FBI Newark
Public Affairs Specialist Amy Thoreson
April 19, 2024

FBI Newark Honors Community Leader Dedicated to Helping Everyone He Meets

ATLANTIC CITY, NJ—FBI Newark announces Reverand Dr. Thomas Dawson, Jr. of SOAR Church, and the Coalition for a Safe Community Cape May County, has received the 2023 FBI Director’s Community Leadership Award for New Jersey.

FBI Newark nominated Rev. Dawson because of his tireless work as a community leader, bringing hope, peace, and compassion to families in New Jersey. He helped establish and supports “Operation Keep Warm” and “Unity in the Community.” Rev. Dawson facilitates the distribution of more than 600 children’s coats and 300 backpacks to underprivileged families each year. He assists in feeding 75 families each month through the SOAR Church food bank. Rev. Dawson has partnered with businesses and organizations to guide people struggling with substance abuse through health screenings, treatments, and prevention. He serves his communities through programs such as Safe Surrender and Expungement, community walks, and mentorship sessions. He also dedicates his time to educating others about autism and supports the families of individuals with disabilities.

“The DCLA award is a sense of accomplishment to me, the Cape May County Community, and the SOAR Church. I’m so honored and humbled to receive this award. Working together and seeing such a wonderful acknowledgment for our many community outreach efforts makes us feel grateful and encouraged,” said Rev. Dr. Thomas Dawson, Jr. “Thank you to the FBI for allowing me and our many partners to bring out the best in us, as we continue to serve the communities in the state of New Jersey.”

Newark SAC James E. Dennehy said, “One of the most important reasons we chose to nominate Rev. Dawson for this prestigious award is because of his work and support of our outreach regarding civil rights and hate crimes. Our mission is to protect the public and assist victims, and he is a phenomenal partner in acting as a liaison in communities most impacted by hate and bias in New Jersey. We are truly thankful for his selfless service, and incredible spirit in giving so much to so many.”

Director Wray hosted the 2023 DCLA winners in a special ceremony at FBI Headquarters on April 19, 2024, emphasizing the importance of partnerships in keeping our shared communities safe. These partnerships have led to a host of crime prevention programs that protect the most vulnerable in our communities, educate families and businesses about cyber threats, and work to reduce violent crime in our neighborhoods.