Capital One Bank Community Champions

The Mystics and Capital One Bank are teaming up once again to recognize the heroes in our community. As part of their long-standing "Investing for Good" philosophy, at every home game this season, Capital One bank is saluting the people who truly make a real and last difference in the communities we call home.

You can read about each Capital One Bank Community Champion winners below:

Honored On Winners

July 2, 2014 vs. Fever Nancy Roman, Capital Area Food Bank

Nancy E. Roman has had an ecletic 25-year international career spanning journalism, business, U.S. government, Wall Street and the United Nations. She’s come home to fight hunger. In January 2013, Roman joined the Capital Area Food Bank as the President & CEO. In her position, Roman is responsible for the entire operation of the 34-year old Capital Area Food Bank. The CAFB empowers 500 partner agencies to help solve hunger throughout the Washington metro area. She oversees the collection, storage and distribution of 45 million pounds of food, half of which is fresh produce, to nearly 500,000 children, seniors and families struggling with hunger. Roman also oversees the food bank’s 21,000 volunteers, which are the backbone of the organization and help save over $2.6 million in staffing costs – allowing the food bank to provide more food and resources to the community. To learn how you can help solve hunger in the Washington metro area, please visit for volunteer opportunities and other ways to help.

June 29, 2014 vs. Stars Graham McLaughlin, Community Impact

Graham McLaughlin leads the corporate responsibility program, entitled Community Impact, at The Advisory Board Company, a global research, technology, and consulting firm based in DC that partners with 125,000 leaders in 4,000 organizations across health care and higher education.

Last year 100% of staff at the Advisory Board volunteered, providing 32,000 hours of service to community organizations, $1.8M in benefit to over a hundred organizations in the DC area, and touching over 10,000 lives.

Personally, Graham chairs the Board of the DC Alliance for Youth Advocates, is a Points of Light Corporate Institute Faculty Member, is a board member of Wilderness Leadership & Learning, and mentors two young men. He has been published in Guardian Sustainable Business and Forbes, and in a number of national and regional blogs on corporate social responsibility.

June 27, 2014 vs. Sun Aleta Margolis, Center for Inspired Teaching

Aleta Margolis is the Founder and Executive Director of Center for Inspired Teaching, an organization investing in teachers - the most influential school-based variable in student achievement - to build a better school experience for children. Inspired Teaching's programs serve hundreds of preK-12 teachers every year, training teachers to provide high quality, inquiry-based instruction aligned with the Common Core State Standards to improve education for thousands of children in high needs communities in Washington, DC and regionally.

Aleta previously served as a professor of education at American University, specializing in authentic assessment, science and math education, and curriculum reform. A former public school teacher, Aleta taught in both elementary and middle schools and designed and ran alternative educational programs for court-referred high school students.

In 2011, Aleta helped launch the Inspired Teaching Demonstration School, a DC public charter school that puts into practice Center for Inspired Teaching’s inquiry-based instructional model. The Demonstration School also serves as a partner site for the Inspired Teacher Certification Program, a DC state-accredited, 24-month residency teacher preparation program. In addition to these programs, Center for Inspired Teaching is also shifting the practice of inservice teachers through district partnerships to implement the Common Core and the Next Generation Science Standards.

Learn more about Center for Inspired Teaching's innovative teacher trainings at and @InspireTeach.

June 15, 2014 vs. Dream Corinne Cannon, DC Diaper Bank

Corinne Cannon is the Founder and Executive Director of DC Diaper Bank, which she founded in 2010 to provide diapers and other baby essentials to low-income families in the Washington, DC metro area. DC Diaper Bank currently distributes more than 60,000 diapers every month through a network of social service agencies and reaches more than 2,500 families each month. Corinne attended Trinity University in DC and holds both a BA and Masters in Teaching from the school. Additionally, she earned a MSc in Cognitive Anthropology from the London School of Economics. Corinne lives with her husband Jay and their two young children, Jack and Callie, on Capitol Hill.

June 13, 2014 vs. Sky Ronda Thompson, Year Up

Ronda Harris Thompson is the Executive Director of Year Up National Capital Region. Since joining Year Up in 2007, she has served in several critical capacities, including Senior Director of Program and Academics. In this position she drove the outreach, admissions, college enrollment, and academic components of 300 young adults annually, consistently exceeding expectations for each area of responsibility. Ronda also developed and implemented a groundbreaking dual enrollment partnership with Northern Virginia Community College.

With over 20 years of experience in the D.C. market, Ronda has held several positions maximizing her youth development and managerial expertise. Prior to joining Year Up, Ronda served as Deputy Director for City Year in Washington, D.C., where she oversaw the site's training, corps member support and service initiatives.

Other positions Ronda has held include Acting Director of the Public Affairs Office of the D.C. Housing Authority and Public Affairs Specialist for the U.S. Agency for International Development. Ronda, a D.C. native, graduated from Bowie State University, an historically Black university, with a B.A. in Psychology and a Master of Science in Administration (M.S.A.) in Organizational Development from Trinity Washington University. She currently serves on the board of Gifted Servants (Maryland).

June 10, 2014 vs. Mercury Tamara Perez, Bright Beginnings Inc.

Tamara Perez is the Head Start Social Worker/Parent Involvement Coordinator at Bright Beginnings Inc. Child Development Center for homeless children and families in Northwest, Washington, D.C. and is a proud Washingtonian, born and raised in Southeast Washington. For the past 13 years, Tammy has dedicated her life’s work to helping children and families in the District of Columbia “weather the storm”. She has worked for a number of organizations such as For Love of Children (FLOC) Learning Center; Caesar Chavez Public Charter School; Children’s Choice Specialized Foster Care, Kinship, & Adoption Services; and the Perry School Social Services Center where she served as a Domestic Violence Case Manager. The heart of Tammy’s professional experience is creating support services for homeless families and their children. For Tammy, working with those who are homeless, especially small children, has been the most rewarding experience.

June 6, 2014 vs. Fever Eleni A. Rossides, Executive Director of the Washington Tennis & Education Foundation

Eleni A. Rossides, Executive Director, joined WTEF in September 2004. A native Washingtonian, Ms. Rossides grew up playing tennis on area courts. She received her bachelor’s degree from Stanford University, where she was ranked number 1 in the country and was a championship player on the women’s tennis team. After Stanford, she spent eight years as a tennis pro on the women’s professional tennis tour. During part of this time, WTEF’s present Program Director, Willis Thomas, Jr., was her coach. Following her professional tennis experience, Ms. Rossides received her MBA from the Kellogg Graduate School of Management at Northwestern University and spent several years in the private sector. She served as a management consultant with McKinsey & Co. Ms. Rossides has important strategic and leadership skills; experience in business; and broad contacts in DC’s business, philanthropic, governmental and educational community. In October, 2009, Ms. Rossides won the 2009 EXCEL Leadership Award recognizing and honoring outstanding nonprofit leaders for excellence in the areas of innovation, motivation, community building, ethical integrity and strategic leadership. In 2013, Washington CEO magazine honored Ms. Rossides with a BRAVA! Award, recognizing women executives who encourage local philanthropy, mentor fellow CEOs and set their companies on the path to tremendous growth.

June 1, 2014 vs. Sparks Mark Hecker, Founder of Reach Incorporated

A social worker and educator with extensive experience in secure and community-based settings, Mark Hecker has dedicated his career to serving teenagers with significant academic and social challenges. Following his graduation from Duke University and the University of North Carolina School of Social Work, Mark moved to Washington DC to work with adolescents in the District of Columbia’s foster care system. Due to his high-quality clinical interventions and tireless advocacy, Mark was named the Consortium for Child Welfare’s Outstanding Social Worker of the Year – the youngest person ever given the honor. The idea for Reach Incorporated was born through Hecker’s work with DC youth, so he left social work to gain knowledge as a classroom teacher in a transitional school for students exiting the juvenile prison system.

After working as a classroom teacher, Mark attended Harvard’s Graduate School of Education as a student in the School Leadership Program. At Harvard, he gained the practical and theoretical knowledge necessary to launch Reach Incorporated, which he did in 2009. Reach hires and trains high school students to be elementary school tutors - creating reading growth for both tutors and students. The organization currently serves approximately 200 students at 7 DC schools. Hecker is a 2011 Echoing Green Fellow and a 2014 winner of the W.K. Kellogg Community Leadership Network Fellowship.

May 30, 2014 vs. Liberty Donald Curtis, Founder & Executive Director of SOUL

Donald Curtis is the Founder & Executive Director of a Washington D.C. based youth sports development program called Student-Athletes Organized to Understand Leadership or SOUL. He played college basketball for Chattanooga State Technical College in Tennessee. Donald has a BS in Business Administration from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga and a MA in Strategic Communications from American University. He has been supporting youth development programs since 2003. Since then he has worked in a variety of youth systems, supporting youth with psychological conditions to those in foster care, juvenile detention center, and college access initiatives.

Donald serves on the advisory councils for several DC based youth initiatives programs and has also served as a Math Teacher and basketball coach in the Prince George County schools. He currently serves a Faculty/Staff Advisor for American University’s Black Student Alliance, Dominican Student Association, Caribbean Student Club, Men of Excellence & Empowerment and Student Fighting Homelessness & Hunger. He has supported dozens of community-based organizations implement civic engagement initiatives. Donald is also the Co-Founder of the Alexandria Kings Basketball Association in Northern Virginia.

May 16, 2014 vs. Lynx Tara Libert, Co-Founder and Executive Director of Free Minds

Tara Libert is the Co-Founder and Executive Director of Free Minds Book Club & Writing Workshop, a nonprofit organization that uses books and creative writing as a tool to help young inmates at the DC Jail transform their lives and future goals. Tara also trained at the Freedom Writer’s Institute and her writing has been included in Teaching Hope: Stories from the Freedom Writer Teachers. ( A former television news producer, Tara created Free Minds after she and co-founder Kelli Taylor produced a documentary on Glen McGinnis, a death row inmate in Texas who had committed his crime at the young age of 17. After Glen, who was an avid reader with a true passion for learning, was executed, Tara and Kelli founded Free Minds in his honor.

Free Minds runs a weekly book club and poetry workshop for youth charged as adults at the DC Jail. Through the book club, 16 and 17 year old boys—many of whom have low reading levels and have had limited education—are exposed to a new way of thinking and expressing themselves. Free Minds keeps in touch with its members throughout their entire incarceration period and into their return to the community. When Free Minds members turn 18 and are sent to federal prisons across the country, Tara and the Free Minds team keep in touch with them by sending cards, letters, books, a regular newsletter, and feedback on their poetry. The ongoing support reminds Free Minds members that they are not alone and that they have a whole community behind them rooting for their success. When members return home, Free Minds provides job readiness training and assistance connecting to jobs and programs. Free Minds members also engage in community outreach by leading violence prevention programs at DC colleges, community groups, and public schools. The “Poet Ambassadors” share their powerful stories of personal change in order to educate the DC community on the root causes of youth incarceration. Through Tara’s tireless work with Free Minds, she has inspired over 600 incarcerated and at-risk youth to envision and reach for a better life.