Pioneering investors and medical researchers, internationally lauded educators and advocates, leading edge technologists recognized for impacts in Charlottesville and beyond

A public nomination process over the summer surfaced artists, civic leaders, and entrepreneurs whose endeavors have had tremendous local, national, and even global impacts. A selection committee comprised of past recipients and the Tom Tom Advisory Board selected the 2017 recipients.

In-depth interviews and the founding stories of each recipient will be featured in a commemorative brochure that will be included in the September 13th edition of C-VILLE WEEKLY. Full profiles and exclusive Founding Story interviews available online at:

Recipient Short Bios:

• Martin Burks III is a Charlottesville native and president of one of the longest-black-owned businesses in Virginia, Burks led a community coalition to preserve the Jefferson School and establish the African American Heritage Center. This maintained an important symbol to the black community, and an essential asset for Charlottesville.

• Martin Chapman is a groundbreaking researcher in the field of allergens who has impacted several global health industries over nearly three decades. In 1998, Chapman founded Indoor Biotechnologies, which has since improved the lives of tens of thousands of consumers and provided a research platform for more than 400 scientific papers. Chapman is a leading advocate for Charlottesville’s growth as a biotech hub.

• Alice Handy founded Investure in 2003, after decades leading the University of Virginia’s endowment. The fund has become a leader in endowment and foundation investments, with $13 billion under management with some of the nation’s premier institutions. Handy is a female pioneer in the investment industry, and is recognized locally as a mentor.

• Bebe Heiner founded The Women’s Initiative out of a desire to provide vital mental health care, social support and education services to women in our community. Since 2007, it has served over 15,000 women in Charlottesville and Albemarle.

• John Hunter designed the World Peace Game: a hands-on, geopolitical simulation that engages children of all ages with highly charged diplomatic problem solving. Since its founding in 1978, the game has inspired an international award-winning documentary, and impacted thousands of children from across the globe.

• Emily Morrison established The Front Porch, a roots music school dedicated to the education and promotion of traditional cultural art forms, fostering creativity, cultural exchange, and community wide learning.

• Michael Prichard was an early leader in the Charlottesville tech startup scene. He founded WillowTree Apps in 2008, and contributed to an industry of local designers and developers with national clients like the NBA, Pepsi, and HBO. His newest venture, Metis Machine, is set to pioneer the accessibility of data science and machine learning across multiple industry sectors.

• Larry Sabato has taught and inspired over 20,000 students over four decades. In 1998 he founded the Center for Politics to encourage citizens to become more engaged in politics and government, which in turn has garnered two Emmy awards and acclaim as one of the top political analysts in the nation.

• Alison Webb cofounded the Virginia Institute of Autism in 1996 to help educate her own children, and has since pioneered a local, national, and international understanding of autism. The Institute now serves hundreds of families per year in Charlottesville, and is a recognized teaching model for the autism community.