The Excellence in Board Leadership Award was given to David Lakes, San Geronimo Valley Community Center (above).

Center for Volunteer & Nonprofit Leadership announced the recipients of the 29th Annual Heart of Marin Awards on Jan. 13 from the Bill and Adele Jonas Center at the College of Marin in Novato. Approximately 465 nonprofit and community leaders, volunteers and elected officials logged onto the virtual event to recognize and honor 112 nominees. The event was broadcast live.
“This year’s event which was going to be our first hybrid Heart event was changed days before to 100% virtual,” said Linda Jacobs, CEO at CVNL. “It was a difficult and sad decision to make.  After adding many safety measures for those attending in person, we realized nothing could protect us all 100%. The health and safety of our entire community is always our top priority.”

Tim Myers, president at Bank of Marin, the presenting sponsor of Heart of Marin, added: “The uncertain times we are living in have challenged each of us to step up and do more where we can, to come together for the benefit of our communities. As the presenting sponsor of Heart of Marin, Bank of Marin is grateful that Linda and her team at CVNL continue to ensure that we have the opportunity to honor some of the very special people who have responded to that challenge in support of our Marin nonprofit community.”

Brayton Purcell LLP received the Corporate Community Service Award for being a champion to address social and economic needs in Marin. Employees receive paid time off for volunteering and support and raise funds for multiple organizations. Last year employees helped seniors affected by COVID-19 restrictions by assisting them with home projects, setting up their computers, shopping and getting them to their doctor appointments.
The Volunteer of the Year Award was presented to Jim Findlay of Marin Court Appointed Special Advocates. CASA volunteers provide support to children in the juvenile court system. Findlay has provided consistent support to ensure that a child’s needs are being met on an individual level, and that they have a safe and stable home.
The Excellence in Board Leadership Award was given to David Lakes, San Geronimo Valley Community Center. Lakes took the lead to make needed improvements to the center, serving on multiple committees, and was integral in helping navigate virtual and hybrid programming.

The Excellence in Innovation Award went to FIRE Foundry. FIRE Foundry is a new partnership between Marin County Fire Department, Marin Wildfire Prevention Authority, Conservation Corps North Bay, Marin County Office of Equity, U.C. Berkeley, Stanford and College of Marin. The partnership accomplishes multiple goals: diversifying the workforce, providing multiple job pathways for underserved youth and ensuring a Marin workforce that is prepared in state-of-the-art wildfire prevention science and technology.

The Youth Volunteer of the Year award recognized five full-time middle or high school students serving in a Marin nonprofit, education or faith environment. Youth Volunteer of the Year Award winners included: Lyla Stanger, Children for Change; Lizbeth Mendieta-Alvarado, Youth Leadership Institute and North Marin Community Services; Aidan Williams, Crescendo Connect; Xochitl Komarmy, Redwood High School English Language Development Program; and, Luca Cuffe, Marin Search and Rescue.
   Omar Carrera, Canal Alliance CEO, was awarded the Excellence in Leadership Award. He led his team to address challenges brought on by the coronavirus such as helping clients access financial and rental assistance, unemployment insurance and small business loans. He facilitated the distribution of food to 500 families each week and distributed $2.5 million in direct cash assistance to 4,000 households who lost jobs.
The Achievement in Nonprofit Excellence Award was presented to North Marin Community Services.  As the anchor human services organization serving North Marin, this multi-service organization addresses health disparities for children, adults, families, seniors and immigrants. Accomplishments included distributing 605,000 pounds of food, providing rental assistance to 355 households and distributing $455,000 in cash assistance to 910 individuals.
Robert Currier, founding artistic director of the Marin Shakespeare Company, received the Lifetime Achievement Award. Onstage, in schools, in prisons and online, they bring people together to learn from our past, imagine our future, and spark cultural engagement, learning, and change through the arts. Currier spearheaded the renovation of the Forest Meadows Amphitheatre at Dominican University. He helped create Marin Shakespeare Company’s Shakespeare for Social Justice program, which started at San Quentin and has since served 14 California state prisons, offering opportunities for the incarcerated to use the power of theater to change their lives. Now under construction, Currier is the primary force behind the creation of a new Center for Performing Arts, Education and Social Justice on Fourth Street in San Rafael.

Jacobs was honored by current and past board members for her 20 years of leadership at CVNL.

Winners (except Corporate Community Service) received an award of $5,000 for their nonprofits. The five Youth Volunteers of the Year received $1,000 each.
The awards were sponsored and presented by CVNL (Corporate Community Service and Achievement in Nonprofit Excellence); Marin Community Foundation (Excellence in Leadership); BioMarin (Excellence in Board Leadership); Pacific Gas & Electric Co. (Volunteer of the Year); Comerica Bank, (Excellence in Innovation); Redwood Credit Union (Youth Volunteer of the Year); and Kaiser Permanente, San Rafael (Lifetime Achievement). Marin Independent Journal served as media sponsor.
“In the 29 years CVNL has produced this event, we’ve been able to award hundreds of thousands of dollars to dozens of nonprofits,” Jacobs said. “CVNL is a resource, connection, and voice for the nonprofit community and the challenges we face, and has offices in Marin, Napa, Solano and Sonoma County. We stand united with our nonprofit stakeholders ready to support them as the pandemic continues.”

The Volunteer of the Year Award was presented to Jim Findlay of Marin CASA.

Omar Carrera, Canal Alliance CEO, was awarded the Excellence in Leadership Award.

Robert Currier, founding artistic director of the Marin Shakespeare Company, received the Lifetime Achievement Award. 

Brayton Purcell LLP received the Corporate Community Service Award.

FireFoundry won the Excellence in Nonprofit Innovation Award.

Linda Jacobs, CVNL CEO

– Photos courtesy of CVNL


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