The James Irvine Foundation has announced the six recipients of the 2017 Irvine Foundation Leadership Awards, which recognize California leaders who are working to advance innovative and effective solutions to urgent problems in the state.
This year's award winners include Ken Berrick, CEO of Seneca Family of Agencies (Oakland), whose Unconditional Education model provides a multi-tiered system of supports for special education and struggling students in inclusive settings; Tony Brown, executive director of HOLA (Los Angeles), who has made afterschool music and arts education programming a vehicle for social change; and Areva Martin, president of the Special Needs Network (Los Angeles), whose work with families of children with autism addresses racial and socioeconomic disparities that often lead to later diagnoses, limited access to therapy and support services, and poor long-term outcomes in underserved communities.
The other winners are Doniece Sandoval, founder and CEO of Lava Mae (Los Angeles), who was recognized for delivering "radical hospitality" to homeless people, including pop-up "care villages" that provide multiple services; Dora Westerlund of the Fresno Area Hispanic Foundation (Fresno), whose Downtown Business Hub project fosters opportunity through entrepreneurship; and Julia Wilson, CEO of OneJustice (San Francisco), who is working to bring free legal aid services — with a focus on immigration law — to underserved communities in rural California.
"This year's Leadership Award recipients are exceptional for their ingenuity and persistence in advancing new solutions for difficult, chronic challenges facing California," said Irvine Foundation president and CEO Don Howard. "With the Leadership Awards, we want to shine a light on this vital work and deepen the impact of each of the recipients for the benefit of all Californians."