Ventura County Community Foundation Honor Dedicated Community Leaders
The Ventura County Community Foundation recognized five individuals and two organizations at its Fourth Annual Community Leadership Awards at the Los Robles Greens Golf Course on April 22. The Community Leadership Awards honored residents, businesses and nonprofits for investing time and energy to build a better Ventura County.
“We are honored to recognize these individuals who truly encompass the spirit of the community foundation’s mission and dedication to improve the quality of life in Ventura County,” said VCCF President and CEO Hugh Ralston.
Ventura resident Jackie Pearce received the Kesa Ryono Award. Pearce grew up in the economically disadvantaged Westside community, known as “The Avenue.” She became an educator on the Westside as well as an advocate for green space in an area with few parks. After much effort on her part and the assistance of other individuals and organizations, the Westside community will get a new neighborhood park.
El Centrito Family Learning Centers Executive Director Joseph A. Castañeda received the Next Generation Award. Castañeda’s sense of equity and aspiration to help flourished during his youth in Santa Paula. This desire has carried him into a career in nonprofits that work to create equitable communities through collaboration with concerned community members, business owners and motivated families.
The Martin V. and Martha K. Smith Foundation and Family received the Philanthropist Award. A support organization of VCCF, their foundation granted $412,000 last year alone to Ventura County nonprofits that serve seniors, the homeless, at-risk youth and veterans, to name a few.
The Organization Award went to the Orfalea Foundation for their focus on education to build strong communities. The foundation provides millions of dollars in scholarships and university partnerships, including a scholarship fund at VCCF.
Former VCCF Founding Board Member Laura K. McAvoy of Camarillo was honored by the current board with the Founders Award, established to celebrate a long-time leader from within community foundation. A partner at Musick, Peeler & Garrett LLP in Westlake Village, McAvoy holds several funds at VCCF that benefit many local nonprofits.
The Chairman’s Award went to the late Fred Kavli. A physicist and entrepreneur, Kavli established The Kavli Foundation to advance science for the benefit of humanity. He funded the Fred Kavli Theatre for Performing Arts at the Thousand Oaks Civic Arts Plaza.
Founding Board Member Richard “Dick” Shipley received a posthumous Special Award from the community foundation. Shipley served as a member of the VCCF board from 1987 to 2004 and remained involved with VCCF, also serving on the Planned Giving Advisory Council and the Fund Development and Investment Committee. Shipley passed away in June 2013, one day after the community foundation celebrated its 25th anniversary.