May 18, 2020
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
For more information contact:
Elizabeth Jones Valderrama, OAR
OAR SELECTED AS FINALIST FOR BEST NONPROFIT HONOR
OAR of Arlington, Alexandria and Falls Church has been recognized by the Arlington Chamber of Commerce as one of three community nonprofits being considered for that organization’s Best Nonprofit Award for 2020.
“We’re excited to be a finalist for this honor from the Chamber,” said OAR Executive Director Elizabeth Jones Valderrama. “We’re proud to be part of this community and to share its commitment to equity and prosperity for all.”
The Nonprofit Award is one of six Best Business Awards presented each year by the Arlington Chamber of Commerce to honor organizations for their contributions to the community. As the Chamber explains, the awards “recognize businesses in Arlington that go above and beyond to make Arlington a great place to work and live.”
Winners in each category will be announced this fall at the Chamber’s annual Best Business Awards celebration. This event was originally scheduled for May, which is Business Appreciation Month, but has been postponed because of public safety concerns associated with the COVID-19 pandemic.
A panel of past winners selected the finalists for each award. They looked at evaluation factors that included the organization’s consistent delivery of exceptional service; leadership in its field; and demonstrated commitment to diversity and inclusion.
Founded in 1974, OAR journeys with those returning to the community after incarceration, manages an alternative sentencing program for the Arlington County and City of Falls Church courts that allows others to avoid that life-altering experience, and works to achieve race equity in the criminal legal system and society at large. We address incarceration, the legal system, and all systems “upstream” (calling out the racism that permeates these systems and seeking social justice) and “downstream” (providing services to specific individuals).
Last year the nonprofit worked with 708 individuals who were experiencing incarceration or who had recently come home to the community as well as 1,334 adults and youth who performed community service under OAR’s supervision. Since last fall, OAR has hosted four intensive two-day anti-racism workshops for some 180 individuals most of whom live or work in Arlington County and the City of Alexandria. OAR has also presented its racial justice work to over 700 people.
OAR is the only nonprofit in the DC metro area that works with specific individuals of all genders impacted by the criminal legal system and also addresses the systemic racism responsible for mass incarceration and other structural inequities in our society.