Contributions to youth, poor, LGBT issues, interfaith understanding honored with local humanitarian awards

(Courtesy of inclusiveva.org)
(Courtesy of inclusiveva.org)

The Tidewater chapter of the Virginia Center for Inclusive Communities honored four people and two programs Thursday night for their humanitarian contributions in South Hampton Roads.

The banquet at the Norfolk Waterside Marriott marked the chapter’s 52nd annual presentation of the Tidewater Humanitarian Awards. The nonprofit Virginia Center for Inclusive Communities traces its roots to 1935 and works with schools, businesses and communities “to achieve success by addressing prejudices, in all forms, in order to improve academic achievement, increase workplace productivity, and enhance local trust,” according to its website.

Here are this year’s honorees, with bios provided by the Center:

Charles Barker (Courtesy photo)
Charles Barker (Courtesy photo)

Charles G. Barker, chairman of Charles Barker Holdings Inc. Barker owns multiple auto dealerships in Hampton Roads, a real estate company and a private jet company. His foundation, “Charles Barker Champions for Kids,” raises funds to provide services such as counseling, drug and alcohol awareness, and mentoring programs to local youth. One of his proudest accomplishments was establishing a scholarship program for every  high school in Virginia Beach, according to the press release.

Cindy Cutler (Courtesy photo)
Cindy Cutler (Courtesy photo)

Cynthia A. Cutler, known “both as an expert in real estate lending, and as a fierce and tireless advocate for some of the most marginalized members of society,” she has advocated at the state level for the civil rights of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community. Cutler introduced “Dining out for Life,” an annual fundraiser for AIDS service organizations, and helped bring Hampton Roads Pride and a Pride boat parade, “OUT in the Park,” to the area. Cutler is a founding member of Hampton Roads Business OutReach, which honors substantial contributions of the LGBT business community to the local economy.

Courtney McBath (Courtesy photo)
Courtney McBath (Courtesy photo)

Courtney McBath, began Cavalry Revival Church in a hotel conference room with 21 congregants. The church’s current  location serves thousands of weekly attendees. The church runs a food and clothing pantry, a mentoring program and nursing home ministries. McBath serves as a senior pastor and presiding bishop of Calvary Alliance of Churches. He provides guidance, leadership training and opportunities for accountability to affiliated ministries around the world.

Alvin Wall (Courtesy photo)
Alvin Wall (Courtesy photo)

Alvin A. Wall is a founding shareholder of Wall, Einhorn & Chernitzer, P.C. and serves on the boards of numerous organizations, including the Tidewater Jewish Foundation, United Way of South Hampton Roads and Westminster Canterbury Chesapeake Bay. He has been in the tax field for more than 40 years and has significant experience in the real estate industry.

Voices of Faith will receive the 2016 Tidewater Jeffrey B. Spence Award for Interfaith Understanding. The program has been furthering interfaith understanding for more than 30 years. It began as a television program in 1982 as “Focus on Faith,” with a United  Methodist pastor, a Presbyterian pastor and a rabbi, among others. The series was renamed “Voices of Faith” in 2012 and is now produced monthly as a podcast in cooperation with Virginia Wesleyan College’s Center for the Study of Religious Freedom.

Old Dominion University’s Institute of the Humanities will receive the 2016 Tidewater Distinguished Merit Award for its “Birth of an Answer” program. The program celebrated 100 years of African-American creative and critical responses to the 1915 silent film, “The Birth of a Nation.” The program featured a screening of  the ODU-produced short fiction film, “Our Nation,” which tells the story of the Norfolk response to “The Birth of a Nation” in 1915 through the eyes of Douglas, a young African-American boy and budding film enthusiast.

The Humanitarian Awards are presented annually in communities across Virginia by the Virginia Center for Inclusive Communities. They began in Tidewater in 1965.

Have a story idea or news tip? Contact Business reporter Hillary Smith  at Hillary@SouthsideDaily.com or 757-490-2750.

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