The third annual fall block party of the Tom Tom Founders Festival now has 18 more reasons to celebrate. On Thursday, the festival’s director, Paul Beyer, announced the first class of honorees for its Founding Cville celebration.
From a pool of 120 candidates, 18 local artists, civic leaders and entrepreneurs have been chosen for their contributions to the community made through initiatives they helped to start and build in the Charlottesville area.
Beyer said the goal of the initiative is to highlight “individuals whose groundbreaking and original work is impacting our city and beyond.”
“For the past three years, Tom Tom has highlighted over 200 innovators in the community, wildly successful people that you would have no idea are working here,” Beyer said. “It seemed important to bring that recognition to other signature projects in the community.”
“We wanted the selections to represent the full breath of the creativity in the community and to be multidisciplinary,” Beyer said. “It’s in the DNA of Charlottesville to have these creative individuals, and this is a project that helps celebrate that.”
Founding Cville: The 2014 Founders
Detailed descriptions of the honorees can be found at www.founding.tomtomfest.com.
» Wendy Brown, co-founder, Community Investment Collaborative
» Dr. Benton Calhoun, co-founder of PsiKick
» Sara Clayborne, co-founder, The Charlottesville Ballet
» Kate Collier, co-founder, Local Food Hub
» Bill Crutchfield, founder, Crutchfield Corp.
» Greg Fairchild, founder, Prison Entrepreneurship Project
» Robin Felder, founder, Global Cell Solutions
» Matt Hantzmon, co-founder, HelioSage Energy
» John Herr, founder, SpermCheck
» Spencer Ingram, co-founder, HackCville
» Marcia Invernizzi, founder, PALS Marketplace
» Dr. Marcus Martin, founder, UVa’s Emergency Medicine Center
» Brynne Potter, co-founder, Maternity Neighborhood
» Alan Rimm-Kaufman (in memoriam), founder, Rimm-Kaufman Group
» Gabe Silverman (in memoriam), architect, real estate developer and patron of the arts
» Mark Thompson, co-founder, Starr Hill Brewery
» Rob Vaughan, founder, Virginia Foundation for the Humanities
Since 2012 the Tom Tom Founders Festival has held a multiday event in April, coinciding with Thomas Jefferson’s birthday, which celebrates art, music and innovation. A fall block party held inside and on the lawn of the McGuffey Art Center has helped kick off the next year’s program.
The 18 people who will be recognized at the Sept. 26 block party include nonprofit executives, artists, inventors and founders of national and global companies.
Beyer said Rob Vaughan, founder and president of the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities, is a good example of the type of interesting and unheralded people selected.
“The Virginia Foundation for the Humanities emerged out of Charlottesville and has raised more than $160 million for more than 40,000 humanities programs,” Beyer said of the nonprofit formed in 1974. “It is a national model and it’s astounding that it originated out of Charlottesville.”
Vaughan said that being called a “Thomas Jefferson of today” was a daunting comparison.
“I was stunned initially, quite pleased and honored,” he said. “Living up to the standard of Thomas Jefferson is a daunting prospect. I hope what we do at the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities is continuing the historic commitment of this community.”
Asked about the foundation’s programs having the biggest impact, Vaughan noted the local Virginia Festival of the Book and national radio programs such as “BackStory” and “Folklife.”
“Culture and communities are central to everything that we do,” Vaughan added. “We strive to get people engaged with each other and believe understanding the past helps define a new future. Our primary commitment has been to help tell the stories, some of them previously untold.”
Each of the 18 honorees will be featured this month on separate lamppost banners along the Downtown Mall.
The Founders will be honored at a brief award ceremony during the fall block party, which will include family activities, music and art workshops, as well as food trucks and a beer garden.
Staff from RKG gather to celebrate Alan Rimm-Kaufman’s selection as a 2014 Founder by the Tom Tom Founders Festival
(Note: Banner above them recognizes Gabe Silverman / Alan Rimm-Kaufman’s banner is at other end of mall)