Best of Reston Gala Raises $483K for Cornerstones

Restonians filled the ballroom at the Hyatt Regency Reston Thursday night to honor their own.

The 23rd annual Best of Reston Awards Gala — “the Reston prom” to some — is the ceremony to honor those for their contributions to the community.

But the black tie event is also a grand night out and a major fundraiser for nonprofit Cornerstones. The 2016 gala raised $483,258 for Cornerstones to increase its supply of affordable housing and boost other programs.

The winners of the 2016 awards were announced in January. Here is who was honored last night:

Individual Community Leader

Jim Elder — A coach with Reston Association’s tennis program since 1997, Elder was honored for teaching Reston youth that good sportsmanship and fair play are as essential to playing the games they love as skills, stats and strategy.

Leila Gordon — Gordon, the executive director of the Reston Community Center was chosen for “putting community at the center of the Reston experience.” Gordon has been instrumental in increasing community arts, education and recreation programs for people of all ages and incomes in Reston.

Small Business Leader

Beloved Yoga — Maryam Ovissi, founder owner of Beloved Yoga, earned the award for “providing the tools for self-empowerment, self-healing and self-realization coupled with the belief that giving back to community is powerful when we thrive together.” Ovissi takes her yoga and meditation programs into the community to bring it to new participants such as youth and seniors. She is also founder of Reston Town Center’s annual Love Your Body Day.

Wiygul Automotive Clinic — This locally owned auto service shop has “made a profound difference in lives by quietly and humbly delivering dependable transportation to help people secure and maintain solid employment,” the awards committee said.

Corporate Business Leader

Bechtel — The relative newcomers to Reston have given back to community by giving employees opportunities to “create positive impacts throughout Reston, the Dulles Corridor and the world by encouraging them to follow through on their own purpose-driven interests and passions.”

Google — Google has a large Reston office, and its employees are encouraged to “tackle local and worldwide challenges in education and poverty relief; and the support of returning service men and women and our K9 heroes.”

Civic Community Organization

Friends of Reston for Community Projects — This nonprofit group helps support Reston projects, and it has been instrumental in building and supporting Nature House at the Walker Nature Education Center, as well as providing Reston Association camp scholarships and resources for the Cedar Ridge Community Garden, among others.

Vade Bolton-Anne Rodriguez Legacy Award

Amy’s Amigos — This group of now-college students founded Amy’s Amigos eight years ago to honor a young friend who died of brain cancer. Founders Hannah Becker, Kacey Hirshfeld and Olivia Wolfe began the Be Amyazing Reston Youth Triathlon, an annual event encourages young athletes while raising money for brain tumor research.

See more photos by Chip McCrea.


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