The Faith Alliance for Climate Solutions (FACS) knows that climate change effects are felt locally and that decisions made at the local level impact climate policies. Our annual Sustainability Champion Awards 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. Nominations are received from the community, and winners are chosen by a committee composed of FACS leadership and prior award winners.
Individual – Helene Shore
Helene Shore co-founded and leads 350 Fairfax. Since 2017, the group has expanded to over 1,300 individuals. She has forged 350 Fairfax into a formidable and respected local environmental advocate. She frequently testifies before the Fairfax Board of Supervisors. Helene and 350 Fairfax promote solar panel installations on Fairfax Public Schools, single use plastic bag taxes, and recycling. Helene advocates at the state level in support the Green New Deal and in opposition to the Atlantic Coast and Mountain Valley Pipelines. She exemplifies the citizen activist who motivates others with her passion and dedication.
Individual: Youth – James Jackson
Inspired by his grandfather, who was one of the environmental pioneers in the 1970s who helped ban DDT, James decided in 8th grade that he also wanted to have a positive impact on our earth. He started by adopting Bon Air Nature Park in Arlington, Virginia, where he removed several acres of English Ivy and in a tree planting project, planting over 400 native trees in throughout Fairfax. After researching activities that produce the most carbon, he started a campaign to get his school to purchase 100% green electrical power, potentially eliminating 2.7 million pounds of carbon per year.
Local Leader – Ellen Eggerton
Ellen Eggerton is the Sustainability Coordinator for the City of Alexandria. After a twenty-month collaboration, she successfully facilitated the adoption of the updated city’s Environmental Action Plan 2040. The EAP 2040 is a cross-cutting plan that connects land use, green buildings, transportation, energy, water resources, transportation, air quality, environmental health, and climate change initiatives. She leads in the recent update of the 2019 Green Building Policy for the city with a goal toward net zero public buildings. She is currently chair of the energy conservation committee of Virginia Building Code Officials.
State Leader – Sen. Janet Howell
During the 2022 legislative session, Senator Howell has been a critical defender of clean energy accomplishments. She was a leader in opposing Andrew Wheeler, nominated by Governor Youngkin as Secretary of Natural and Historic Resources. Howell has also been a leader in defending the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI). Howell also voted for the FACS-initiated bill to allow localities the option of embracing an energy efficiency standard tougher than the Uniform Statewide Building Code. In 2020, after meeting with FACS, she voted for Solar Freedom legislation. In the 2021, Howell voted for Green Bank enabling legislation that was originally proposed by FACS.
Faith Community – Bull Run Unitarian Universalist (BRUU)
Since Bull Run’s original accreditation in 2004 as one of the Unitarian Universalist Association’s first Green Sanctuaries, BRUU has embarked on a sustained journey of reducing its environmental footprint. In the past 5 years, its focus has been on energy efficiency and climate change, with an emphasis on minimizing – and in 2020 and again in 2021, neutralizing – the church’s and members’ carbon footprints. By demonstrating action at the congregational level, for example through energy audits, wildlife gardens, carbon offsets, and environmental activism, BRUU encourages neighbors and members to take personal action. BRUU leads by example and helping others in Prince William County to scale up climate efforts.
Business – Ipsun Solar
Ipsun Solar is a leader in clean energy services based in Virginia, Washington D.C. and Maryland. It designs and installs solar energy systems for homeowners, businesses, schools, non-profits and government organizations at a lower cost than their current utility bills. Ipsun is a B-Corporation, a new type of businesses that seek to be a model for the greater good. Ipsun Solar has a clear mission: fighting climate change by installing as many solar panels as possible. It works to help shape Virginia state solar policy.
Individual – Karen Campblin
Faith Community – Rock Spring United Church of Christ
Local Business – OmMade Peanut Butter
Local Elected Official – FCPS School Board member Elaine Tholen
State Elected Official – Delegate Kaye Kory
Individual – Debra Jacobson
Faith Community – Mt. Vernon Unitarian Church (MVUC)
Business – GreenFare Restaurant
Elected Official – FCPS School Board member Karl Frisch,
Legacy – Fairfax County Chairman Jeff McKay, FCPS Chair Karen Corbett Sanders
Individual – Wendy Gao, Susan Stillman
Faith Community – Unity of Fairfax
Elected Official – Fairfax Supervisor Dan Storck
Individual – Jill Barker, Dave Kuebrich
Business – MOMS Organic Market
Faith Community – St John Neuman Catholic Church
Elected Official – FCPS School Board member Pat Hynes
2021’s theme, “Plan, Restore, Thrive,” weaves in FACS’ goal of creating sustainable and resilient communities for current and future generations.
The 2020 awards focused on a vision for sustainability over the next decade.