Prince George’s County Social Innovation Fund announces Forty UNDER 40 awards

The Prince George’s County Social Innovation Fund, a new organization that seeks to support local non-profit groups among other goals, announced its inaugural “Forty UNDER 40” awards Thursday, recognizing emerging county leaders.

The awardees were chosen in the categories of Arts and Humanities, Business, Education, Fitness, Public Service and Science. They include native Prince Georgians and those new to the county who have made an immediate impact.

“The idea was to highlight and acknowledge the incredible talent that exists in the county,” said Tonia Wellons, the group’s founder and managing director, who started the organization in November 2010.

The awardees include state Del. Aisha Braveboy, 37, an attorney from Mitchellville; Arthur L. Neal, Jr. 35, a deputy administrator at the U.S. Department of Agriculture, from Upper Marlboro; Kris Marsh, 38, a professor of sociology at the University of Maryland who lives in Bowie; and  Edward Burroughs, 19, from Temple Hills, who became the youngest elected official in Maryland when he was elected to the county school board in 2010. The full list can be found here.

Wellons said that the group’s mission was largely to support county non-profits that work with children and families. She said that Prince George’s is generally considered a place that has one of the weakest non-profit networks in the region. She siad the aim of her organization is to galvanize the county’s wide array of professionals and encourage them to help non profits in their missions, by siting on boards and assuming other leadership positions.

For instance, this year the group plans to begin a initiative that would help after-school programs link their educational curriculum with the schools that students attend to encourage more continuity in children’s education.

“Government doesn’t have the ability to address all o f the county’s challenges alone,” she said.

The group will hold a gala for the awardees on January 31st.

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