Novato connections were prevalent among the award winners at Thursday’s Heart of Marin Awards, a celebration of volunteerism, nonprofit excellence and corporate philanthropy.
More than 750 people packed the Marin Center Exhibit Hall at the Marin Civic Center for the 20th annual luncheon hosted by the Center for Volunteer and Nonprofit Leadership.
Novato residents Ana Camara Flores of San Marin High School and Orlando Zepeda of Marin Oaks High both earned $1,000 in scholarship money by being one of five recipients of the Youth Volunteer of the Year Award.
Nominees were honored for their civic involvement and contributions within the community and presented with awards.
The winners were:
Volunteer of the Year: Dr. Patrick Bennett, Marin Community Clinics and Operation Access
Excellence in Board Leadership: Gary Anspach, Conservation Corps North Bay
Achievement in Nonprofit Excellence: EAH Housing
Youth Volunteers of the Year: Ana Camara Flores, San Marin High, (Teen Project Service Club), Orlando Zepeda, Marin Oaks High (Marin Oaks Leadership Class); Sonia Chinai, Branson School (Eyesight for All); Johnny Xu, Terra Linda High (Baby Basics, Next Generation Scholars); Edward Corena, San Rafael High (Marin County Youth Commission, Youth Leadership Institute)
Corporate Community Service: Kaiser Permanente San Rafael
Excellence in Innovation: Legal Aid of Marin, Marin Community Court
Excellence in Leadership: Bob Berner, Marin Agricultural Land Trust
Youth winners received $1,000 in scholarships. All other winners were be awarded $5,000 for their organizations.
Union Bank was the presenting sponsor. Other key sponsors were Redwood Credit Union, Kaiser Permanente of San Rafael, Marin Community Foundation, Autodesk, Dominican University of California, Bregante + Company CPAs, College of Marin and Bank of Marin. Singer/actor/writer Noah Griffin served as emcee.
“Nonprofit leaders and volunteers work extremely hard to meet the growing needs of our community,” said Linda Davis, executive director of the center.