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News from Ford

1 October 2002

Ford Foundation Announces 2002 Winners of Leadership Awards

NEW YORK, 1 October 2002 — The Ford Foundation today announced the 2002 winners of the Leadership for a Changing World awards. The 20 awardees, selected from 34 finalists in a pool of more than 1400 nominations, represent individuals and leadership teams that are getting results tackling tough social problems in communities across the United States. Each will receive $100,000 to advance their work and an additional $30,000 for supporting activities over the next two years.

Leadership for a Changing World (L.C.W.), launched in September 2000, is a program of the Ford Foundation in partnership with the Advocacy Institute in Washington, D.C. and the Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service at New York University. The program seeks to raise awareness that leadership comes in many forms and from diverse communities by recognizing the achievements of outstanding leaders who are not broadly known beyond their immediate communities or fields. It provides financial and other support for their work and brings them together periodically over two years; conducts research with awardees about how leadership is perceived, created and sustained; and contributes to a broader public conversation about community leadership.

“L.C.W. awardees demonstrate the kinds of leadership that are particularly effective in addressing the complex social realities of contemporary communities,” said Susan V. Berresford, president of the Ford Foundation. “They share the ability to bring diverse groups together to overcome divisive issues and take action that will improve people's lives. By recognizing their accomplishments we want to raise awareness of the rich array of leadership that is making a difference in communities across the United States and strengthening our society as a whole.”

Working in teams as well as individually, this year's awardees direct efforts that include community initiatives to secure jobs and affordable housing for low-income, homeless and mentally disabled people; combat unsafe industrial development; train thousands of volunteers from different faiths to provide emotional and spiritual support to people with H.I.V./AIDS; provide seed money and technical assistance to Haitian refugee women starting home-based businesses; and revive Native American cultural traditions, among them a community food system that could help correct a tribe's severe health problems. Awardees have also used storytelling to weave a sense of community; helped pass a law that allows federal judges discretion to reduce unfair sentences for non-violent, first-time offenders; led a class-action lawsuit that resulted in the recovery of $3 million in back pay and damages for slaughterhouse workers; revived salmon runs and local economies in the Northwest; ensured that more than 17,000 uninsured children were added to Medicaid; and created one of the largest community land trusts in the country.

A list and brief description of awardees is attached.

The Advocacy Institute is accepting nominations for the next round of awards. For more information, visit the program's web site at or call (202) 777-7560.

To be eligible for a Leadership for a Changing World award, candidates must be nominated by someone familiar with their work who can attest to their qualifications. Nominations are reviewed by a team of readers. Subsequent levels of review include regional selection committees and site visits to the recommended finalists. A national committee of independent experts in different fields, the Advocacy Institute and the Ford Foundation select the 20 awardees.

This year's National Selection Committee was co-chaired by Emmett E. Carson, president and C.E.O. of the Minneapolis Foundation and Dorothy Stoneman, president of YouthBuild USA. Members included: Diana Autin, executive co-director, Statewide Parent Advocacy Network; David Dodson, president, MDC, Inc.; John Echohawk, executive director, Native American Rights Fund; Peter Edelman, professor of law, Georgetown University Law Center; Don Fraser, former mayor of Minneapolis; Alice Ito, interview programs manager, Densho Project; Wendy Johnson, executive director, Southern Regional Council; Thomas Pérez, professor of law, University of Maryland; Donna Russell Red Wing, director of policy and special initiatives, Gill Foundation; Barbara Schaffer Bacon, project director, Animating Democracy Initiative.

The Advocacy Institute, founded in 1985, works to make a difference around the world by strengthening movements for political, social and economic justice through leadership support, networking and development. With its partners, it helps make democratic institutions accountable. The Institute's actions link it to a global community of grass-roots activists and nongovernmental organizations that tackle critical human rights issues such as gender equity, peace, sustainable development, public health, ending poverty and protecting the environment.

The Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service, established in 1938, offers advanced programs leading to the professional degrees of Master of Public Administration, Master of Urban Planning, Master of Science in Management, and Doctor of Philosophy. Through these programs, the Wagner School educates the future leaders of public, nonprofit and health institutions as well as private organizations serving the public sector. As the largest school of public service in the country, it is committed to preparing people who can translate ideas into action.

For more information on Leadership for a Changing World or to download a nomination brochure, go to Specific questions can be submitted via email (, phone (202) 777-7560 or by writing to Leadership for a Changing World, Advocacy Institute, 1629 K St., NW Suite 200 Washington, DC 20006-1629.

2002 Award Winners, Leadership for a Changing World

Susana Almanza, Executive Director and Co-Founder
Sylvia Herrera, Health Coordinator and Co-Founder
People Organized in Defense of Earth and her Resources
Austin, TX

Susana Almanza and Sylvia Herrera lead People Organized in Defense of Earth and her Resources (PODER), an environmental justice organization that brings together low-income, predominantly Latino residents to fight unsafe industrial development in East Austin. Armed with scientific data and a mobilized community, Almanza and Herrera led an effort to shut down a 52-acre chemical tank farm and successfully organized to relocate a stinking, littered, rodent-infested “landfill for recyclables.” The center was moved to a nonresidential area. PODER also runs a campaign that has brought such neighborhood improvements as streetlights, street signs, bus shelters, street realignments and sidewalks.

Contact information
Susana Almanza and Sylvia Herrera, Ph.D.
55 N. IH 35, #205B
Austin, TX 78702
Phone: 512-472-9921 Fax: 512-472-9922

Marleine M. Bastien, Executive Director
Fanm Ayisyen Nan Miyami, Inc./Haitian Women of Miami
Miami, FL

In 1981, when Marleine Bastien was 22 years old, she volunteered at a Haitian refugee center in Miami, Florida. The experience changed her life. A decade later, she founded Fanm Ayisyen Nan Miyami (F.A.N.M.), which today sponsors an array of services for the Haitian community in Miami and elsewhere in the United States. These include family counseling, language assistance and economic development programs. For example, F.A.N.M. provides seed money and technical aid so women can start home-based businesses. It also works with other ethnic groups on immigration issues and empowerment of women workers, and recently joined with People for the American Way, Unite for Dignity, the A.C.L.U. and the N.A.A.C.P. to create a coalition to protect voters' rights in Florida.

Contact information
Marleine M. Bastien, LCSW
Fanm Ayisyen Nan Miyami, Inc.
8340 N.E. 2nd Ave., Suite 212
Miami, FL 33138
Phone: 305-756-8050 Fax: 305-756-8150

Rev. Amy E. Brooks, Program Director
Rev. Stephanie Speller Henderson, Minority Program Director
Rev. Debra K. Kidd, Program Director
Rev. Deborah C. Warren, President and C.E.O.
Regional AIDS Interfaith Network
Charlotte, NC

Through its CareTeam program, Regional AIDS Interfaith Network (RAIN) has trained more than 2,200 volunteers from 20 faith traditions to provide practical, emotional and spiritual support to people who live with H.I.V./AIDS and to their families. RAIN's efforts include 775 H.I.V. prevention-education programs provided to 27,000 people. In addition to organizing adult leaders, RAIN recruits young people for peer education programs. For example, one group of nine teenagers gave H.I.V./AIDS presentations to high school clubs, athletic teams, apartment complexes and faith communities. They also translated flyers into Spanish and gave presentations in a Hispanic community.

Contact information
RAIN, Inc.
P.O. Box 37190
Charlotte, NC 28237-7190
Phone: 704-372-7246 Fax: 704-372-7418

Michelle de la Uz, Co-Chair, Board of Directors
Brad Lander, Executive Director
Linda Techell, Co-Chair, Board of Directors
Fifth Avenue Committee
Brooklyn, NY

Michelle de la Uz, Brad Lander, and Linda Techell are leaders of the Fifth Avenue Committee (FAC), a community development organization that has redeveloped 600 units of affordable housing for low-income residents, with most of the units now owned by occupants and helped stop the eviction of more than 2,000 tenants. FAC's goal of stabilizing neighborhoods includes organizing women on welfare to help pass a Transitional Jobs Bill to create 7,500 jobs for low-income New Yorkers and establishing community-owned businesses, including a temporary service agency that provides an average of $11 an hour in wages, with 86 percent of the three-month placements leading to permanent employment. FAC has also launched a program to help returning prisoners find jobs and housing.

Contact information
Michelle de la Uz, Linda Techell, and Brad Lander
Fifth Avenue Committee, Inc.
141 Fifth Ave.
Brooklyn, NY 11217
Phone: 718-857-2990 Fax: 718-857-4322
Email:, and

Larry Ferlazzo, Supervisor
Carmen Mirazo, Co-Chair, Board of Directors
Rev. Dr. Tyrone Hicks, Senior Advisor
Pastor Cornelius V. Taylor, Jr., Co-Chair, Board of Directors
Sacramento Valley Organizing Community
Sacramento, CA

The Sacramento Valley Organizing Community (S.V.O.C.) works in three northern California counties to bring affordable housing, job-training programs and improved immigration services to low-income individuals. S.V.O.C. is made up of more than 40 predominantly Latino and African-American religious institutions and community organizations, including labor unions. S.V.O.C. has helped thousands of immigrants to become U.S. citizens, is leading efforts to ensure that new companies in the region hire local residents and has built 300 homes for purchase by very low-income families. It is currently expanding to 11 additional counties.

Contact information
Sacramento Valley Organizing Community
3263 1st Ave.
Sacramento, CA 95817
Phone: 916-457-0245 Fax: 916-457-0207

LeeAnn Hall, Executive Director
Northwest Federation of Community Organizations
Seattle, WA

LeeAnn Hall leads Northwest Federation of Community Organizations (N.W.F.C.O.), a coalition of community-based organizations in Washington, Oregon, Montana and Idaho, that represent disenfranchised citizens in such issues as housing, education and access to government programs. In the 1990s, N.W.F.C.O. staff and members went door to door to tell hundreds of low-income families about the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) and other assistance available to them, and to encourage residents to speak out for state funding for these programs. After 120 families traveled to Boise to sit in on a state finance committee meeting, Idaho legislators reversed their decision to drop funding for CHIP. N.W.F.C.O. groups continue to organize in 14 rural and metropolitan areas in the Northwest. In Idaho alone, more than 17,000 children have been added to Medicaid as a result of CHIP outreach efforts.

Contact information
LeeAnn Hall
Northwest Federation of Community Organizations
1905 South Jackson St.
Seattle, WA 98144
Phone: 206-568-5400 Fax: 206-568-5444

Theresa Ripley Holden, Project Director
John O'Neal, Artistic Director
Junebug Productions, The Color Line Project
New Orleans, LA

John O'Neal and Theresa R. Holden operate Junebug Productions, a nationally acclaimed touring theater company that focuses on community cultural development. Through the Color Line Project, a national program that collects and archives remembrances of those who participated in or were influenced by the civil rights movement in the 1960s, Junebug brings together people who in everyday life might not cross paths, to share their lives through the “story circle process.” At one New Jersey school, for example, a senior citizen told of living in a barn with an outdoor toilet and no running water and going to a segregated school. Such stories leave a lasting impression as educators incorporate them into their curricula, artists create new pieces based on them, and activists use them to promote social justice.

Contact information
Theresa R. Holden
P.O. Box 50120
Austin, TX 78763
Phone: 512-477-1859 Fax: 512-477-3908

John O'Neal
Junebug Productions
225 Baronne Street, Suite #1712
New Orleans, LA 70130
Phone: 504-524-8257 Fax: 504-529-5403
Web: www.gnofn/

Mary Houghton, Finance Director, Co-Director
Brenda Marion Torpy, Executive Director, Co-Director
Burlington Community Land Trust
Burlington, VT

The Burlington Community Land Trust (B.C.L.T.) is a grassroots organization that specializes in affordable housing for low- and moderate-income people. Over the past 18 years, under the leadership of Torpy and Houghton, B.C.L.T. has become one of the largest community land trusts in the country, providing a national model for increasing and sustaining the availability of affordable housing. B.C.L.T. housing now includes 233 rental apartments, 69 cooperative homes, and 5 community facilities. Torpy and Houghton have also expanded to other areas of community development, such as housing for homeless women and the mentally ill, a neighborhood park and community health, children's day-care and senior centers.

Contact information
Mary Houghton and Brenda Marion Torpy
P.O. Box 523
Burlington, VT 05402
Phone: 802-862-6244 Fax: 802-862-5054
Email: and

Terrol Dew Johnson, Co-Founder and Co-Director
Tristan Reader, Co-Director
Tohono O'odham Community Action
Sells, AZ

Tohono O'odham Community Action (TOCA), co-founded by Tristan Reader and Terrol Johnson in 1996, serves an area west of Tucson where approximately 16,000 members of the Tohono O'odham tribe live on a 4,600-square-mile reservation. TOCA works to revive cultural traditions, among them a community food system that could help correct the tribe's health problems, including the highest rate of adult-onset diabetes in the world. In April 2000, TOCA joined with the Comcaac (Seri) Indian community in Mexico and the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum to organize an 11-day, 250-mile walk to raise awareness of traditional foods. Also, in six years, TOCA's Celebration of Basketweaving has grown from a small gathering of 40 Tohono O'odham basket weavers into an annual event that draws more than 300 Native-American weavers from 17 tribes in 10 states. Sales at these events generate thousands of dollars in income for individual weavers.

Contact information
Terrol Johnson and Tristan Reader
Tohono O'odham Community Action
P.O. Box 1790
Sells, AZ 85634
Phone: 520-383-4966, Fax: 520-383-5286
Email: and

Grace Kong, Lead Organizer
Torm Nompraseurt, Community Organizer
May Phan, Community Organizer
Laotian Organizing Project
Richmond, CA

Richmond, California, has more than 350 industrial facilities near schools and homes and some of the worst toxic pollution in the country. It is also home to a growing refugee population of Laotians who suffer high poverty rates, violence, and cultural, linguistic and political isolation. The Laotian Organizing Project (LOP) provides civic information, speeds access to public services and helps train community leaders. LOP has also incorporated information on environmental health and justice in an English class for Laotian women. And, when a major chemical explosion in 1999 at a Richmond oil refinery revealed the county's inadequate emergency response system, especially for residents with limited English-speaking skills, LOP convinced the county board of supervisors to implement a multilingual phone alert system.

Contact information
Grace Kong, Torm Nompraseurt, and May Phan
Laotian Organizing Project
220 25th Street
Richmond, CA 94804
Phone: 510-236-4616, Fax: 510-236-4572
Email:,, and

Victoria L. Kovari, Director, Michigan Metro Equity Project
Metropolitan Organizing Strategy Enabling Strength
Detroit, MI

Through hundreds of one-on-one relationships, longtime organizer Victoria L. Kovari has led the public transportation campaign of the Metropolitan Organizing Strategy Enabling Strength (MOSES), an urban-suburban coalition that is pushing for the creation of an expanded public transportation system to serve metropolitan Detroit. By working with unions, major auto manufacturers, other corporations, environmentalists, mayors, legislators and community members, MOSES, which is made up of 70 member churches, helped create a successful regional mass transit plan. Among Kovari's other achievements over the past 20 years are: organizing 12,000 signatures to put a Fair Rent Proposal on the Detroit ballot, and creating low-income housing.

Contact information
Victoria L. Kovari
9520 Mettetal
Detroit, MI 48227
Phone: 313-838-3190 Fax: 313-341-2194

Eduardo López, Executive Producer
Arturo Salcedo Martínez, Executive Director
EVS Communications
Washington, DC

When the Línea Directa television series began in 1990, there were no local Spanish-language television programs in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area despite thousands of Latino newcomers. In 2000, Arturo Salcedo Martínez and Eduardo López changed the face of D.C. media. Their nonprofit organization, EVS Communications, which produces Línea Directa, became the first Spanish-language program to enter into a public service partnership with a major Washington news organization, NBC4. Today, Línea Directa delivers health, education, legal and social service information. It covers such issues as affordable medical services for families without health insurance, the parent's role in education, citizenship and voting, predatory lending and the growth of Latino literature. It was also the first local program to speak about the use of condoms and about the spread of H.I.V./AIDS in the Latino community.

Contact information
Arturo Salcedo Martínez and Eduardo López
EVS Communications
3039 4th St., N.E.
Washington, DC 20017
Phone: 202-635-2606 Fax: 202-635-2603
Email: and

María Martínez, Co-Chair
Teamsters for a Democratic Union
Detroit, MI

María Martínez, the eleventh of 22 children, began working for 15 hours a day in the fields of California when she was 14. Later, she worked in a meat processing plant in rural eastern Washington and in recent years has emerged as a leader of meatpacking immigrants. Since 1997 she has led a grassroots movement to challenge the industry's practices. Martínez has educated her co-workers about their rights, led a class-action lawsuit that resulted in the recovery of $3 million in back pay and damages for slaughterhouse workers, and prodded the industry to adopt a comprehensive safety program. She is also helping rebuild the Teamsters Union as a voice for workers, and is a full participant in the national Teamsters reform movement.

Contact information
María Martínez
Teamsters for a Democratic Union
P.O. Box 10128
Detroit, MI 48210
Phone: 313-842-2600 Fax: 313-842-0227

Joan Dawson McConnon, Associate Executive
Sister Mary Scullion, Executive Director
Project H.O.M.E.
Philadelphia, PA

Sister Mary Scullion and Joan Dawson McConnon have helped create a public climate in which economic recovery and successful redevelopment address the root causes of homelessness in Philadelphia. After a long legal battle, Project H.O.M.E. won the right to develop permanent housing for 48 men and women who were homeless and mentally disabled. Project H.O.M.E. also has 256 housing units for formerly homeless single adults and families and has rebuilt 18 abandoned homes for sale to first-time homebuyers. Project H.O.M.E.'s businesses, which range from the Back Home Café to our Daily Threads Thrift Shop, provide more than 100 jobs to formerly homeless people.

Contact information
Sr. Mary Scullion and Joan Dawson McConnon
Project H.O.M.E.
1515 Fairmount Ave.
Philadelphia, PA 19130
Phone: 215-232-7272 Fax: 215-232-4820
Email: and

Harold Mitchell, C.E.O.
Spartanburg, SC

Disturbed by abnormally high death rates in his family and surrounding community, Harold Mitchell researched the health and environmental effects of such toxic wastes as dioxin, lead, mercury, cadmium and arsenic. He found neighborhood ponds discolored with orange and blue streaks, tons of fertilizer left in vacated buildings, and sulphuric acid in abandoned tanks. He then established ReGenesis, which works with 124 participating partners, including community nonprofit organizations, businesses, and local state and federal agencies, to raise public awareness of the bad health effects of industrial toxic wastes. After ReGenesis presented its citizen research to the Environmental Protection Agency, the agency reversed its 1997 decision, and designated Spartanburg a Superfund site.

Contact information
Harold Mitchell
710 S. Church Street, #2
Spartanburg, SC 29306
Phone: 864-583-2712 Fax: 864-583-2713

John Parvensky, President
Colorado Coalition for the Homeless
Denver, CO

John Parvensky, president of Colorado Coalition for the Homeless (C.C.H.), linked 30 separate social service organizations into formal financial collaborations to bring better services to the homeless. As a result, more than 240 service providers throughout the state now work together to find solutions to homelessness. C.C.H. also created a multicounty initiative with a pioneering rental-assistance approach in transitional housing that has dramatically improved services for Colorado's homeless families. C.C.H. has also developed more than 500 affordable housing units and another 281 units are under construction. At the national level, Parvensky has worked with service providers for the homeless from around the country to persuade the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration to address substance abuse among the homeless.

Contact information
John Parvensky, President
Colorado Coalition for the Homeless
2111 Champa Street
Denver, CO 80205
Phone: 303-293-2217 Fax: 303-293-2309

Gerry F. Roll, Executive Director
Hazard Perry County Community Ministries
Hazard, KY

Gerry Roll leads Hazard Perry County Community Ministries (H.P.C.C.M.), a rural housing program that has provided emergency shelter, transitional apartments and support services to more than one thousand people in eastern Kentucky. Acknowledging that moving homeless and low-income families toward self-sufficiency means more than just housing, Roll has opened three new H.P.C.C.M. child-care centers, one of which is currently serving 146 children. Another site planned for 2003 will accommodate 140 children. H.P.C.C.M.'s Southeast Kentucky Community Access Program (SKYCAP), a partnership with more than 50 local providers, gives homeless individuals and families improved access to health care and social services as well as housing opportunities.

Contact information
Gerry Roll
Hazard Perry County Community Ministries
55 Jarnigan Place
P.O. Box 1506
Hazard, KY 41702
Phone: 606-436-2662 Fax: 606-436-2563

Donald Guy Sampson, Executive Director
Columbia River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission
Portland, OR

In 2000, Donald Guy Sampson, a former chairman of the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation and director of the Columbia River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission (C.R.I.T.F.C.), assembled a diverse coalition to reverse a severely depressed tribal economy, which included a focus on reviving salmon. Unemployment has since fallen from 34 percent to less than 20 percent; the Tribe's annual budget has increased from $6 million to over $52 million, and he has demonstrated that hatchery-reared salmon will spawn in natural habitat, if given the chance. The director of the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service is now a supporter of Sampson's efforts and he has developed strong relations with state and federal agencies, conservation groups, watershed districts, energy providers, tribal groups and others involved in restoring salmon in the Pacific Northwest. Last year, Sampson's Jammin' for Salmon festival brought more than 17,000 people to Portland's Waterfront Park to celebrate cultural practices based on the salmon.

Contact information
Donald Sampson
Columbia River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission
729 N.E. Oregon, Suite 200
Portland, OR 97232
Phone: 503-238-0667 Fax: 503-235-4228

Julie Stewart, President
Families Against Mandatory Minimums
Washington, DC

Julie Stewart started Families Against Mandatory Minimums (FAMM) in 1991, after her brother, a first-time offender, was sentenced to five years in federal prison for growing marijuana. FAMM holds the mandatory-sentencing laws that emerged in the 1980s and early 1990s to be inflexible and discriminatory. Its more than 26,000 members include concerned citizens, judges and attorneys as well as prisoners and their families. FAMM pushes for legislative relief, helps arrange pro bono legal representation and keeps and updates a data bank of sentencing anecdotes used by reporters and activists across the nation. Among other victories, FAMM was instrumental in the passage of a “safety valve” law that allows federal judges discretion to reduce unfair sentences for non-violent, first-time offenders.

Contact information
Julie Stewart
Families Against Mandatory Minimums
1612 K St., NW, Suite 1400
Washington, DC 20006
Phone: 202-822-6700 Fax: 202-822-6704

KaYing Yang, Executive Director
Southeast Asia Resource Action Center
Washington, DC

The Southeast Asia Resource Action Center (SEARAC) supports research, policy analysis and the development of Southeast Asian community leaders in the United States. To further this goal, SEARAC's Executive Director, KaYing Yang — herself a Hmong refugee from Laos — created a membership network of 21 mutual assistance associations (MAAs) to contribute to SEARAC's national policy program, and Yang has repeatedly testified to federal agencies on policy initiatives that affect Southeast Asian communities. She has also helped create the first comprehensive directory of Southeast Asian MAAs, thereby opening the door to direct contacts from media, national organizations, community groups, and grantmakers.

Contact information
KaYing Yang
Southeast Asia Resource Action Center
1628 16th St., NW
Washington, DC 20009-3099
Phone: 202-667-4690 Fax: 202-667-6449

The Ford Foundation is an independent, nonprofit grant-making organization. For more than 75 years it has worked with courageous people on the frontlines of social change worldwide, guided by its mission to strengthen democratic values, reduce poverty and injustice, promote international cooperation, and advance human achievement. With headquarters in New York, the foundation has offices in Latin America, Africa, the Middle East, and Asia.

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