Celebrating The San Francisco Foundation 2012 Community Leadership Awards

On Tuesday, The San Francisco Foundation gathered more than 800 of our community partners, family, and friends to honor the 2012 Community Leadership Awardees and Koshland Young Leader Awards. The celebration included music and dance, a tribute to F. Warren Hellman, and words of inspiration from this year’s winners.

“Our clear path to a strong and healthy society lies in the courage, brilliance, and tenacity of our homegrown leaders,” said Sandra R. Hernández, M.D., CEO of The San Francisco Foundation. “And our connectivity to each other – to share inspiration is essential.”

This year’s awardees – Rita Semel, Brenda Way, Chinese for Affirmative Action, and Aim High – were celebrated for their impact in bringing together communities of different faiths, creating an artistic community hub, uniting people to confront racial and economic injustice, and inspiring and lifting up youth.


ODC performed an excerpt from 24 Exposures (2001), dedicated to F. Warren Hellman, beloved TSFF supporter and partner and Bay Area visionary whose life and legacy we celebrated. Voices of Reason, a resident company of the East Bay Center for Performing Arts, closed the ceremony with a lively call and response song, even getting audience members up on stage.

We are proud to bring together so many inspiring, innovative, and dedicated Bay Area leaders under one roof, celebrating the extraordinary impact that community can make together. We invite you to watch the videos from this year’s awards celebration, and join us next year. We will soon post videos from the event as well.

A few highlights from the winners:

“I am honored to be singled out, but there is no such thing as a lone ranger, not in life and not in performing arts.” – Brenda Way

“In celebrating these awards, let us recognize that today we live in a time of tremendous uncertainty. It will be our challenge to expand our definition of ‘us’ and our definition of ‘community’ to be ever more inclusive, compassionate, and fair.” – Chinese for Affirmative Action’s Executive Director Vincent Pan

“I’ve seen many changes in our community, our country, and our world, and I think one of the lessons I’ve learned is that while issues and needs change, the basic tenet of social justice does not change.” – Rita Semel

“Tonight sends us the message:  Continue to be aspirational, continue to look for opportunities to serve more and deepen our impact, and continue to Aim High.  I promise you – we intend to do just that.” – Aim High’s Co-Founder and Executive Director Alec Lee

“All the Koshland Young Leaders dream to go to college. We work hard every day to make that dream come true. We have struggled to overcome a number of challenges while trying to change the world one homework assignment at a time.” – Stacy Thomas, Koshland Young Leader Award recipient