Top 20 for Hot 20: Vote for the 2014 Community Choice Award Finalists!


It’s hardly news that the Bay Area is teeming with talent—your neighbor, your best friend’s cousin, you! From entrepreneurs to educators, from Oakland to Menlo Park, many of you make daily contributions that are changing the way we work, think, and live. 

For over 60 years, The San Francisco Foundation has recognized such inspiring Bay Area leaders via the Community Leadership Awards. Past winners have included Michael Franti, Van Jones, Carlos Santana, Alice Waters, and a slew of other local leaders. This year, 7x7 and The San Francisco Foundation have joined forces to present the Hot 20 Community Choice Award.

For the past few weeks, we asked you to tell us which Bay Area organization makes your world a little brighter, a little better. The finalists you chose are all doing incredibly innovative and important work throughout the region. Now, we need your help to pick a winner. The winner with the most votes will be featured in an advertorial spread in 7x7's Hot 20 Issue and their organization will receive a $20,000 award from The San Francisco Foundation.

So, check out your top 20 finalists. Read their quick stats, get inspired, and then VOTE! You can vote once per email address per day until August 8th. 

Top 20 Hot 20 Community Choice Award Nominees

Citizen Schools California – Alison Townley, Executive Director

Citizen Schools California partners with middle schools to expand the learning day. By drawing more citizens into our schools, Citizen Schools is promoting student achievement, transforming schools, and re-imagining education in California, including the Bay Area.

City Youth Now – Ananda Joy Hart, Managing Director

City Youth Now supports youth in the San Francisco foster care and juvenile justice systems by providing funds for services and programs that promote stability and personal growth.

East Point Peace Academy – Kazu Haga, Founder

The East Point Peace Academy is an organization dedicated to bringing about a culture of peace through training, education, and the practice of nonviolence and conflict reconciliation.

Gray Area Foundation for the Arts – Josette Melchor, Executive Director

Gray Area applies digital art and technology to create positive social impact. Through education, research, and public programs, Gray Area tests and scales projects with high impact potential, teaches digital tools to support artists and technologists, and inspires the community by promoting meaningful new work.

Hack the Hood – Susan Mernit, CEO

Hack the Hood provides technical training in high in-demand multimedia and tech skills to youth who will then apply their learning through real-world consulting projects with locally-owned businesses and non-profits.

Headlands Center for the Arts – Chinaka Hodge, Board Member

Headlands Center for the Arts is a multidisciplinary arts center dedicated to supporting artists, the creative process, and the development of new, innovative ideas and artwork.

La Cocina – Caleb Zigas, Executive Director

La Cocina cultivates low income food entrepreneurs as they formalize and grow their businesses. La Cocina's vision is that entrepreneurs gain financial security by doing what they love to do, therby creating an innovative, vibrant, and inclusive economic landscape.

Lava Mae – Doniece Sandoval, Founder

Lava Mae provides mobile showers for the homeless. Lava Mae's work is driven by a fierce belief that everyone has a right to dignity and by the knowledge that access to showers and sanitation is in serious short supply for the homeless.

Make-A-Wish Greater Bay Area – Patricia Wilson, Executive Director and CEO

Make-A-Wish Greater Bay Area grants the wishes of Bay Area children with life-threatening medical conditions to enrich the human experience with hope, strength, and joy.

MotherCoders – Tina Lee, Founder

MotherCoders is working to create a more inclusive economy by on-ramping moms to careers in technology. This tech orientation program provides on-site childcare for moms who want to learn basic computer programming, expand their understanding of the technology landscape, and network with peers and industry professionals.

Old Skool Cafe – Teresa Goines, CEO

Old Skool Café (OSC) is a faith-based, violence prevention program, providing jobs and training to youth (with an emphasis on at-risk, urban youth) ages 16-22, at their 1940’s styled supper club. OSC confronts the epidemic of violence by providing at-risk, previously incarcerated, and foster care youth with a variety of career opportunities that would normally not be afforded them.

Planting Justice – Gavin Raders, Executive Director

Planting justice is a grassroots organization with a mission to democratize access to affordable, nutritious food by empowering urban residents with the skills, knowledge, and resources they need to maximize organic food production, expand job opportunities, and ensure environmental sustainability in the Bay Area.

Playworks – Jill Vialet, CEO and Founder

Playworks’ vision is that one day every child in America will get to play, every day. Playworks offers an essential opportunity for children to explore their imaginations, to connect with other kids, and to stretch and grow physically, emotionally, and socially.

Queer Women of Color Media Arts Project (QWOCMAP) – Madeleine Lim, Founding Artistic Director

Queer Women of Color Media Arts Project (QWOCMAP) promotes the creation, exhibition, and distribution of new films/videos that address the vital social justice issues that concern queer women of color and their communities, authentically reflect their life stories, and build community through art and activism.

RYSE Youth Center – Kimberly Aceves, Executive Director

RYSE Youth Center was born out of a youth organizing movement in response to a string of homicides amongst youth in Richmond that galvanized students to take action. RYSE works to create safe spaces grounded in social justice that build youth power for young people to love, learn, educate, heal, and transform the lives and communities.

Serenity House – Johnnia Davis, Founder and Executive Director

Serenity House was originally established as a recovery program for women suffering from addiction. Today, Serenity House provides services for women who have been raped or molested as children, suffer from addiction, homelessness, mental health issues, and/or emotional issues caused by trauma.

Street Level Health Project – Laura Lopez, Executive Director

Street Level Health Project is an Oakland-based grassroots organization dedicated to improving the health and wellbeing of underserved urban immigrant communities in the Bay Area.

Summer Search – Amy Saxton, CEO

Summer Search is a comprehensive program for youth that spans a crucial seven- to nine-year period, giving students what they need to develop the skills to thrive for the long term and go on to become leaders in their communities.

Tipping Point – Daniel Lurie, CEO and Founder

Tipping Point exists to change the way our community fights poverty. Tipping Point Community makes sure the most effective nonprofits—those that create real opportunities for Bay Area individuals and families in need—get the support they deserve.

Youth Radio – Ellin O’Leary, Executive Director

Youth Radio is an award-winning media production company that trains diverse young people in digital media and technology. Founded in Berkeley during a period of heightened youth violence and homicide, Youth Radio was established as an outlet for Bay Area youth to process their experiences and provide an alternative perspective to the prevailing media dialogue. 


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