Besides recognizing noteworthy community volunteer each year, The Fernando Awards also awards 11 scholarships to students who have been leaders of volunteering in their schools, inspiring a new generation of philanthropy.
According to one associate, Diana is “the consummate volunteer that every organization wishes they could clone.” She is always the first to volunteer for a project or event. She has been involved with many organizations including the Mid-Valley YMCA, Encino Chamber of Commerce, Valley Presbyterian Hospital, Valley Family Center, Greater San Fernando Valley Chamber of Commerce, The Valley Economic Alliance, Greater Van Nuys Rotary and Valley Cultural Center.
On October 7th, Bill Allen, CEO of LAEDC became the 60th recipient of the Fernando award, which has since 1959 been the most prestigious award for civic stewardship and volunteer service to the community in the San Fernando Valley.
“I am deeply humbled by this recognition, particularly because I work every day at the LAEDC with so many other civic stewards and community volunteers who inspire me as they help us collectively advance opportunity and prosperity for all of our neighbors across the region.“
LAEDC thanks the Fernando Award Foundation for this well deserved recognition for Bill Allen, and for the Foundation’s work celebrating volunteer service for many important causes in the region.
Allen’s name will be etched in the base of the Fernando monument located in the Van Nuys Civic Center and on a marble obelisk in Warner Center Park, along with the names of prior award recipients.
“One thing we see in all the great leaders in the San Fernando Valley is the ability to listen,” said Ravel, a Valley resident for more than three decades.
Levinson has also served as president of Yes ICAN, the International Child Abuse Network that aims to break the silence and cycle of abuse, while chairing its largest annual fundraiser, “Strike Against Child Abuse.” He has also volunteered for a number of other organizations, including Grandparents as Parents, the American Red Cross, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health and the West Valley YMCA.
Martin Cooper, a San Fernando Valley philanthropist and volunteer at non-profits for more than three decades, is the 56th recipient of the Fernando Award, considered the Academy Award for volunteerism in the community.
Cooper, 73, received the award Saturday evening during a black-tie dinner at the Globe Theater at Universal Studios Hollywood attended by more than 300 people.
He was selected from a field of nine nominees for the award that’s been presented since 1959 by the Fernando Award Foundation Inc.
Nancy was nominated by the North Valley Regional Chamber of Commerce and Richard Leyden, a member of the Fernando Board of Directors.
2011—Gary M. Thomas *
Gary M. Thomas is Senior Vice President and Creative Director of Aaron, Thomas & Associates in Chatsworth, a company specializing in creative consulting, graphic design, printing and direct mail services to the political sector and the general corporate market throughout the United States. Gary’s community service and volunteerism has spanned over 37 years and has involved Chambers of Commerce, organizations that have political impact on the San Fernando Valley, anti-gang programs, youth development organizations, leadership and business impact programs and non-profit organizations. He has helped raise over $5 million for the nearly 30 non-profit organizations he has served in leadership positions. Gary is responsible for creating many innovative fundraising methods among Valley non-profits. He has served on the Board of the Boys & Girls Club of the West for the last 13 years and is currently Chairman of the Board for the fifth year. Gary has served in leadership positions with the Economic Alliance of the San Fernando Valley; United Chambers of the San Fernando Valley; the Valley Business Corps; and The Wellness Community for the Valley and Ventura. He has been active with the San Fernando Valley Business Advisory Commission and the San Fernando Valley Charitable Foundation.
Johnson, a Sherman Oaks resident, on Friday night became the 52nd recipient of the Fernando Award in recognition of his more than half a century of volunteer work in the San Fernando Valley.
“Just being part of the 2010 class is reward enough,” Johnson said after being named the winner at the annual Fernando Award dinner at the Warner Center Marriott attended by 240 people.
“The other men and woman who made that final group are people who have made a great contribution for a number of years in the Valley and around our city.”
Johnson, who won the decathlon at the 1960 Olympics in Rome, said he has followed news of the award for years and realizes that it is not given for fleeting efforts nor does the winner fade into the background.
Honda, a Northridge resident and president of D.S. Honda Construction Inc., was selected from a field of five candidates.
Bruce Ackerman, president of the Fernando Awards Foundation Board of Directors, praised all of the finalists.
“Just to be nominated for this award is a unique compliment,” said Ackerman, who is also president and chief executive officer of the Economic Alliance of the San Fernando Valley. “You are all winners and we all owe you a great debt.”
2008—50 Valley Organizations
American Cancer Society
Animal Safe Haven Foundation
Blind Children’s Center
Boy Scouts of America, W. LA County Council
Boys & Girls Club of the San Fernando Valley
Boys & Girls Club of the West Valley
Child & Family Guidance Center
Child Development Institute
Circle of Care Leeza’s Place
El Proyecto Del Barrio
Encino-Tarzana Hospital Charitable Foundation
Goodwill Industries – Southern California
Grandparents as Parents
Habitat for Humanity – SF/SC Valleys
Hathaway Sycamore Child & Family Services
Haven Hills for Domestic Abuse
International Child Abuse Network (Yes ICAN)
Jeopardy – Mid Valley
Jeopardy – West Valley
King’s College & Seminary
Kiwanis Clubs of Canoga Park & Northridge
LAPD Devonshire PALS
New Directions for Youth
Olive View Medical Center Foundation
Pacific Lodge Youth Services
Penny Lane Centers
Project GRAD – LA
Ride On Therapeutic Horsemanship
San Fernando Valley Symphony
SFV Girl Scouts Council, Inc.
SFV Interfaith Council, Inc. (VIC)
The Executives-Jewish Home for the Aging
The Valley Fair
Tierra del Sol Foundation
Toys for Tots
Valley Cultural Center
Valley Family Center
Valley Women’s Center
West Valley Boosters
West Valley PALS
Winnetka Community Foundation
Woodland Hills Rotary Foundation
YMCA – Mid Valley
YMCA – North Valley
YMCA – Verdugo Hills
2006 Armand Arabian*
2005 J. Richard Leyner*
Leyner held numerous leadership positions at Valley charities and business organizations. He was a past president of the Encino Chamber, former chairman of the United Chambers in the San Fernando Valley and the founding president of the Encino Neighborhood Council. At the time of his death he was serving as the director of finance for the United Chambers and the president of the Encino Business Improvement District, as well chairman emeritus of the Child Development Institute.
2004 Karl L. Boeckmann*
2003 Robert L. Scott
2002 Ruth Richter*
2001 Rose Goldwater*
2000 Rickey M. Gelb
The commencement of Gelb Group began with Gelb Enterprises established in 1971 and growing consistently into numerous commercial Real Estate companies. Spearheaded by the Gelb family and their ambition to create a quality community, Gelb Group and its family of companies has evolved into a pillar in the history of many San Fernando Valley landmarks and community projects.
For over a decade Gelb Group has managed, invested in and developed more than 1.2 million square feet of Real Property in its Portfolio and continuously growing.
1999 Lee Kanon Alpert
1998 Walter Mosher, PhD
1997 Phillip “Flip” Smith*
1996 Nancy L. Schmidt
1995 Bud Brown
1994 Clyde F. Porter*
1993 Robert M. Neiman*
The company was founded by Robert M. Neiman and Robert L. Reed. The two company founders met in the U.S. Marine Corps during World War II, fighting in many battles in the South Pacific, including assaults at Gaudacanal, Kwajalein Atoll, Rio, Namir, Saipan, Tinian, and Iwo Jima. Mr. Neiman rose to the rank of Colonel and Robert Reed was his tank battalion’s executive officer. It was during this period they developed a very close personal relationship and decided, that upon leaving the Marines, they would do well to go into business together.
1992 Kenneth B. Worthen*
1991 David W. Fleming
In 2014, he was given the LA Chamber’s Civic Medal of Honor – the highest award given to a resident of the City of Los Angeles for a lifetime or outstanding civic achievements.
1990 Samuel Greenberg*
1989 Lee Hamer*
1988 Fred M. Thomas*
1987 Clark Drane*
1986 Jane Boeckmann*
1985 Arthur S. Pfefferman
1984 Robert E. Gibson*
1983 James A. Stanley*
1982 Robert D. Selleck*
1981 Sal Buccieri*
1980 John Bowles*
1979 Howard E. Shirley*
1978 Frank Pine*
1977 Otto Nasser*
1976 H.F. Bert Boeckmann, II
1975 Albert Zoraster*
A resident of the San Fernando Valley from 1920 to the mid-1970s, Albert Zoraster devoted much of his life to improving the quality of services in the community, particularly in the areas of transportation and municipal services. An active committee volunteer, Mr. Zoraster worked with the Los Angeles City Board of Education, the Mayor’s Valley Transportation Committee, Los Angeles City Department of Airports, Valley Presbyterian Hospital, and California State University, Northridge. The Albert Zoraster Collection documents various aspects of Zoraster’s civic career, covering such topics as Birmingham High School, city planning, land use, the proposed Malibu Freeway Project, transportation in the Valley, and the development of the Van Nuys Airport.
1974 Arthur D. Aston*
Mr. Aston, who was a leader of Valley Federal Savings was also a founder of Valley Presbyterian Hospital. He was 88 years old when he died.
1973 Joseph Staller*
1972 Joseph N. Chase*
1971 William W. Putney*
1970 Herbert C. Lightfoot*
1969 Jurral C.P. Rhee*
1968 Jesse F. McHam*
1967 J. Leo Flynn*
1966 Delmar T. Oviatt*
Oviatt was named dean of the proposed Valley campus of Los Angeles State College of Applied Arts and Sciences in 1955 by President Howard McDonald. Previously, Oviatt had served as chair of the division of education at what would later be known as California State University, Los Angeles.
1965 Stephen B. Newton*
1964 Robert S. Fuller*
1963 Donald D. Lorenzen*
No photo available.
1962 Ferdinand Mendenhall*
But Mendenhall, a Navy reservist who fought in World War II, commanded more attention as a newspaper publisher heavily involved in community groups, promoting a pro-business, pro-growth philosophy for the San Fernando Valley.
“In those days, if you were going to start something, you had better call Ferd and make him part of it,” said David Fleming, a Studio City lawyer.
Mendenhall was born in Mississippi in 1908, but grew up in the Valley. His father, Walter, bought a half-interest in the Van Nuys News in 1920 and Ferdinand succeeded him as editor and co-owner in 1946.
1961 Richard G. Norlander*
1960 Russell A. Quisenberry*
In 1926, Quisenberry Insurance agency began when Russell and Myrtle Quisenberry arrived here from Chicago and settled in the North Hollywood area. The Quisenberrys opened a small insurance agency on Lankershim Blvd.
Russell became very active in the North Hollywood community believing that a strong business has strong ties to the community. Russell and Myrtle Quisenberry were true humanitarians; they helped build the North Hollywood community, participating heavily in the local Chamber, St. Joseph’s Hospital, The East Valley YMCA, Rotary and North Hollywood’s local police and fire Departments. Winner of the Fernando Award in 1960, Russell’s civic achievements and his commitment to his community set a reputation for excellence that Quisenberry Insurance strives to continue today.