Press Statement | November 16, 2023

ECDC President to Receive 30th Annual Spirit of Community Award from Arlington Community Foundation

Arlington Va. – (Nov. 15, 2023).  ECDC President, and CEO, Tsehaye Teferra, Ph.D. and two others will be recognized with 2023 Arlington’s Spirit of Community Award for Decades of Community Service by the Arlington Community Foundation on November 17  at a ceremony and luncheon at the Renaissance Arlington, Capital View.

In making the announcement early in November, the Foundation said, “We are so excited to announce that we will be honoring three extraordinary people with the 2023 William T. Newman Spirit of Community. Individually and collectively, these recipients represent the passion, commitment, and community advocacy that define the Award and the absolute best vision of what Arlington can be.”

Dr. Teferra, a pillar in the Arlington community and a steadfast advocate for humanitarian causes, has been honored with a distinguished award in recognition of his outstanding service spanning four decades. In addition to being the founder and President of ECDC and its subsidiary the Enterprise Development Group (EDG), which are based in Arlington, Dr. Teferra has served in various civic roles. He was appointed by the Arlington County Board to serve as a founding member of the Arlington County, Virginia, Multicultural Commission as well as a member of the County’s Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the Task Force for Arlington’s Future, and the Diversity Dialogue Task Force

Dr. Teferra’s unwavering commitment to the well-being of the Arlington community has not gone unnoticed. His years of service and his selfless dedication to assisting immigrants and refugees have had a profound impact, fostering a sense of belonging and support for those who need it most. As a long-time supporter of community initiatives, Dr. Teferra has consistently demonstrated a genuine passion for making a positive difference in the lives of others. Whether through his involvement in local charities, educational programs, or outreach efforts, his tireless contributions have touched the hearts of many.

This award not only celebrates Dr. Teferra’s remarkable achievements but also serves as a testament to the power of compassion and community engagement. With the Foundation’s honoring of him, ECDC also recognizes the importance of all those who lead by example, inspiring others to contribute to the greater good.

The other recipients being recognized with Dr. Teferra are John Foti, who helped establish After School Enrichment Matters (ASEM) which supports students of Arlington’s eight Title 1 elementary schools in gaining access to free afterschool programming, and Andres Tobar, the Executive Director of Shirlington Education and Employment Center.

About ECDC: Since its establishment in 1983 in Arlington, Va., ECDC has been committed to serving refugees and immigrants who come to the United States in search of safety and better lives. Through its network, ECDC has resettled over 72,400 refugees from many countries across the United States. Through its various programs, it ensures that newcomers become integrated and contributing members of the communities they settle in.


About the Arlington Community Foundation: The Foundation was established in 1991 to serve as a permanent community endowment built by the gifts and charitable legacies of individuals, families, and businesses for the betterment of Arlington County. According to a statement given by the Foundation, “As a grant-maker, convener, and sponsor of special initiatives, the Community Foundation strives to strengthen local nonprofits, encourage a better understanding of the needs of Arlingtonians, and address the most critical issues of our time to ensure our community provides opportunity for everyone.”

For media inquiries, please contact:


Lullit Paulos,


901 S Highland Street,

Arlington, Va.


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