San Francisco Foundation Honors Community Leaders

By Ashley  Chambers  

Sitting, from left to right: Joni Tam Chu, Jacquie Chavez, Tiffani Johnson, and Alex Tom; Standing: Carlton Eichelberger, Paulo Acosta Cabezas, Nicole Agbayani, Beth Rubenstein, Rachel Ebora, Rene Luna, Terrence Valen with daughter, Olivia Valen and Charlie Sciammas with son, Nicolo Chiera Sciammas. Photo by Stephen Brooks, Jr. .

The San Francisco Foundation this week honored 12 community leaders with the 2012 Daniel E. Koshland Civic Unity Awards. “The Koshland program is really about community leadership development, investing in disenfranchised communities, finding emerging social change leaders in the community, and getting them to work together as a cohort for the betterment of the community,” said David Friedman, grandson of the late Daniel E. Koshland and chair of the San Francisco Foundation Board of Trustees. Every year, the Koshland program makes a five-year commitment to a Bay Area neighborhood. Over the past 30 years, the program has worked in 24 neighborhoods in five Bay Area counties: Marin, Contra Costa, San Mateo, Alameda, and San Francisco. This year’s Koshland fellows were honored for their community activism in San Francisco’s Excelsior neighborhood. The awards add up to $300,000 to the Excelsior over the next five years. Additionally, fellows undergo six-month development training and capacity building to help them gain more tools to better serve their communities. “Koshland identifies these neighborhoods – low-income and ethnically diverse –that don’t have much philanthropic support. The fellows are huge dynamic leaders in this San Francisco neighborhood. They all work with young people in different capacities, education, arts, violence prevention,” said Retha Robinson, director of the Koshland program. The fellows were: Nicole Agbayani, Corridor Manager at the Excelsior Action Group, which works to revitalize Mission Street in the Excelsior; Paulo Acosta Cabezas, owner of Mama Arts Café; Jacquie Chavez, vice president of Parent Involvement with the PTA in San Francisco; Joni Tam Chu, director of the OMI/Excelsior Beacon Center, which serves more than 1,500 youth and families annually; Rachel Ebora, executive director of Bernal Heights Neighborhood Center, an affordable housing organization; Carlton Eichelberger, area director of the Boys and Girls Clubs of San Francisco; Tiffani Marie Johnson, advisor at Leadership High School; Rene Luna, Bay Area SCORES Program leader at Cleveland Elementary School, working in a literacy and soccer program; Beth Rubenstein, executive director at Out of Site Youth Arts Center; Charlie Sciammas, community organizer with People Organizing to Demand Environmental and Economic Rights (PODER), an organization of Latino immigrants; Alex Tom, executive director of Chinese Progressive Association; and Terrence Valen, organizational director at the Filipino Community Center. For more information on the 2012 Koshland fellows and the foundation, visit    
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