White House Recognizes CIRI Talent

Greg Razo, CIRI vice president, Government Contracting, and CIRI shareholder.
Greg Razo, CIRI vice president, government contracting, and CIRI shareholder

CIRI’S Greg Razo Honored as a ‘Champion of Change’

For his efforts to improve Alaska’s civil and criminal justice systems, Greg Razo, a CIRI shareholder and company executive, has been recognized as a White House “Champion of Change.” The program was created as an opportunity for the White House to honor individuals working to remove barriers for those with a criminal record.

In addition to his role as CIRI’s vice president of government contracting, Razo serves as chair of the Alaska Criminal Justice Commission, a 13-member board that seeks to enhance public safety, rehabilitation and victim restitution while working to improve criminal laws and practices in Alaska. He also serves as vice chair of the Alaska Native Justice Center (ANJC), a CIRI-founded nonprofit organization that provides legal advocacy, referral and support to Alaska Native and other Native American people involved with Alaska’s legal system.

Alaska Native people face increasingly disproportionate rates of victimization, incarceration and other justice-related issues in Alaska. Through culturally-based advocacy, prevention and intervention initiatives, ANJC is working to restore dignity, respect and humanity to all Native peoples.

“I’ve been an active lawyer in Alaska for 30 years, and as such I feel a responsibility to give back to the public in some way,” Razo said. “For me, that means pursuing public service opportunities that make the law more accessible for those who have the hardest time accessing the law. I’m very fortunate to have CIRI support me in these activities.”

Approximately 70 million people nationwide – or one-third of working-age adults – have been arrested or convicted of a crime. According to current statistics released by the White House, more than 600,000 individuals are freed from state and federal prisons each year. These individuals often leave prison with few resources and practical skills, and without the support they need to successfully reintegrate into society.

“In addition to being an instrumental executive of the company, Greg’s service to the community exemplifies the values that are important to CIRI and our shareholders,” said CIRI President and CEO Sophie Minich. “We appreciate his efforts to strengthen our community and make it safer, and we congratulate him for this distinguished honor.”

Razo and nine other honorees were recognized at an event April 27 at the While House. For information on the “White House Champions of Change for Expanding Fair Chance Opportunities,” visit www.whitehouse.gov/champions.

ANHC’S Annette Evans Smith Named to National Arts Council

Annette Evans-Smith, Alaska Native Heritage Center CEO.
Annette Evans Smith,
Alaska Native Heritage Center CEO

For her work sustaining Alaska’s diverse cultures and languages, last month President Barack Obama announced the nomination of Annette Evans Smith as a member of the National Council on the Arts.

Evans Smith is the president and CEO of the Alaska Native Heritage Center (ANHC), a CIRI-founded nonprofit organization, and brings “a depth of experience and tremendous dedication” to the role, President Obama said.
Evans Smith joined ANHC as president of community relations and development in 2003 and was named president and CEO in 2011. ANHC showcases Alaska Native cultures and serves to educate visitors about the history and traditions of Alaska Native people.

In addition to her work with ANHC, in 2012, Evans Smith worked on the legislation that established the Alaska Native Language Preservation and Advisory Council. Nearly all of the 20 indigenous languages spoken in Alaska are listed as critically or severely endangered by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).

The Language Preservation and Advisory Council provides recommendations and advice to both the Governor and Legislature on programs, policies and projects that support the preservation of these languages.

The National Council on the Arts functions as the advisory body of the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), an independent agency of the U.S. federal government that offers support and funding for projects exhibiting artistic excellence. In her new role, Evans Smith, along with the other voting members, will advise the NEA chairman on agency policies and programs, and review and make recommendations on applications for grants, funding guidelines and leadership initiatives.

For information on the National Council on the Arts, visit www.arts.gov/about/national-council-arts.