Host Steve Harvey on stage last year at the 2013 Ford Neighborhood Awards.

Last year’s winner for best community leader, Stan Richards of the Richards Group Foundation will be among the ten D.C. area finalist nominated in the 12th annual Ford Neighborhood Awards Show for the second time. “This event celebrates and honors the people who are working for the betterment of our community,” radio producer Rushion McDonald said. “What we do is shine the light on the jewels and diamonds in our community.”

The 12th Annual Ford Neighborhood Awards, called “The Hoodie Awards,” honors and recognizes local businesses, religious and community leaders, educators, and institutions from across the United States for their contributions and services to their neighborhoods.

The 12 Neighborhood Awards categories include: Best High School Coach, Best Nail Salon, Best School Teacher, Best Car Wash, Best Church Choir, Best Soul Food Restaurant, Best Barber Shop, Best High School, Best Barbecue Restaurant, Best Beauty Salon, Best Church, and Best Community Leader.

Television and radio host Steve Harvey along with McDonald created and hosted the event. According to McDonald, the event reminds people who live in the community to look back and be proud of its resources and the people who are doing something impactful. “Most of these people we honor help build up the community by hiring folks, and they are what America stands on,” McDonald added.

The four-day celebration is funded through ticket sales and sponsorships from Ford Motor Company and State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company. The event will run from Aug. 7 – 10. The award ceremony will be held at Philips Arena in Atlanta, Ga.


The 2013 Best Community Leader winner Stan Richards, of The Richards Group Foundation, with wife Chereace Richards on left, and Ford Motor Company’s Shawn Thompson on the right.

According to McDonald, more than 100,000 people are expected to attend the show. The star-studded expo will feature performances and appearances from Robin Thicke, Chrisette Michele, India Arie, Anthony Hamilton, Tamela Mann, and many other celebrities.

McDonald said the “wholesome fun show, with twelve dynamic moments surrounded by a lot of comedy and a lot of fun music,” will award 12 non-traditional awards to local leaders and facilities that have been nominated by people from across the country. The nominated finalists will be treated to an expense paid trip to Atlanta, plus hotel accommodations until the end of the four-day celebration.

According to the event spokesperson, D.C. has garnered the most nominations. Here is the list of the nominated finalists and the nomination categories:

* Polish’d Nail Salon for Best Nail Salon

* Paula Almond from HD Woodson Senior High School for Best High School Coach

* Adrian Ward of Aberdeen High School for Best School Teacher

* Simply Delightful Soul Food and Catering for Best Soul Food

* Pro Wash Inc. and Divine Hands Second Street Car Wash for Best Car Was/Detail

* Smoke Stack’s House of BBQ for Best Barbecue

* Stand Richards of the Richards Group Foundation for Nest Community Leader

* First Baptist Church of Glenarden for Best Church

First Baptist Church of Glenarden has won the award for best church four times in addition to winning the title last year.

Maria Adebola

Special to the AFRO