On this 50th Anniversary of Earth Day, the Faith Alliance for Climate Solutions (FACS) is proud to announce the winners of our 2020 Sustainability Champions Awards. These annual awards, chosen by a committee composed of FACS leadership and prior award winners, highlight the people and organizations that have made significant contributions towards the FACS mission of creating moral and equitable solutions to climate change in Northern Virginia. The winners will be honored Thursday, June 4th at 12:00 p.m. during an online ceremony featuring Fairfax County Board of Supervisors Chair Jeff McKay and Fairfax County School Board Chair Karen Corbett Sanders.

The 2020 winners are:

  • Individual: Debra Jacobson, JD
  • Faith Community: Mount Vernon Unitarian Church
  • Elected Official: Karl Frisch, Fairfax County School Board
  • Local Business: GreenFare Restaurant in Herndon Virginia

Individual Champion: Debra Jacobson, JD. Debra brings great technical and organizational expertise to her advocacy and advice for Fairfax County. Debra is a member of the Fairfax County Environmental Quality Advisory Council representing the Dranesville District. She was a contributor to the Green Building Policy for county facilities, Chair of the Clean Energy for Fairfax Now Campaign of the Great Falls Group, and Member of Legislative and Executive Committees of the Sierra Club Virginia Chapter. Her focus is on energy efficiency, renewable energy, and climate issues at the local and state levels working through the Sierra Club Great Falls Group, whom she credits immensely for recent advancements in the county.


Faith Community Champion: Mt. Vernon Unitarian Church (MVUC) The entire congregation of MVUC voted to be a part of a year-long focus on solutions to climate change, which is organized by the Climate Action Team (CAT) created in January of 2019. This effort includes education on the issues, action projects, advocacy, spiritual support, and outreach.

During its first year, the CAT organized nearly 50 events and projects, with more than 1100 participants. The overarching goal for CAT is that a carbon neutral lifestyle becomes the default norm on church grounds and that the church serves as a hub and inspiration for members to live their own earth stewardship values at home.

Elected Official Champion: Karl Frisch, Providence District Representative on the Fairfax County School Board. Elected last fall, Karl is one of two members of the FCPS Board serving on the Joint Environmental Task Force which coordinates County and School operations to increase environmental sustainability. Karl was integral in the development and approval of an amendment to the 2021-25 Capital Improvement Plan which calls for a study of the movement to net zero energy operations, and has been a leader in exploring the transition to electric school buses. Karl understands the “big picture” in terms of the great responsibility FCPS faces in dealing with the climate crisis. Karl will be fundamental to making FCPS an excellent example of what a school system can accomplish with strong leadership.


Business Champion: GreenFare Restaurant in Herndon Virginia is owned by Gwyn Whittaker who works to reduce carbon emissions through a plant-rich diet while putting people and the planet ahead of profits. GreenFare is certified organic, uses renewable energy, locally sourced food, and all compostable containers, while paying a living wage. As an “education restaurant” Green Fare offers cooking classes, dinner and a movie, author book signings. In response to the recent COVID-19 crisis, Gwyn started a non-profit, GreenFare Health and Wellness (a certified 501(c)(3) that has 3 projects: the now Virtual Fairfax Veg Fest,  meal donations for medical workers at 3 local hospitals, and a new mask making activity that will provide about 20k masks to Fairfax County as well as employment to about 40 Makers.

Please help us honor these Sustainability Champions at the FACS Sustainability Champions Awards Ceremony held online, Thursday, June 4th at 12:00 p.m. Fairfax County Chairman Jeff McKay and FCPS Chair Karen Corbett Sanders will speak to the theme of this year’s event, Vision 2030. Hear from our inspiring awardees about their work. Free Registration Here.

For more information contact info@faithforclimate.org