Partner Awards Worth Mentioning

June 29, 2017

So many awards! Two of our Creative Change Alumni – David M. Lubell and Armando Minjarez –  have won distinguished awards for their innovative and artistic work. David is a recipient of the 2017 Charles Bronfman Prize for his efforts in creating more inclusive immigrant and refugee communities, and Armando won the first-ever Knight Cities Challenge (a civic innovation competition) for his community-engaged, artist-driven mural project. In addition to winning awards, our partners are speaking truth to power in The Washington Post and USA Today. Find out what they’re saying in this month’s Partner Stories.

Congrats to Creative Change alum David M Lubell (CC ’11, ’12) for winning the 2017 Charles Bronfman Prize! David, the founder and executive director of Welcoming America, was honored for his work in creating welcoming communities for immigrants and refugees. Welcoming America works in 190 communities across the country to help eliminate the institutional barriers that make it harder for immigrants to fully integrate. The annual prize, which carries a $100,000 award, goes to a Jewish humanitarian under age 50 whose work is informed and fueled by Jewish values and has broad, global impact that can potentially change lives.

Artist and Activist Armando Minjarez.

Artist and Creative Changer Armando Minjarez (CC ’14) has won the first-ever Knight Cities Challenge. His project was chosen from a pool of more than 4,500 ideas to receive a share of  $5 million from the Knight Foundation. Armando’s $100,000 grant will be utilized to create Horizontes, a community-engaged, artist-driven project that elevates North Wichita residents to new heights. Horizontes will connect two neighborhoods – the North End and the North East – with painted murals of neighborhood residents on monolithic grain elevators in the industrial corridor.

Working Films is staffing up this summer! The organization, co-directed by Creative Change alumna, Molly Murphy (CC ’16), is hiring a full-time Campaign Coordinator and an Impact Producer. Recognizing the power of stories to inspire and transform, Working Films builds partnerships between nonfiction media-makers, nonprofit organizations, educators and advocates to advance social justice and environmental sustainability, and support community-based change. Learn more here and please spread the word!

Tiffany McFadden (CI ’17), a volunteer with Alliance of Families for Justice, is officially the first of our 2017 Fellows to secure a media placement, with a letter to the editor in the Washington Post describing her time in the NYC foster care system and the need to cap telephone rates for incarcerated people. “There were times in my life when I went as long as two years without hearing [my incarcerated mother’s] voice. I literally couldn’t afford to. Neither can so many families with incarcerated loved ones,” she writes.

Communications Institute Fellow Matt Nelson (CI ’17) had a letter to the editor in USA Today arguing for the California Values Act, which would make public schools, hospitals, courthouses and libraries safe and available to all California residents, regardless of immigration status. “Our immigration policies should assert values of safety and family unity,” he argues. Matt is the executive director of

Johnny Perez (CI ’15), reentry mental health advocate at the Urban Justice Center, was featured in a detailed, multi-media piece on mass incarceration in the U.S., by USA Today. In the article, he argues that, while New York's laws on juvenile incarceration have changed, teens are sentenced as adults all too often. What’s more, youth who are locked up run a greater risk of becoming incarcerated adults, he points out, sharing his own personal story. Read the full piece.

Our partner,, collaborated with Grammy Award-winning artist and songwriter Elijah Blake to release the powerful visual for “Hanging Tree,” a song characterizing the struggles black people still face in America. This track is featured as part of Sankofa’s Visual EP17, which premiered on TIDAL earlier this year. In addition, Sankofa teamed up with REVOLT for a night of important discussions about social justice and police relations. This televised special titled “Operation Get Home Alive” featured artists T.I., Usher, Mali Music, Elijah Blake, and many more.