2015 Community Leadership Award Winners and Koshland Youth Leaders

For Immediate Release:
Contact Jen Thom, 415-733-8565, jthom@sff.org

 The San Francisco Foundation Announces 2015 Community Leadership Award Winners and Koshland Youth Leaders

Prestigious Award Recognizes Bay Area’s Boldest Leaders for Creating Change, Providing Opportunities, and Preserving Cultural Arts.

 Awardees to be honored at Bay Area Bold on September 26 at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts.

 SAN FRANCISCO, CA (September 16, 2015)—The San Francisco Foundation (TSFF) is pleased to announced the winners of the 2015 Community Leadership Awards, a prestigious honor that recognizes the Bay Area’s boldest community leaders.  The 2015 awardees Janice Mirikitani, Eveline Shen and the East Bay Community Law Center exemplify TSFF’s goal of ensuring equity and opportunity for all Bay Area residents.   They will be honored at Bay Area Bold on Saturday, September 26, at San Francisco’s Yerba Buena Center for the Arts.

“We are delighted to honor and recognize these dynamic leaders who are boldly tackling the Bay Area’s most pressing issues head on,” said TSFF CEO Fred Blackwell. “Their passion and unconditional commitment to helping our local communities inspires us in our own work.”

Each year, TSFF celebrates people who are rolling up their sleeves, taking initiative, solving problems and providing opportunity.  Nominated by their communities and selected by a panel of local leaders, the Community Leadership Awards recognize individuals and organizations whose leadership has made a significant impact. This work may confront societal or civic issues, address health or environmental concerns, or promote arts and humanities.

The 2015 winners have created lasting change, provided innumerable opportunities for Bay Area residents, and made significant strides in ensuring key systems and services are accessible, preserved, and responsive. These individuals possess the experience, savvy – and grit – that change people’s lives.

The awards will be presented on Saturday, September 26 as part of the Bay Area Bold Festival at Yerba Buena Gardens.  Reception begins at 4:00 pm and Awards Ceremony is from 5:30-7:00 p.m. For more information and tickets, please visit Bayareabold.org.

About the 2015 Community Leadership Awardees:

Janice Mirikitani – Awarded the Helen Crocker Russell Art Award for her ability and tireless drive to foster innovation and individual artistic growth within the Bay Area community.   A beacon of outreach and artistry, Mirikitani has changed the public voice of San Francisco. For decades, Mirikitani has brought the arts to the true social margins: from encouraging the voices of transgender sex workers in the 60s to easing the plight of today’s black women who are left homeless after escaping partner violence. She is the City’s second Poet Laureate, has authored four books of poetry, and is the editor of nine landmark anthologies that provide platforms for writers of color, women, youth, and children. Mirikitani has served as a commissioner on the San Francisco Arts Commission since 1996. She is the recipient of over 40 awards and honors, including the Governor and First Lady’s Conference on Women and Families Minerva Award, San Francisco State University’s Distinguished Alumnae Award, the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce Lifetime Achievement Ebbie Award, the prestigious American Book Lifetime Achievement Award for Literature, and the University of California at San Francisco Chancellor’s Medal of Honor.  She is the Founding President of the GLIDE Foundation, where she has achieved worldwide recognition for reaching San Francisco’s poor and marginalized, and for helping them break the cycle of poverty and dependence.  ($10,000 award)

Eveline Shen – Awarded the Robert C. Kirkwood Service Award for her commitment, excellence, and inspired community service leadership.   Shen is Executive Director of Oakland’s Forward Together, an organization that aims to ensure that women, youth, and families have the power and resources to reach their full potential. Through research, analysis, and shared dialogue, Forward Together develops a range of tools and media that support reproductive justice, organizing, and movement-building work. Since 1999, Shen has brought Forward Together into the spotlight, where it has become widely recognized for its innovative role in the reproductive justice movement – working for grassroots communities; providing thought leadership; developing effective tools and resources for evaluation, training, and documentation; and organizing for long-term systemic change. Shen serves on the board of the Movement Strategy Center and is a member of the Bay Area Social Justice Funders Network advisory committee. She has also served as Principal Investigator for two National Institutes of Health grants that explore the intersection between environmental justice and reproductive justice. Women’s eNews named Shen one of their 21 Leaders for the 21st Century. She was a 2009 Gerbode Fellow and holds a Masters in Public Health from UC Berkeley in Community Health Education.  ($10,000 award)

East Bay Community Law Center – Awarded The San Francisco Foundation Award for demonstrating impact in and exemplary commitment to creating greater equity and opportunity in the Bay Area.  The East Bay Law Center (EBCLC) strives to increase access to justice, to expand clinical opportunities for law students, and to make the community more healthy, secure, productive, and hopeful. Started by law students from UC Berkeley’s Boalt Hall School of Law, EBCLC has grown to become the largest provider of free legal services in the East Bay. With a full-time staff of 20, EBCLC provides legal services to several thousand low-income clients and community groups each year, with matters directly affecting their income, shelter, and healthcare.  EBCLC serves individuals and families living in Alameda County, including immigrants, homeless people, LGBTQ, youth in the juvenile justice system, formerly incarcerated individuals, and medically vulnerable families. EBCLC also plays a central role in preparing and inspiring the next generation of lawyers committed to social justice. Approximately 80 students enroll in EBCLC’s nationally-recognized clinical program each year, receiving high-quality training and mentoring under the supervision of EBCLC staff attorneys.  ($20,000 award)

Koshland Young Leader Award – In addition, TSFF will also pay tribute to the Bay Area’s next generation of leaders by awarding them with the Koshland Young Leader Award. Koshland Young Leaders are strongly motivated to achieve despite facing multiple challenges, such as economic and family responsibilities. They embrace a commitment to strengthening their families and communities. With the Koshland Young Leader Awards, TSFF applauds and supports these students’ dedication to succeed academically and to pursue their career goals.

The 2015 Koshland Young Leaders are:

  • Jennifer Chavac Bay, San Francisco International High School
  • Mario Chavez Fuentes, San Francisco International High School
  • Serena Chen, Galileo High School
  • Ashley Gan, International Studies Academy
  • Nigina Khamidova, Mission High School
  • Rafferty Leung, Raoul Wallenberg Traditional High School
  • Brandon Melendez, June Jordan School for Equity
  • Nicole Pan, International Studies Academy
  • Sofia Ponce, Mission High School
  • Comie Sotio, Balboa High School

About The San Francisco Foundation Community Leadership Awards

 TSFF celebrates people who are rolling up their sleeves, taking in initiative, and solving problems in their neighborhoods and communities. The Community leadership Awards recognize individuals and organizations whose leadership has made a significant impact in their specific Bay Area communities. This work may confront societal or civic issues, address health or environmental concerns, or promote arts and humanities. Sff.org/cla

About the Koshland Youth Leaders Awards

The Koshland Young Leaders Awards recognize the next generation of leadership on our community. Established by Dr. Daniel Koshland, Jr., this scholarship program provides financial assistance to college-bound San Francisco public high school students from economically disadvantaged backgrounds. Each year up to ten high school juniors receive a two-year award of $7,000 to be used for education-related expenses. Sff.org/kyla

For interview requests or high resolution photos of the awardees, please contact Jen Thom at jthom@sff.org or 415-733-8565.


About The San Francisco Foundation (TSFF)

The San Francisco Foundation (TSFF) focuses on expanding opportunity and ensuring a more equitable future for all in the Bay Area. TSFF is the community foundation serving the Bay Area since 1948, granting more than $808 million over the past ten years. Through the generosity and vision of our donors, both past and present, TSFF granted $94.3 million in fiscal year 2014. TSFF brings together donors and builds on community assets through grantmaking, leveraging, public policy, advocacy, and leadership development to make a greater impact in our community. By focusing on people, organizations, neighborhoods, and policy, advocacy and organizing, the Foundation addresses community needs in the areas of community health, education, arts and culture, community development, and the environment. The San Francisco Foundation serves San Francisco, Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, and San Mateo Counties.  sff.org