2019 Impact Award Recipients Announced

Aug 16, 2019

The Board of Directors of the Fernando Award Foundation has announced the recipients of the 2019 Impact Awards. These awards are given out by the Foundation in addition to the annual Fernando Award which for more than 60 years has recognized an individual who embodies the spirit of volunteerism and philanthropy in the San Fernando Valley.

This year’s recipients of the Individual Impact Awards for outstanding individuals who engender positive change through locally driven community initiatives and their extraordinary service and volunteer activities are:

Ronald Arthur Villafana and Susan Villafana: The Villafanas have for decades provided service to our local area through various activities including the Boy Scouts of America and in various support positions for Bishop Alemany High School in Mission Hills. For decades they have been huge supporters of MEND-Meet Each Need With Dignity whose mission is to help the most vulnerable in the San Fernando Valley. They have volunteered in many roles for the organization including driving to pick up food donations, taking care of children while their parents take English as a Second Language classes, MEND’s Christmas/Holiday program that provides holiday cheer to families, seniors and the homeless, organizing toys and gifts for the families of MEND and coordinating the Adopt a Family program. Ron is currently MEND’s chairman of the Board of Directors.

Patti Jo Wolfson: Patti has been the New Directions for Youth “angel” for more than 20 years. She has chaired the organization’s Board of Directors and has sat on several committees using her creativity to help on several events such as fashion shows, comedy shows and golf tournaments. She’s an invaluable fundraiser instrumental in raising well over $1 million for NDY. She’s also a “spirit raiser” tutoring youth, arranging scholarship for the organization’s GED graduates and even turning her birthday party into a special bowling event for NDY youth. She worked hard to create NDY’s on-site Health & Recreation Center. She is also involved with her synagogue Congregation Or Ami, helped for 13 years planning and coordinating the Santa Comes to Agoura food drive in Agoura Hills, volunteered at Winnetka Elementary School and is an active member of her family’s foundation which provides funding to non-profits. She’s also a member of the Woodland Hills Rotary Club.

This year’s recipients of the Corporate Impact Awards recognizing community commitment not just as a business entity but also in efforts to encourage employees to become involved in the world around them are:

Boston Private Bank and Trust: Investing in low-and-moderate income people and neighborhoods is part of this company’s business strategy and its conviction. It establishes close partnerships with groups that work in the community. Boston Private Bank and Trust finances projects that create or preserve affordable housing, promote jobs and education, promote human and social service organizations and assist with community revitalization. It works with private developers, public and non-profit funding sources and governmental agencies. It also emphasizes volunteerism by its employees who are involved in local Chambers of Commerce, community events such as the Encino Family Festival, teaching local middle and high school students financial literacy, working with Junior Achievement of Southern California and working with a domestic violence center. In 2018 in greater Los Angeles, 764 hours of employee time was spent volunteering and $100,600 was spent in charitable donations in Southern California.

Los Angeles Daily News: As the second largest newspaper in Los Angeles and the voice of the San Fernando Valley, the Daily News supports multiple non-profits serving individuals with disabilities, low incomes and those who are homeless or impacted by domestic violence to name a few. Its leadership staff serve on the boards of instrumental non-profit organizations. It has helped Tierra del Sol with its employment initiative for individuals with developmental disabilities by employing several individuals with two celebrating 20 years of service to the company. The Daily News has encouraged other employers to join them in this initiative and has developed strong opinion pieces regarding the needs of the disability community and has provided valuable coverage of non-profit organizations. In addition to Tierra del Sol, it has supported New Horizons, Valley Food Bank, ONEgeneration, MEND, New Directions for Youth among many others.

The Impact Award recipients will be honored during the 61st Annual Fernando Award Dinner Friday, September 27, 2019 at the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles.