March 30, 2017

Hey, Washington, take a cue from these local change agents

This year's Renewal Awards winners share the inspiration behind their innovative community work

The recipients of this year's Renewal Awards gathered March 30 at an event in Washington, D.C. From left: Tara Libert of Free Minds Book Club, LaVonte Stewart of Lost Boyz Inc., Kate Barnhart of New Alternatives for LGBT Homeless Youth, Sister Tesa Fitzgerald of Hour Children, and Chelina Odbert of Kounkuey Design Initiative. Photo by Margaret Myers

Washington may suffer from gridlock, but for the five winners of this year’s Renewal Awards, an initiative made possible by The Atlantic and Allstate, action is at their core.

“The best solutions come from the ground up. The people who are experiencing it, who see it firsthand—their involvement in solution-building is critical,” said LaVonte Stewart, whose organization Lost Boyz Inc. was honored March 30 with an award at an event presented by AtlanticLIVE in Washington, D.C. Representatives from the other award-winning organizations including New Alternatives for LGBT Homeless Youth, Kounkuey Design Initiative, Free Minds Book Club, and Hour Children, were also recognized.

The nonprofit leaders traveled to the nation’s capital to talk about the passion that drives them to do their innovative community work, from mentoring underserved youth on Chicago’s South Side, to helping communities access social resources in California’s Eastern Coachella Valley. They took part in a program that included discussions with members of Congress—Sens. Joe Manchin (D-WV) and John Hoeven (R-ND) and Rep. Joe Crowley (D-NY)—urban mayors, and D.C. business leaders. See the full list of speakers, watch videos from the event, and review highlights of the event below:

Margaret Myers and Hillary Beulah

Margaret Myers is the editor of The Renewal Project. Hillary Beulah is the Social Media & Audience Growth Editor for The Renewal Project.