Now in its eighth year, the annual awards program recognizes extraordinary leaders who are advancing proven, innovative approaches to some of the state's most urgent issues while spotlighting breakthrough solutions that have the potential to better the lives of all Californians. Each honoree will receive $125,000 in organizational support and will be eligible to apply for an additional grant of up to $200,000 to expand his or her program or share it with policy makers and others.
The recipients of this year's awards are Aida Cardenas, executive director of the Building Skills Partnership in Los Angeles; Karen Christensen, executive director of the Resource Conservation District of Santa Cruz County in Capitola; Stuart Cohen, executive director of Oakland-based TransForm; Jeff Oxendine, president of the Health Career Connection in Oakland; José Quiñonez, executive director of the Mission Asset Fund in San Francisco; and Jill Vialet, founder and CEO of Oakland-based Playworks.
"I'm inspired by the transformative results these leaders have achieved by collaborating across sectors to come up with new and effective solutions," said Irvine Foundation president and CEO Jim Canales. "They each have excelled at building upon the assets of California's residents to improve the future of our state."