2014 Best of Reston Hopes to Double Cornerstones' Stock of Affordable Housing

Best of Reston trying to meet founder Robert Simon's challenge.

Community members gather to announce this year's Best of Reston winners Thursday, Jan. 16. (Photo by Alex McVeigh)
Community members gather to announce this year's Best of Reston winners Thursday, Jan. 16. (Photo by Alex McVeigh)
Now that the winners have been announced for the 2014 Best of Reston, it's time to take a look at what's been happening and what will happen leading up to the April 10 ceremony. 

At the 2012 ceremony, Reston founder Robert Simon gave a challenge to the community: raise $1 million by the 2014 ceremony, which would mark Reston's 50th anniversary and Simon's 100th birthday. 

Simon's challenge is aimed at helping Cornerstones raise enough money to double its stock of affordable housing units. 

"It's an exciting prospect to think we'll be doubling the number of residential units," Simon said. 

The money raised at the event goes toward helping Cornerstones purchase properties for people transitioning out of homelessness. When the first Best of Reston awards were held 23 years ago, Cornerstones (then Reston Interfaith) owned three houses. Now it owns 53. 

"This event raises a lot of money to make our community better. We knew last year we had an opportunity to work with Cornerstones to double the amount of affordable housing they had," said Karen Cleveland, one of the event's co-chairs. "We have the opportunity to purchase 50 units, to really change things here in Reston."

Cornerstones serves about 20,000 people per year with their various services. The Greater Reston Chamber of Commerce and Cornerstones team up to hold the annual Best of Reston. 

"This is a true partnership between the business community, through the Greater Reston Chamber of Commerce, and Cornerstones. This partnership is so important, because it's what Best of Reston is all about. We care about this community," Cleveland said. "What's so special about this year, along with Bob Simon's 100th birthday and Reston's 50th, is that affordable housing is one of the cornerstones of Reston."

The 2013 event raised more money than any previous year, and co-chair Casey Veatch is hopeful this year will surpass it. 

"We had this crazy goal of reaching $ 1 million in two years. Understand that the record was set by Bob Simon, of $467,000, which was last year, now we are 75 percent of the way to reaching the goal," he said.

Leading up to the event, the community can help Best of Reston reach its goal by donating to Cornerstones' Stand With Bob campaign

The bust of Simon will also be on tour throughout Reston leading up to the April 10 event, and residents can have their photos taken with it, as well as donate to Cornerstones.  

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