Governor’s Volunteering and Service Award Winners
California’s Business Volunteer Program of the Year: Gap Inc.
Gap Inc. is a leading global specialty retailer, headquartered in San Francisco, with popular brands such as Gap, Banana Republic, Old Navy, Piperlime, and Athleta. Gap Inc. encourages employees to make long-term commitments to the nonprofits with which they volunteer, and views that as the best way for employees to leverage their skills and get involved in the causes they care most about. Thanks to this approach, staff can give back to the community in the area of need that has greatest personal meaning to them. For example, at the Larkin Street Youth Services Boot Camp, experienced associates at Gap stores who know how to interview, hire, and manage young employees teach foster youth how to become job ready. In addition, the company’s executives volunteer by mentoring nonprofit leaders they invest in to help them develop robust management skills, including communications and marketing. They also help them devise new strategies to cultivate talent and collaborate with peers to achieve better results.
California’s Small Business Volunteer Program of the Year: Mendo Lake Credit Union
Mendo Lake Credit Union (MCLU), a community-development financial institution serving the Lake and Mendocino Counties, leverages its resources and skills of its employees to improve the quality of life of the area’s residents in many dimensions through its low-interest loans, free basic deposit services, free tax preparation, and financial education to those in need. Like many CDFIs, Mendo Lake staff need to help communities in need, but what makes them outstanding is their “Cheers to Volunteers!” program. This program makes volunteering a critical part of employee culture. Indeed, MCLU incentivizes community engagement among their staff by attaching volunteering to employee performance measures and by recognizing those who are most passionate about service.
California’s Foundation of the Year: The California Endowment
The California Endowment is a private, statewide health foundation dedicated to the idea that our health depends on the places where we live, learn and play. The Endowment has made an unparalleled commitment of 1 billion dollars over the next 10 years to help transform underserved communities in our state through the Health Happens Here campaign. As part of the campaign to create healthier schools and neighborhoods, the Endowment has partnered with CaliforniaVolunteers to support 76 AmeriCorps members who are mentoring youth in 10 communities throughout the state.
California’s Nonprofit of the Year: MEND - Meet Each Need with Dignity
MEND is the largest poverty relief agency in the San Fernando Valley, which serves as many as 30,000 low-income individuals monthly with a workforce of more than 3,000 volunteers. Faced with potential funding cuts, MEND worked hard to double the number of partnerships with businesses, educational institutions and community groups. As an example of the innovative recruitment strategies applied at MEND, Kaiser physicians staff their clinics and CSU Northridge linguistics students teach ESL classes. They are also creative by using experts in multiple roles. For instance, MEND’s Foodbank recruited volunteer gardeners who not only planted a garden for its hot meals, but also taught children nutritional education in the gardening program, “Seeds to Supper”.
California’s Faith-based Organization of the Year: The Peninsula Clergy Network
The Peninsula Clergy Network (PCN) is the nation’s first association of all clergy in a region, which includes a regional database of 440 clergy and 310 congregations and mapping of all those resources. The PCN has transformed the relationships between the religion sector and the education, business, government, and social services sectors, therefore greatly expanding the congregational responses to meeting community needs. This now dynamic network can be tapped for rapid and continuing volunteer response not only to natural disasters, but to a variety of social-service projects, including food drives, cause-related donations, tutoring and mentoring of youth and young adults. The PCN sets the stage for meaningful dialogue among the connected clergy and congregations, which brings greater understanding among faiths, and for government and nonprofit entities, who see the Network now as the go-to for tapping resources from the faith community.
California’s Service Group of the Year: Santa Barbara County CERT Committee
The Santa Barbara County CERT Committee (SBCCC) brings together Community Emergency Response Teams from throughout the area to share best practices and instill in every resident a culture of preparedness. SBCCC is all-inclusive: every year any member has the opportunity to chair the Committee. Indeed, by coming together under one umbrella, Committee member teams are able to share best practices, standardize regional operations, and make sure that as many county residents as possible become part of the culture of preparedness, standing ready to aid those around them in times of disaster. This committee has graduated over 3,000 CERT-trained residents within Santa Barbara County. In the last three years, SBCCC has developed relationships with city and county governmental agencies, nonprofits, residents, and representatives of businesses and philanthropic organizations. They care deeply about each and every resident of the county who, due to lack of training, could lose his or her life. To that end, the Committee organized robust outreach to teens and Latinos, to increase their representation in CERT.
California’s AmeriCorps Member of the Year: Luciano Mondolo, Playworks
Luciano Mondolo is an outstanding AmeriCorps member who came to Chavez Elementary School in Norwalk, CA in September 2011 through Playworks. Norwalk has an over 90% rate of poverty and a transiency rate of 30%. The community's economic challenges had a profound negative influence on its youth, such as bullying, fighting, lack of empathy, and apathy were prevalent at Chavez Elementary, until “Coach” Mondolo showed up. He not only organized recess, to dissuade children from negative behavior and channel their energy into constructive, creative, and exercise-dense play, but he changed the culture of the school, against all odds, to one of engagement and excitement. Volunteers are involved, parents are engaged, and because of successes such as Family Fun Day, the school has continued the culture change. “Coach” Mondolo was able to successfully leverage the assets and relationships in the community to bring about change from within.
California’s Volunteer of the Year: Scott Budnick, Green Hat Films
Scott Budnick is known as an acclaimed Hollywood producer behind runaway blockbusters such as The Hangover and Due Date, yet leaders of the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitations know him as a tireless innovator who’s pushing correctional education to new heights. The incarcerated youth themselves know him as their greatest advocate whose work gave them a fighting chance to steer away from prison gangs and a life of crime, and, rather, toward a life of education for a brighter future. His humble beginnings as a literacy tutor with juvenile justice facilities in the Los Angeles area were only a prelude to the innovations that he would bring. Inspired by incarcerated youth desperate for another chance, Scott was instrumental in the establishment of the Youthful Offender Program, which takes in youth who behaved well during incarceration and gets them to prisons with opportunities and programs. Participants are put on an educational track, which leads many to a college degree on the other side of the bars. Scott Budnick’s life-changing work is filled with stories of perseverance and success.
California’s Volunteer of the Year: Kathryn Vaughn
In her position of Volunteer President and Executive Director, Kathryn Vaughn transformed Just in Time for Foster Youth into a successful nonprofit helping more than 1,200 San Diego foster youth in transition by providing basic necessities and home furnishings. Under her leadership, the organization began receiving numerous grants and donations, and developed new programs to connect youth with vocational and educational tools and resources.
California’s Small Business Volunteer Program of the Year: Bay Federal Credit Union
100 percent of Bay Federal Credit Union employees have volunteered for 49 different nonprofits for seven consecutive years. They provided pro-bono assistance with marketing, education and outreach; held an employee head-shaving extravaganza to raise money for the Children’s Miracle Network; orchestrated “winter coats for kids” drives; and conducted a “cell phone for soldiers” drive.
California’s Business Volunteer Program of the Year: Cisco
Since 2009, Cisco employees in California have provided pro-bono technical support, coupled with more than $2.2 million in IT product grants, and marketing and finance consulting to nonprofits and charities throughout the state. Additionally, Cisco has provided $3.5 million in matching gifts for employee donations of $2.7 million.
California’s Nonprofit of the Year: WriteGirl
WriteGirl pairs at-risk teen girls in Los Angeles with professional women writers from the Los Angeles Times, Disney, the Writers Guild of America, and other organizations, for one-on-one mentoring, creative writing workshops, and public readings. By doing so, WriteGirl enables thousands of young girls to become published authors, critical thinkers, effective communicators and community leaders.
California’s Service Group of the Year: Rocklin Volunteers in Police Service
From 2005 to 2010, more than 100 Rocklin Volunteers in Police Service have donated more than 55,000 volunteer hours over the last five years, providing an estimated $1.2 million of service in the city. Volunteers perform more than 50 critical roles, including child safety presentations and creating child ID kits that allow the police department to dedicate sworn personnel to the most critical public safety functions.
California’s AmeriCorps Member of the Year: Megan Mastashe
Megan Mastache worked to combat homelessness and sexual assault in San Luis Obispo and has participated in the Food Share program for the past five years, connecting restaurants and their extra food with the local homeless shelters. She also served with the Developing Through Art program, bringing art and community into overflow shelters and giving homeless children an opportunity to express themselves through creativity.
CaliforniaVolunteers’ Spotlight Award: Taproot Foundation
Taproot Foundation strengthens nonprofits by engaging marketing, human resources, design, and strategy professionals in pro bono service. In less than a decade, more than 5,300 business professionals have served on their projects providing services valued at more than $60 million to an estimated 1,000 nonprofits across the nation, which totals 750,000 hours of pro bono service.
California’s Volunteer of the Year: Tom Zimmerman
Tom co-founded the Extreme Science Program for low-income Latino high school students in the Bay Area, which creates extreme science activities to show how exciting science can be. He is expanding his efforts to the college level, mentoring minority students who are developing innovative solar collectors and electric cars, and works with Youth Radio, a nonprofit multimedia organization serving young people of color, teaching an electronic drum workshop so his Latino students could learn video editing.
California’s Business Volunteer Program of the Year: Pacific Gas and Electric Company
From 2001 to 2009, more than 5,000 of PG&E’s employees had volunteered with the California State Park Foundation’s Earth Day Restoration and Cleanup program. In partnership with a variety of nonprofits throughout California, PG&E has also been involved with more than 500 employee volunteer events in past years.
California’s Nonprofit Leader of the Year: David Levinson
David is the founder and director of Big Sunday weekend, an annual 50,000 volunteer two-day event across Southern California, serving more than 300 nonprofit organizations, engaging people across faith, ethnic, economic, cultural and other boundaries.