Olga Corey Spirit of Com­mu­nity Award


The Olga Corey Spirit of Com­mu­nity Award is given peri­od­i­cally to an indi­vid­ual or group that has advanced the qual­ity of res­i­den­tial life in the Foggy Bot­tom neigh­bor­hood. The Award iden­ti­fies those whose efforts pro­mote com­mu­nity as a means of ensur­ing the unique and spe­cial char­ac­ter of Foggy Bot­tom. Any FBA mem­ber can nom­i­nate a recipient.”

Past Award Recip­i­ents

2002 Lucille Molinelli 1st recip­i­ent, To read a June, 2002 inter­view with Lucille click here >
2003 Dorothy Miller & Maria Tyler
2005 Don Kruzer

FBA Archives: Olga Corey
Olga Corey Mr. Lincoln’s Staunchest Foggy Bot­tom Fan
by Jane Lingo | ByGeorge! | April 1997

From edu­ca­tion to pol­i­tics to inde­pen­dent con­sult­ing, that’s the career path of 30-year Foggy Bot­tom res­i­dent Olga Corey.

The daugh­ter of intel­lec­tu­als, her father a pro­fes­sor of eco­nom­ics and her mother a pro­fes­sor of Ger­man and Russ­ian, she grew up in New York, NY. At the end of her third year of under­grad­u­ate stud­ies at Queens Col­lege, her par­ents trans­ferred to teach­ing posi­tions at Anti­och Col­lege in Ohio. She accom­pa­nied them, but only stayed one semester.

“You like where you have been,” explains Corey. She returned to New York, worked at a sales job for Macy’s depart­ment store, and grad­u­ated from Queens Col­lege with a bachelor’s degree in English.

Her first job was with the Inter­na­tional Stu­dent Assem­bly in New York. Her last posi­tion in the polit­i­cal world was as chief of staff for Sen. Carol Moseley-Braun (D–IL). She entered the free-lance field in 1996, and now is “busy with three or four projects at once.”

In the inter­ven­ing years, she advanced through posi­tions of increas­ing respon­si­bil­ity. “One thing led to another,” she says of her climb. After the Inter­na­tional Assem­bly, Corey went to work for labor unions, first with the tex­tile work­ers and later with the elec­tri­cal workers.

“In those days I trav­eled a lot,” Corey tells. “I was in Penn­syl­va­nia and Ohio and sev­eral other states. I love orga­niz­ing. You have to like peo­ple. You felt you were doing some­thing to help people.”

Later Corey’s career took her to the Windy City
“It was instant love after New York. The first thing is, Chicago has that lake. It was like a small town with all those neigh­bor­hoods. Mid­west­ern peo­ple are friendly any­way.” She adds that she can “almost always tell tell if a stu­dent is from Illinois.”

Corey explains that Chicago is where she “learned pol­i­tics.” She became assis­tant pub­lic rela­tions direc­tor for Roo­sevelt Col­lege, now Roo­sevelt University.

“It was the first school in Chicago to admit blacks,” she notes. “It was just such an excit­ing place to be. I can remem­ber Mrs. Roo­sevelt com­ing for the 25th anniver­sary of the school. I have never been in such awe of anybody.”

Corey’s attach­ment for Illi­nois is long-lasting. She first came to Wash­ing­ton, DC, in 1965, and when Feb. 12 rolled around, she thought how nice it was to have a hol­i­day. About 10:30 am her sec­re­tary called to ask, “Aren’t you com­ing in to work today?” At that point Corey learned that the birth­day of Abra­ham Lin­coln was not a hol­i­day in the Dis­trict of Colum­bia. Still, she did not go in. Instead she called every friend from Illi­nois she had and threw a birth­day party for “Mr. Lin­coln,” com­plete with a big cake and singing. She has been host­ing the cel­e­bra­tion ever since, and even drapes red, white, and blue bunting around her apartment.

Corey’s first post in Wash­ing­ton was as a pub­lic infor­ma­tion offi­cer for the Equal Edu­ca­tion Oppor­tu­ni­ties Pro­gram of the US Office of Edu­ca­tion. She moved on to serve as com­mu­ni­ca­tions direc­tor for the AFL-CIO Human Resources Devel­op­ment Insti­tute, and then became direc­tor of the State of Illi­nois Office in Wash­ing­ton. Dur­ing five years in that post, Corey served as a mem­ber of the governor’s cab­i­net, super­vised mon­i­tor­ing of fed­eral and agency devel­op­ments, and made pol­icy rec­om­men­da­tions directly to the governor.

At the US Envi­ron­men­tal Pro­tec­tion Agency, Corey worked for two sep­a­rate peri­ods in com­mu­ni­ca­tions, man­ag­ing strate­gies and out­reach efforts for agri­cul­ture, indus­try, and local gov­ern­ment. Corey also was respon­si­ble for devel­op­ing new, non-traditional audi­ences for EPA and Energy Depart­ment pro­grams. For her efforts, Corey was awarded the EPA Bronze Medal. It was from the EPA that Corey joined the staff of Moseley-Braun.

Find­ing a Home In Foggy Bot­tom
“I’m a very urban per­son,” Corey says of her­self. “Join­ing the Foggy Bot­tom Asso­ci­a­tion was automatic for me.” She is currently a board mem­ber. She wrote a his­tory of Foggy Bottom.

“I’m an old-movie buff,” Corey says, not­ing that she once was able to walk to 30 movie theaters from her home. “Now there are just four left in the West End.”

She greatly enjoyed the recent month of Mas­troianni and Bog­art movies at the Kennedy Center’s Amer­i­can Film Insti­tute.
“It’s not the same see­ing a movie at home. I like to go out to the theatre.”

A cur­rent ini­tia­tive on Corey’s part is the gath­er­ing of key tele­phone num­bers in the neigh­bor­hood to be used in case of emergency. She is col­lect­ing phone num­bers of apart­ment man­agers and other impor­tant indi­vid­u­als for this project.

Corey also thinks Foggy Bot­tom should have a bulletin board and she is work­ing on find­ing a place to put it. She is edit­ing a newsletter called Sus­tain­able Devel­op­ment, which advances the idea that people should live their lives in such a way that com­mu­ni­ties use their resources to meet cur­rent needs while ensur­ing that adequate resources are avail­able for future generations.

“I feel so strongly about people hav­ing a sense of com­mu­nity in their lives,” she says.

The above article is an excerpt of a pro­file of Corey that ran in the April 1997 edition of ByGe­orge!

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