family to this region to connect to the PGCSIF community and when we wanted to open a co-working space – PGC Works – before co-working spaces were popular, Brian offered a connection that made that dream a reality. In his ever-easy way, Brain is a community-builder who isn’t afraid to take risks and leverage his relationships. That’s what building social capital is all about.
Patrick retired as a Prince George’s County 911 Dispatcher in December. A slam poet, creator of the Prince George’s County Laureate (Pre-Amanda Gordan), and a member of the Po-emcees; Patrick’s story-telling abilities are unmatched. His ability to characterize all things Prince George’s County conjures nostalgia, controversy, hope, and sometime fear (all compellingly). Every year, from the beginning, his poems for Forty Under 40 set the room on fire and leave our audiences with a vision of Prince George’s County that only Patrick can offer.
Tamara Wellons has certainly been the sound. The sound for PGCSIF, and the sound for Prince George’s County. From her early performances as Miss Bowie State, to being a feature performer at Joe’s movement and in the Arts District before it was an Arts District; to setting the mood for every Forty Under 40 event, Tamara Wellons is a super star with a sultry voice and a powerfully soothing energy. Her voice powerfully controls the climate from the time she enters the room and sets the tone for the change we hope to create in the world.
Marcus Daniels’ on-line engagement on all things Prince George’s County, is brilliant. In an ever so easy and engaging way, he keeps hundreds of County residents ‘in the conversation’ about Prince George’s County. From highlighting businesses and local restaurants, to raising controversial topics or celebrating the County’s success, Marcus is a big promoter of community and embodies building social capital.
Rob started a mentoring program a little over 11 years ago out of a desire to connect young people to opportunity. Mentoring to Manhood started as a small effort under his leadership and has grown into one of the most successful mentoring programs – Community Youth Advance – in the County and in the region. The success of this program is directly linked to Rob’s vision, commitment, and conviction to offer a pathway for young men in the County.
When PGCSIF opened a co-working space in Hyattsville Tami Mullen was our only paying client. She wanted to build community like us and invested in the idea. When Tami decided to open Clout Workspace, it was an easy decision to share our lessons learned. It’s been amazing to watch her enterprises grow, including her commitment to small businesses in the County.
Nichelle has been a friend to PGCSIF from day one. She sat in the room at Busboys 10 years ago when we started, exuding a sweet sense of satisfaction by the energy in the room. Every day since, she’s offered a hand in recommending candidates for Forty Under 40; consistently serving on the review committee; and making herself and her network available to PGCSIF. Nichelle is a servant leader in every way.
Curtis has had a longstanding commitment to education in Prince George’s County and nationally. His Prince George’s Community College to Morehouse pipeline; Real Men Teach campaign, service on the PGCPS School Board, and his fatherhood forums are a real testament to his vision for children, youth, and families. This work requires sustained energy and commitment and is worthy of note.