Community Leadership Awards

The San Francisco Foundation’s Community Leadership Awards honor individuals and organizations in the Bay Area that have demonstrated excellence in leadership through deep local understanding and outstanding initiative. The awards are designed to advance community-driven, innovative and sustainable solutions to the region’s most pressing challenges.

Congratulations to this year’s winners and thanks to everyone who applied or nominated an individual or organization doing outstanding work in our communities.

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2018 Community Leadership Award Winners

Art Award: Marc Bamuthi Joseph
Impact Award: Nuestra Casa
Innovation Award: Family Independence Initiative
Leadership Award: Del Seymour

Marc Bamuthi Joseph is a 2017 TED Global Fellow, an inaugural recipient of the Guggenheim Social Practice initiative, and an honoree of the United States Artists Rockefeller Fellowship. He is also the winner of the 2011 Herb Alpert Award in Theatre, and an inaugural recipient of the Doris Duke Performing Artist Award. In pursuit of affirmations of black life in the public realm, he co-founded the Life is Living Festival for Youth Speaks, and created the installation “Black Joy in the Hour of Chaos” for Creative Time. Joseph’s opera libretto, We Shall Not Be Moved, was named one of 2017’s “Best Classical Music Performances” by The New York Times. His evening length work, /peh-LO-tah/, was commissioned by the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, and was presented at BAM’s Harvey Theater as a part of the 2017 Next Wave Festival. His latest piece, “The Just and the Blind” investigates the crisis of over-sentencing in the prison industrial complex, and will premiere at Carnegie Hall in March 2019. He proudly serves as Chief of Program and Pedagogy at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco.

Photo credit: Bethanie Hines


Nuestra Casa is an organization dedicated to increasing civic participation and promoting economic self-sustainability of the Latino immigrant population of East Palo Alto and the mid-Peninsula. Through community education, leadership development, and advocacy, they develop local leadership to improve the community’s economic and social well-being. A cornerstone of their work is the recognition that the growth of families’ knowledge is intrinsically linked to developing community power. Nuestra Casa serves over 5,000 families annually and partners with the County of San Mateo, the Ravenswood City School District, the Redwood City School District, and over 40 different service providers to collaborate on efforts such as promotora training modules, community outreach and education, and immigrant integration advocacy. Nuestra Casa envisions a vibrant East Palo Alto united around shared values, a multicultural community working together to ensure that all of its residents are integrated and have access to the American Dream.


Family Independence Initiative (FII) trusts and invests directly in low-income families so they can work individually and collectively to achieve prosperity. FII does away with the traditional top-down approach to fighting poverty by letting families be the change agents, fueling solutions that families uncover and develop for themselves. FII provides an environment and a proprietary technology platform for families to move up together, helping them achieve their goals by strengthening existing and creating new social networks, accessing funding to support their efforts, and supporting one another. Their actions and activities to improve their lives teach FII and others how to design direct capital investments that match the families’ initiatives. This approach accelerates their social and economic mobility. They envision that one day all families across America will have access to the resources and opportunities needed to achieve their goals and dreams.


Del Seymour has been a community leader in the Tenderloin for 10 years and a resident of the neighborhood for more than 30. A veteran and former drug addict who has experienced homelessness himself, the nicknamed “Mayor of the Tenderloin” now spends seven days a week serving and advocating for impoverished Tenderloin residents. He is the founder of Tenderloin Walking Tours and Code Tenderloin, a nonprofit that provides job readiness training and basic coding skills to the city’s homeless, formerly incarcerated, and disenfranchised populations with the goal of putting them to work in the tech industry. Seymour is vice president of the board of directors of Swords to Plowshares, a nonprofit organization for veterans. He is also co-chair of the Local Homeless Coordinating Board, which oversees the allocation of Department of Homelessness and HUD funds, board member of the Department of Public Works’ “Better Market Project,” and board member of the Tenderloin Health Improvement Partnership through Dignity Health/St Francis Foundation.


Past Community Leadership Awards Winners

Since 1963, The San Francisco Foundation has awarded Bay Area leaders through our Community Leadership Awards.

The 2017 Community Leadership Awardees

The 2015 Community Leadership Awardees

The 2014 Community Leadership Awardees

The 2013 Community Leadership Awardees

The 2012 Community Leadership Awardees

2011 & Earlier