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Photos from the Capitol Hill Community Foundation Awards

Each year the Capitol Hill Community Foundation recognizes individuals who have made a significant contribution to our neighborhood in a wide variety of ways. 

For their significant contributions to Washington, DC, but more specifically to Capitol Hill, a total of five awardees were celebrated. The three Capitol Hill Achievement Award honorees included Olé Palaver Hut founder Vera Oyé Yaa-Anna, whose non profit uses West African traditions to educate children in health, the arts and wellness in multiple District schools.

In 2001, Jane Lang started on the four-year road to convert the Atlas Movie House to the Atlas Performing Arts Center, a road that involved lengthy negotiations with District government and the raising of $24 million but has resulted in a cultural institution linking arts and community. The building’s dance studios opened with American actress, dancer, choreographer, singer, director, and producer Debbie Allen cutting the ribbon.

Outgoing Frager Shakespeare Library Director Michael Witmore has guided the Hil institution through a challenging time, including not only the 450th anniversary of the Bard’s birth but also a four-year renovation of the historic building to welcome the public back in, featuring exhibition space, a learning lab, and a public café.

Two Hill organizations won the Franzén and Keller Awards, $25,000 awards created to support organizations that make a significant programmatic contribution to the community.

Sasha Youthworks Board Chair Shaunda Patterson Strachan accepted the Arnold F. Keller, Jr. Grant, created to fuel new initiatives or expand existing programs. The Franzén Award for the Arts, honoring John Franzén’s dedication to making our neighborhood a cultural hub, will help Mosaic Theater Company expand and deepen its relationships across Capitol Hill. That award was accepted by Serge Seiden, Mosaic Theater’s Managing Director and Producer.

The honors were bestowed at a garden party and awards ceremony on May 22. The fundraising gala honored these individuals and institutions, celebrating our life together on the Hill on the lawn at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church (300 A St. SE).

In the Garden

A swirl of color and the clink ofglasses outside St. Mark’s Episcopal Church May 22. The Garden Party is a fundraiser for Capitol Hill Community Foundation, which pools neighborhood contributions into grants that support activities, projects and groups that enrich the lives of residents and celebrate the history and beauty of the Hill community.
CHCF President Micky Cymrot and Honoree Jane Lang (far right) greet party attendees.
Elizabeth Lewis, Abby Yochelson, Hill Rag Literary Hill Fest founder Karen Lyon and Yvonne Barton chat before the ceremony.
John Weintraub and Charles Parsons
Real Estate Agent Gary Jankowski with Phyllis Jane Young, agent and also member of CHCF Board.
R: Ward 6 Councilmember Charles Allen (D), Georgetown University Lupo-Ricci Professor of Clinical Legal Studies Wallace Mlyniec and former ANC 6C Commissioner Christine Healey
Hill Rag publisher Jean-Keith Fagon with Willie Ney.
Past awardees Leah Daniels of Hill’s Kitchen (2014) and Franzén Award recipient Carrie Bean Stute of Chiarina Chamber Players.

Awards Ceremony

Capitol Hill Community Foundation President Nicky Cymrot (L) presents the Capitol Hill Community Achievement Award to Jane Lang, funder of Atlas Performing Arts Center. Lang spent 4 years negotiating with the District government and raising the $24 million required to open the center in 2005 in the old Atlas Movie House.
Shakespeare Library Director Michael Witmore compared the role of the library on the Hill and District to the role of Shakespeare in London, saying both were cultures themselves that grow alongside a distinct urban culture.
Vera Oyé Yaa-Anna (center) after she was awarded a Capitol Hill Community Achievement Award. Oyé was honored for her work as founder of Oyé Palavor Hut which uses West African traditions to teach children about culture and healthy eating.
Stephanie Deutsch announces the winners of the two $25,000 Franzén and Keller grants. Sasha Bruce Youthwork will receive the Arnold F. Keller, Jr. Grant, created to fuel new initiatives or expand existing programs. The Franzén Award for the Arts, honoring John Franzén’s dedication to making our neighborhood a cultural hub, will help Mosaic Theater Company expand and deepen its relationships across Capitol Hill.
Sasha Youthworks Board Chair Shaunda Patterson Strachan accepts the Arnold F. Keller, Jr. Grant on behalf of the nonprofit, which assists homeless youth.
Mosaic Theater Managing Director Serge Seiden accepts the John Franzén Award for the Arts on behalf of the company. Photo: A. Lightman
Capitol Hill Community Foundation Board Member Gary Albrecht with his daughter, Rachael Albrecht-Litchfield and her spouse, realtor Todd Litchfield
All smiles at the awards ceremony.
Vera Oyé Yaa-Anna listens as she is introduced as an awardee.

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