2012 Community Leadership Awards

2012 Community Leadership Awardees

Aim High
Chinese for Affirmative Action
Brenda Way
Rita Semel

Aim High for closing the achievement gap through programs that inspire a love of learning and a strong sense of community. Through its innovative, free summer school program, it supports the educational and developmental needs of middle-school-aged children, providing the tools for learning, a commitment to their community, and the hope for their future. In the spirit of the John R. May Award, made for organizational initiatives in response to a significant contemporary problem.

Chinese for Affirmative Action for being a champion against discrimination and for advancing systemic change for a racially just society. With its foundation firmly in the Asian and Pacific American community, its grassroots and policy efforts cross cultures to ensure equal opportunities for communities of color, reduce language barriers, and promote immigrant rights across the Bay Area. In the spirit of the Robert C. Kirkwood Award, made to an individual in recognition of outstanding community service, commitment, and inspired leadership.

Brenda Way, founder and artistic director of ODC, for creating a community hub through dance. She built the largest, most comprehensive contemporary dance center in the nation, and through it she inspires dancers and audiences, cultivates artists, and engages the community. Brenda is a choreographer, writer, and community activist who strengthens our region’s cultural connections. In the spirit of the Helen Crocker Russell Award, made to an under-recognized, mature artist who has made a significant and ongoing contribution in the Bay Area.

Rita Semel, interfaith pioneer and Jewish activist, for her life-long successes in creating healthy, just, and inclusive communities in the Bay Area and worldwide. She builds bridges of understanding between diverse religious and ethnic communities, and brings together the interfaith community to help alleviate poverty and end discrimination. Her catalytic leadership is felt far and wide, from the San Francisco Interfaith Council to the Global Council for the United Religions Initiative. Her legacy will be a more peaceful and compassionate world. In the spirit of The San Francisco Foundation Award, made to an individual demonstrating exemplary commitment to improving human relations in the Bay Area.