Livable Communities Leadership Award




Our 18th Annual Frederick and Diana Prince Livable Communities Leadership Award took place on Monday May 10th from 5-6:15pm.

We honored Mayor Muriel Bowser as our 2021 Livable Communities Leadership Awardee. Mayor Bowser has shown dedicated leadership in DC during her 2 terms in office, fighting for more affordable housing and passing the Comprehensive Plan, improving transit and active transportation infrastructure, and opening streets for safe recreation and outdoor dining during the COVID-19 pandemic. We also honored 3 Community Heroes from throughout the region: Kishan Putta for his advocacy for the 16th St bus lanes in DC; the Open Streets Coalition in Montgomery County made up of Kristy Daphnis, Peter Gray, and Alison Gillespie fighting for safe and open streets during the pandemic and beyond; and Mary Paden for her work to ensure community development without displacement in Fairfax, VA.

Click here to register for the event.

If you or your organization are interested in sponsoring this event, more information can be found here

Jump to: Meet our 2021 honorees | Sponsor the event | About the awards & the reception [/featured]


Event resources

The event was recorded and the recordings are now uploaded to CSG’s YouTube channel in a single playlist.


Meet our 2021 honorees


Muriel Bowser, Mayor of the District of Columbia

2021 Prince Livable Communities Leadership Award winner

We are proud to recognize Mayor Bowser for her leadership of Washington, DC and the region! On November 6, 2018, Muriel Bowser became the first woman ever re-elected as the Mayor of Washington, DC and the first mayor to earn a second term in 16 years. Prior to becoming Mayor in 2015, she served as the Ward 4 Councilmember, first elected in a special election in 2007 and re-elected in 2008 and 2012. As a Councilmember, she Chaired the Committee on Economic Development which created more than 5,000 units of affordable housing, passed legislation to build the new soccer stadium, and secured the best portion of the Walter Reed campus for DC. She first entered elected office as an Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner in the Riggs Park neighborhood.  Mayor Bowser earned a BA in History from Chatham University and a MA in Public Policy from American University, and received honorary doctorates from Chatham University and Trinity University.

In addition to leading the city through one of the most challenging years in our recent history amid the pandemic, the fight for racial equity and justice, and an insurrection, she stands out as a regional leader in sustainable and equitable development. We are proud to honor her for committing the city to providing for more housing and more affordable housing, to making all neighborhoods inclusive, and to more sustainable, affordable, and safer transportation. Her many achievements include: 

  • Leading the Comprehensive Plan update that will allow for significantly expanded housing supply and affordable housing.
  • Establishing ambitious housing goals for the Council of Governments, and being first to commit to a significant share: 36,000 new homes in the city by 2025, with 12,000 for low-income residents. 
  • Committing all wards, including the most affluent, to at least 15% of their homes as affordable, based on the “Housing Equity” Report. 
  • $100 million in annual appropriations to the Housing Production Trust Fund, the most in the region and one of the highest in the United States. 
  • Committing to public land for public good, including restarting redevelopment of 965 Florida Avenue to serve low-income households. 
  • Addressing homelessness with high-quality, new short-term housing distributed through the city and linked to improved services and placement in secure homes. 
  • Launching the bus priority program, including the H and I bus-only lanes, 14th Street bus/bike lanes, and construction of the 16th Street bus lanes. 
  • Implementing Vision Zero policies, including reducing speed limits to 20 miles per hour, installing four miles of protected bike lanes and state of the art pedestrian signals, sidewalks and bike lanes for the new Douglass Bridge, reconstructing Benning Road to safely accommodate people walking, bicycling, and riding transit, and planning an innovative sidewalk widening program for Georgetown. 
  • Achieving the highest walk and bicycle to work rate in the nation
  • Adopting innovative street parking management and flexible commuter benefits
  • Transforming street parking into “Streeteries” and safe spaces for people to walk


Community Hero Awardees

Mary Paden, South County Task Force for Human Services

Mary Paden is a leader in advocating equity, inclusion and social justice in Fairfax County’s Richmond Highway Corridor. Chair of the South County Task Force for Human Services and the county NAACP’s Fair and Affordable Housing Committee, she has been a tireless advocate for redevelopment without displacement as Fairfax County moves to revitalize Route 1 with a bus rapid transit line and transit-oriented communities. She has mobilized and elevated the voices of underrepresented communities, organizing carpools of residents to speak on the Embark Richmond Highway Plan in support of more affordable housing, a panel discussion on equitable community development, and a community conversion with county and state officials for residents of a mobile home community facing risk of displacement. With the pandemic disproportionately impacting lower-income residents and communities of color, Mary has been a steadfast advocate for eviction protection, support for the homeless, and provision of essential human services in the corridor.  


Kristy Daphnis, Alison Gillespie, Peter Gray; Open Streets Coalition of Montgomery County

When the pandemic took hold and people sought more outdoor space for safe recreation,  Kristy Daphnis, Alison Gillespie, and Peter Gray organized and led the Open Streets Coalition in Montgomery County. They seized the opportunity to advocate for streets to be opened up for walking, biking, and rolling. Their advocacy helped the county become a regional leader with a robust shared streets program, which includes several “streeteries,” pop-up neighborhood greenways, the expansion of Acorn Urban Park, and the new shared streets block permit. Meanwhile, Montgomery Parks’ closed Sligo Creek Parkway, Beach Drive, and Little Falls Parkway, prompting a boom in family biking and walking. The coalition also partnered with MDSHA to establish a protected bike lane pilot project connecting Sligo Creek and the Wheaton Central Business District, scheduled to open in June. From the beginning, the coalition advocated for programs throughout the county, to ensure equitable access.


Kishan Putta, Champion for 16th Street Bus Lanes and better bus service

A resident of DC, local Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner, and bus rider, Kishan Putta experienced with his fellow bus commuters the daily delays and overcrowding along 16th Street, one of the most heavily used bus corridors in the region. He took up the challenge, tirelessly leading a multiyear, multifaceted education and advocacy campaign. He won resolutions from ANCs in support of dedicated bus lanes and other bus service improvements, mobilized volunteers and allies, and engaged councilmembers to win their support. Kishan’s persistence, energy, and creative advocacy ultimately helped win the day and the new bus lanes will finally open next year, improving commutes for more than ten thousand riders each day.


Sponsor the event


Sponsorship Opportunities 

Sponsoring the 2021 Livable Communities Leadership Awards is a great opportunity to connect your firm and brand with some of the DC region’s most active, engaged residents and activists. Coalition for Smarter Growth supporters are active in their neighborhoods and communities, embrace transit-oriented, car-free or car-light lifestyles, and many bike for transportation and/or recreation. Many volunteer with CSG in campaigns to support more transit-oriented development, more housing, increased funding for transit, redesigned streets that are safer for walking and biking. Leading up to the event, the Coalition for Smarter Growth’s publicity reaches over 24,000 of these individuals in the Washington, DC metropolitan area. Due to the necessary online format of this year’s event we are not able to offer the usual range of benefits to our sponsors but will heavily promote the event. Interested in sponsoring as an individual? Please email to inquire!

Click here to learn more about sponsoring Livable Communities!


About the awards & the reception

[line]The Frederick & Diana Prince Livable Community Leadership Award is bestowed annually on the Washington area individual or individuals who have made a particularly significant contribution to smart growth in the Washington region.Past award winners include Montgomery County Councilmember Roger Berliner, former Arlington County Board Member J. Walter Tejada, Virginia Congressman Gerry Connolly, former District of Columbia Office of Planning Director Harriet Tregoning, West*Group founder Jerry Halpin, Fairfax Supervisors Penny Gross and Cathy Hudgins, former Federal Realty Vice President Evan Goldman, and EYA CEO Bob Youngentob.

Frederick and Diana Prince championed the formation of the Coalition for Smarter Growth, and – through the Prince Charitable Trusts – have supported a network of smart growth, conservation, and social equity non-profits for over two decades, encouraging their collaboration and mutual success. Their investment in community organizations has contributed to the revitalization of the District of Columbia, protection of the region’s environment, stronger affordable housing policies, and one of the most successful smart growth movements in the nation – linking preservation of the countryside with urban revitalization and walkable, transit-oriented communities.

The Sanders-Henn Community Hero Award is awarded at the same reception and honors local residents who demonstrate records of service and dedication to their community and make outstanding contributions to smart growth in the region. This annual award is named in honor of two of the smart growth community’s greatest volunteer advocates, Harry Sanders and Carl Henn.

The Livable Communities Leadership Award reception is the Coalition’s primary fundraiser of the year and is known for a highly engaged and diverse mix of regional leaders in development, conservation, architecture, planning, housing, and government.

Thank you also to the foundations that support CSG’s ongoing efforts to create a more livable community: Prince Charitable Trusts, The Morris and Gwendolyn Cafritz Foundation, Community Foundation for Northern Virginia, Share Fund, The Campbell Foundation, and Wolf Run Foundation.