Heart of Marin Awards
Where volunteers, nonprofits, and leaders shine.
Where volunteers, nonprofits, and leaders shine.
Congratulations to all the nominees and recipients!
Please join CVNL board and past board in recognizing 20-years of leadership from CVNL CEO Linda Jacobs. Click below on Linda Jacobs Community Award.
ON behalf of the CVNL Board and many former CVNL board members, we want to make a special announcement! This year, we are thrilled to present a brand-new award to bestow on an exceptional community leader, The Linda Jacobs Community award.
Linda Jacobs, CVNL CEO.
There is one leader amongst us who has never been nominated for any Heart of Marin categories, yet she has fought for all of us in the sector, set an example for us, and taught us how to be the best we can be. She is recognized as a national leader in the Non-profit sector.
Linda Jacobs, CVNL’s CEO, is marking her 20th year at CVNL and has overseen a remarkable growth in programs and the regional expansion of our service area with dogged persistence and vision. She has demonstrated strong leadership, has attracted an amazing staff at CVNL; she shows her passion and pride for the work of this organization, she is a strategic thinker. Her vision for the Center for Volunteer & Nonprofit Leadership constantly strives to improve the services that each of us benefits from each day.
Maya Angelou once said, “The desire to reach for the stars is ambitious. The desire to reach hearts is wise.” So, for all that Linda has done this year to reach hearts and for her 20 years at CVNL, it is my honor to present the 2022 Linda Jacobs Community Award to Linda.
The CVNL board and past board members arranged [as a surprise for Linda] an engraved award of the same design as the other Heart awards and two proclamations – one from Marin County Board of Supervisors and the other from Congressman Jared Huffman’s office. And more! Linda also received a cash gift [to spend on perhaps a future trip to New Orleans to see family or hear some jazz concerts] and a bouquet of flowers, delivered and presented by CVNL Board Chair, Nancy McKenney.
As the first recipient of this award, we hope you can in future years, select someone who has the leadership, longevity, and “heart” that you do for the nonprofit community. Congratulations Linda!
This award is presented to a business that has fostered and encouraged volunteerism and philanthropy among its employees.
The 29th Annual Heart of Marin Award for Corporate Community Service is presented to Brayton Purcell LLP.
Brayton Purcell’s community engagement runs deep and wide.
Employees are encouraged to volunteer and receive paid time off for doing so. They often support and raise money for organizations such as American Lung Association, Alzheimer’s Association and Blood Centers of the Pacific.
Last year employees reached out to help the elderly affected by COVID restrictions. They assisted seniors with home projects such as building office furniture, setting up their computers, shopping, and getting them to their doctor appointments.
Founding partners Al Brayton and Gil Purcell’s years of ongoing support as a sponsor for nonprofit events has allowed organizations to reach thousands of vulnerable members of our community. Their sustained corporate responsibility to address social and economic needs in Marin during recent times of increased need has been remarkable – enabling nonprofits to deliver and even expand programs and services that support Marin.
This award, and $5,000 for the participating organization, is presented to an individual, other than a board member, who has provided exemplary volunteer service to a Marin Nonprofit.
The 29th Annual Heart of Marin Award for Volunteer of the Year is presented to Jim Findlay, Marin Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA).
Marin Court Appointed Special Advocates are volunteers that provide support to children in the juvenile court system who have been abused, neglected or abandoned. Jim Findlay has been a CASA volunteer for 12 years.
In another example, Jim received an early morning call from a caregiver who was frustrated that the youth she was caring for would not get out of bed for school. Jim drove to San Jose, sat by the youth’s bed to talk and ten minutes later – the youth was getting ready for school.
The child welfare and probation systems can be a chaotic and frightening journey for children and their families. Jim brings warmth, consistency, and caring support that children and families deserve during their most difficult times.
Sponsored by: PG&E
This award, and $5,000 for the participating organization, is presented to an exceptional volunteer member of a Marin nonprofit Board of Directors.
The 29th Annual Heart of Marin Award for Excellence In Board Leadership is presented to David Lakes, San Geronimo Valley Community Center.
David joined the Board of Directors for the San Geronimo Valley Community Center in 2012.
He chairs the Facilities and Programming Committees, and works with the Community Center and West Marin Senior Services in supporting seniors to have advanced health directives in place and offers related trainings to the senior community.
David has played a key role at the Center, engaging donors and involving new folks in the community.
In the early pandemic when the Center had to shut its doors, David got to work. With the Facilities Committee, he took the lead to make needed improvements such as adding new public restrooms, upgrading the kitchen space, adding office space, laundry facilities, and storage. David was also integral in helping navigate virtual and hybrid programming, allowing them to continue programming and critical safety net services.
David volunteered to conduct Covid-19 testing and was involved in offering weekly testing to the community.
David is an exemplary Board Member that demonstrates extraordinary leadership. He is involved in every fundraiser and anytime the Community Center or community needs a helping hand David comes to the table with a collaborative approach.
Sponsored by: BioMarin
This award, and $5,000 for the participating organization, is presented to an individual, organization or partnership that has developed new, creative and effective strategies for advancing solutions to critical issues in our community.
The 29th Annual Heart of Marin Award for Excellence in Innovation is presented 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 program goals are to: work with community partners, schools, and fire agencies to recruit young adults from traditionally underrepresented backgrounds in fire-related careers; leverage the rapidly growing demand for wildfire prevention work to provide a livable wage-while-learning pathway; and to ensure step-by-step support, mentorship, tutoring and guidance that builds belonging and connection.
The partnership accomplishes multiple goals, such as:
FIRE Foundry has the full support of elected officials from Marin County’s Board of Supervisors to Senator Mike McGuire to Congressman Jared Huffman.
Sponsored by: Comerica Bank
Five Youth Volunteer of the Year Awards of $1,000 each are presented to full-time middle or high school students serving a Marin nonprofit in the community, education, or faith environment.
First Youth Volunteer of the Year: Lyla Stanger, Children for Change.
Lizbeth Mendieta is a junior at Novato High School and first joined Youth Leadership Institute in 8th grade.
Lizbeth was a participant in the Student Advocacy Council, a group of students that work on improving their school and uplifting student voice.
She was one of the co-chairs of the youth commission, whose role it was to facilitate and lead the commission. The role comes with a lot of responsibility, but last year was especially challenging due to COVID.
Lizbeth led a commission of 22 other youth via Zoom, and kept engagement high. In addition to her role as chair, Lizbeth also served on the Racial Equity committee.
Lizbeth and her committee hosted county-wide racial affinity spaces for youth across the county to create safe places for BIPOC youth to share, reflect, and honor their experiences. The committee also hosted a workshop for Marin County teachers, to share tips and tools on creating safe spaces for BIPOC youth in the classroom.
On average, Lizbeth spends 10 hours a month engaged in some form of youth commission related meetings and activities.
In addition to YLI, Lizbeth has volunteered with the North Marin Community Services, Novato Teen Clinic. She is one of their most committed Peer Health Promoters supporting reproductive health, mental health and being a part of our community.
The third Youth Volunteer of the Year is Aidan Williams, Crescendo Connect.
Inspired from a sophomore English project begun during the pandemic, Aidan created and founded a nonprofit called Crescendo Connect.
Introduced by his English teacher Ms. Bruno, Aidan pitched his idea to investors at The Changemaker Global Pitch Presentation.
He organized efforts to collect, repair, and donate instruments. He created a website, raised money to pay for instrument repair, set up a virtual music class program that serves underserved youth, and recruited and trained over a dozen high school instructors to teach virtual classes.
After winning funding from the global youth entrepreneurship competition, he got to work.
Over the past year and a half, Aidan has collected instruments that were going unused or collecting dust. Using donations and seed money, Crescendo Connect has paid to repair these instruments and given them to nonprofits located in San Rafael. Over $10,000 in collected instruments have been donated.
Last summer in collaboration with Parent’s Project, Aidan rolled out a virtual music program that connects high school volunteer instructors with San Rafael youth looking to learn how to play piano. The volunteers, recruited by Aidan, come from Texas, Michigan, New York, and California.
Aidan’s virtual music program is projected to provide
over 500+ hours of musical instruction to underserved youth by the end of the academic year.
The fourth Youth Volunteer of the Year is Xochitl Komarmy, Redwood High School English Language Development Program
Xochitl is a senior at Redwood High School where she has been serving as a Peer Tutor in the English Language Development Program.
In her second year, Xochitl has volunteered one class period a day to help newcomer English Learners in the Classroom.
Xochitl serves as a conversation partner, reader, pronunciation coach, cheerleader for encouraging students to speak out loud, a role model, and an expert on school culture.
She is friendly to each student, eager to connect, and also respectful, and kind. She can relate to the newcomers, and they respond to her. Xochitl is part Hispanic, and she is learning Spanish as they learn English, a beautiful give-and-take.
As an example of one of her days, Xochitl helped with the class opening question with three students sitting near her to prepare their spoken response, she took notes for the class on the board commenting and encouraging when appropriate, and then worked for one-on-one with a student helping her compose a paragraph.
From August 2020 to April 2021, Xochitl’s service was over Zoom. She was never absent, and added much to the online ambiance helping to motivate students. This class had perfect attendance many days, in part because students came to chat with Xochitl.
The final Youth Volunteer of the Year is Luca Cuffe, Marin Search and Rescue.
Luca, a senior at Tamalpais High School, joined the Marin County Sheriff’s Search and Rescue Unit in 2018 when he was a freshman. Luca has attended nearly every training and mission in the last 12 months and accrued nearly 700 hours of service, the most of any of the youth members, and more than most of the adult members.
Last year, Luca was elected Youth President, a position voted on by his peers, putting him in a leadership role helping to run the business of the team.
Lucca put together the summer team training, a difficult task due to a new venue in the Sierras and pandemic-related restrictions.
In 2021, Luca responded to 16 different missions in counties including Mendocino, Toulumne, Fresno and Marin. Luca was on the team that made finds on seven different missions. His attentiveness led him to the discovery of a footprint on a search in Mendocino, and following that track helped his team find the location of the missing person, who was unfortunately deceased. Luca and his team then helped the incident commanders facilitate recovery of the body.
Luca is a strong team member and participates in some of the most arduous backcountry missions.
Sponsored by: Redwood Credit Union
This award, and $5,000 for the participating organization, is presented to an executive director who has demonstrated excellence in leadership and whose vision has inspired meaningful and lasting change benefiting the organization and community.
The 29th Annual Heart of Marin Award for Excellence in Leadership is presented to Omar Carrera, Canal Alliance.
Canal Alliance exists to break the cycle of poverty for Latino immigrants and their families by lifting barriers to their success.
Omar Carrera came to Canal Alliance as a client in 2003 and was hired as a technology instructor. He became the Executive Director in 2016.
His accomplishments include:
Omar facilitated early COVID testing for 45 residents that resulted in a 33% positivity rate. Realizing that this was about to become a crisis, he trained Canal residents to help test their neighbors. Over 10 weeks, nurses from UCSF and trained residents provided 2,100 free tests.
After converting the food pantry distribution to follow health guidelines he set up home delivery for at-risk seniors serving 500 families each week.
$2.5 million was distributed as direct cash assistance to more than 4,000 households who lost jobs and wages.
To address challenges brought on by COVID the staff helped clients access financial and rental assistance, unemployment insurance and small business loans. Staff provided case management to connect people who tested positive to resources and hired 5 bilingual contact tracers.
All of these accomplishments require a bold and courageous leader that moves fast. Omar is all that plus he is a fierce advocate for the Latinx community, and for people of color and low income families.
He is strategic thinker and has done much to shift the narrative in Marin to appreciating the assets brought to the community from Latinx immigrants.
Sponsored by: Marin Community Foundation
This award, and $5,000 to the participating organization, is presented to an organization that has demonstrated exemplary service to their constituents.
The 29th Annual Heart of Marin Award for Achievement in Nonprofit Excellence is presented to North Marin Community Services.
As the anchor human services organization serving North Marin, this multi-service organization is called upon to address health disparities for children, adults, families, seniors and immigrants.
Some of their accomplishments include:
In addition, last year:
North Marin Community Services has a strong future – their advocacy priorities include: Affordable housing and tenant protections; Universal childcare access; financial assistance and income tax credits to support economically vulnerable people.
The Finance Department has built a strong system with a liquidity ratio that would sustain up to 18 months of operations; and no debt or mortgages on their two buildings. And, they are committed to retaining a diverse staff with competitive wages and benefits.
This award, and $5,000 to the participating organization, is presented to an individual who has made a positive and notable difference during their career by significantly contributing to address a cause, issue, or discipline. The recipient will have inspired others to high standards and raised awareness to address that particular cause.
The 29th Annual Heart of Marin Award for Lifetime Achievement is presented to Robert Currier, Marin Shakespeare Company.
Robert Currier is the founding Artistic Director of the Marin Shakespeare Company, a position he has held for 33 years.
Marin Shakespeare Company provides programs that engage our community. They aim to spotlight injustice and the urgent need for change.
Onstage, in schools, in prisons and online, they bring people together to learn from our past and imagine our future, and spark cultural engagement, learning, and change through the arts.
Marin Shakespeare moves people to laughter and tears through the artistic performance of the wisdom, wit, and insight of Shakespeare.
In 2003, Robert 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 people who are incarcerated to use the power of theatre to change their lives.
Participants have dropped out of gangs, pursued higher education and reunited with family members. The program includes the Returned Citizens Theatre Troupe, giving people who have survived incarceration the opportunity to tell their stories through theatre and engage in community dialogue about issues of importance.
In 2016, he directed Dameion Brown in the title role in “Othello,” just a year after Dameion was released after 23 years in prison. The production won “Best Entire Production in the Bay Area”, and Dameion was also nominated for “Best Principal Actor”. Following his performance, Robert hired Dameion as MSC’s Artist in Residence.
MSC’s work has been a powerful bridge, creating compassion and understanding between people who are or have been incarcerated and the general public.
Robert’s passion for Shakespeare and Theatre has inspired thousands of people to enjoy, appreciate and learn from the arts.
Sponsored by: Kaiser Permanente, San Rafael
$35,000 in awards and eight categories, recognizing and honoring Marin County’s outstanding nonprofit volunteers, leaders and organizations.
The Excellence in Board Leadership Award and $5,000 for the recipient’s nonprofit will be presented to an exceptional volunteer member of a Marin nonprofit board of directors.
The 2021 Heart of Marin Award For Excellence In Board Leadership goes to David Lakes, San Geronimo Valley Community Center.
Debra Belaga, NAMI Marin
Trisha Garlock, SchoolsRule Marin
Bruce Goines, Marin Wildfire Prevention Authority
David Lakes, San Geronimo Valley Community Center
Vijay Mohan, Bay Area Discovery Museum
Scott Pinsky, Marin Coalition
Bob Puett, Homeward Bound of Marin
Marty Rubino, Marin Center for Independent Living
Dennis Ryan, Vivalon
Cheryl Sorokin, Marin Villages
Ida Times Green, Sausalito Marin City School Board
Jon Welner, Osher Marin Jewish Community Center
The Corporate Community Service Award will be presented to a business that has fostered and encouraged volunteerism and philanthropy among its employees.
The 2021 Heart of Marin Award for Corporate Community Service goes to Brayton Purcell LLP.
Brayton Purcell LLP
Giving Marin, Community Partnership
Toys for Bob
Sponsored by: BioMarin
The Excellence in Innovation Award and $5,000 will be presented to an individual, organization or partnership that has developed new, creative and effective strategies for advancing solutions to critical issues in our community.
The 2021 Heart of Marin Award for Excellence in Innovation goes to FIRE Foundry.
Ambassadors of Hope and Opportunity
Community Action Marin
Enriching Lives through Music
Environmental Travel Companion
Osher Marin Jewish Community Center
Parent Services Project
Side by Side
Sponsored by: Comerica Bank
The Volunteer of the Year Award and $5,000 for the recipient’s nonprofit will be presented to an individual (other than a board member) who has provided exemplary volunteer service to a Marin nonprofit organization.
The 2021 Heart of Marin Award for Volunteer of the Year goes to Jim Findlay, Marin Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA).
Joyce Abrams, Friends of China Camp
Jim Appenrodt, Vivalon
Ellie Chamberlain, Love Is The Answer
Jim Chestnut, Mill Valley Philharmonic
Carla Condon, Age-Friendly Intergenerational Center
Simon Darken, Marin Community Clinics
Brittany DeVita, Guide Dogs for the Blind
Jim Findlay, Marin Court Appointed Special Advocates
Troy Evans, Marin Search and Rescue
Stefanie Gomez, Alzheimer’s Association
Suzanne Jansen, Center for Domestic Peace
Susan Jirles, Humankind Alliance
Brian Johnson, Community Action Marin
Claudia Johnson, Halleck Creek Ranch
Tim Knowlton, Marin Humane
Hoang Leclerc, ExtraFood
Kerry Livingston, Community Land Trust of West Marin
Beth Livoti, Marin Villages
Peter Mandell, The Marine Mammal Center
Karen Petterson, St. Vincent de Paul Society of Marin
Arpita Pitroda, Operation Access
Ned Purdom, Bridge the Gap College Prep
Cristina Salcedo, Shoreline Unified School District
Lindsey Smith, Multicultural Center of Marin
Mary Ann Sorich, Guide Dogs for the Blind
Emily Uhlhorn, The Hannah Project Partnership for Academic Achievement
Averel Wilson, 10,000 Degrees
The Excellence in Leadership Award and $5,000 for the recipient’s nonprofit will be presented to an executive director who has demonstrated excellence in leadership and whose vision has inspired meaningful and lasting change benefiting the organization and community.
The 2021 Heart of Marin Award for Excellence In Leadership goes to Omar Carrera, Canal Alliance.
Chandra Alexandre, Community Action Marin
Kay Carlson, Marin Open Studios
Omar Carrera, Canal Alliance
Dave Cort, San Geronimo Valley Community Center
Maika Llorens Gulati, Slide Ranch
Sarah Hobson, West Marin Fund
Andy Naja-Riese, Agricultural Institute of Marin
Mark Shotwell, Ritter Center
Ted Smith, Kids Cooking For Life
Laura Talmus, Beyond Differences
Marv Zauderer, ExtraFood
Sponsored by: Marin Community Foundation
The Lifetime Achievement Award and $5,000 for a nonprofit of their choice will be presented to an individual who has made a positive and notable difference during their career by significantly contributing to address a cause, issue or discipline.
The 2021 Heart of Marin Award for Lifetime Achievement goes to Robert Currier, Marin Shakespeare Company.
Sponsored by: Kaiser Permanente, Marin
The Achievement in Nonprofit Excellence Award and $5,000 will be presented to an organization that has demonstrated exemplary service to its constituents.
The 2021 Heart of Marin Award for Achievement in Nonprofit Excellence goes to North Marin Community Services.
Age-Friendly Intergenerational Center
Ambassadors of Hope and Opportunity
Big Skills Tiny Homes
Children for Change
Community Action Marin
Elpida Residential Programs, Inc.
Fairfax-San Anselmo Children’s Center
Family & Children’s Law Center
Let’s Talk Partnership
Make It Home
Marin County Cooperation Team
Enterprise Resource Center (Project of Marin Mental Health Advocates)
Napa Solano Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner/Sexual Assault Response Team
North Bay Children’s Center
North Marin Community Services
Oak Hill School
Watershed Alliance of Marin
West Marin Fund
Up to five Youth Volunteer of the Year Awards of $1,000 each will be presented to full-time middle or high school students serving a Marin nonprofit in the community, education, or faith environment.
The five Heart of Marin Youth Volunteer of the Year Awards go to:
Lyla Stanger, Children for Change;
Aiden Williams, Crescendo Connect;
Xochitl Komarmy, Redwood High School English Language Development Program; and
Luca Cuffe, Marin Search and Rescue.
Nate Bender, Simple Impact Club-San Rafael High School
Bailey Bernales, Novato Unified School District
Stefania Bitton, Marin Humane
Nury Calderon, Next Generation Scholars
Hailey Carlton, Great Plates Program
Luca Cuffe, Marin Search and Rescue
Haley Gomez, North Marin Community Services
Daniel Gorel, San Marin High School Math Tutoring Club
Talia Harter, Marin Office of Education and San Rafael High School
Anna Jensen, San Geronimo Valley Community Center
Xochitl Komarmy, Redwood High School English Language Development Program
Yetzi Martinez, North Marin Community Services
Lizbeth Mendieta Alvarado, North Marin Community Services and Youth Leadership Institute
William Sanchez Carmona, Next Generation Scholars
Lyla Stanger, Children for Change
Sarah Steele, Bridge the Gap College Prep
Sophia White, Marin Catholic
Aidan Williams, Crescendo Connect
Sponsored by: Redwood Credit Union
Bank of Marin has served Northern California businesses and the people who run them for more than 30 years, providing insight, guidance and legendary service. Community commitment is one of the Bank’s core values, believing that strong communities benefit everyone. In the words of the Bank’s founder, Bill Murray, “We do well by doing good.”