Some of our state's most creative and effective leaders are tackling enormous challenges that are critical to our future yet remain outside the public spotlight. That is why I am pleased today to announce the recipients of the 2016 James Irvine Foundation Leadership Awards.
These six leaders are addressing some of California’s most pressing issues, with innovative approaches that call out for more attention, expansion, and support. We honor the progress and promise of their efforts, and hope others take note of their effective approaches as we work collectively to expand opportunity for Californians.
I encourage you to learn more about each recipient here, including watching this short video about their impressive work. And stay tuned for more news about nominations for the 2017 Leadership Awards.
The 2016 recipients (each receiving $200,000 for their organization) are:
Lenore Anderson has had a tremendous impact on California's approach to criminal justice and community safety in recent years. Her creation of the Crime Survivors for Safety and Justice Network, with more than 6,000 members statewide, has elevated the voices of crime survivors into the discussion of community safety, bringing front and center the need for greater emphasis on crime prevention and rehabilitation.
Elizabeth "Izzy" Martin is successfully partnering with scientists, regulators, government, and tribal leaders to begin to clean up defunct gold mines posing a threat to the Sierra Nevada region and one of our most precious resources: water. Izzy is demonstrating that with a combination of technical know–how, investment, and public will, we can protect the Sierra Nevada as a region that is vital to every Californian.
Dr. Dean-Schillinger is a national leader on health literacy and prevention of Type 2 diabetes, an epidemic that afflicts an estimated 3 million Californians — and fast growing among youth in our state. He co-founded "The Bigger Picture Campaign" with the nonprofit Youth Speaks, which is enabling California's youth to share their stories and help change the conversation about diabetes.
Kate Sofis and Todd Rufo have formed a public-private partnership in San Francisco that is invigorating urban manufacturing, a sector that includes more than 600 local businesses providing more than 5,000 jobs. Their work highlights California's potential to make even greater strides in leveraging manufacturing to strengthen our economy and create high-paying jobs.
Peter Weber is taking aim at a challenge that afflicts communities in Fresno and throughout California: concentrated poverty. The Fresno Bridge Academy, which he founded, is directing public assistance dollars to move individuals past poverty toward meaningful employment — with four out of five participants who graduate from the Academy obtaining a job or increasing their wages.