November 27, 2018 | Stories

Local Volunteers Celebrated at National Philanthropy Day

Local Volunteers Celebrated at National Philanthropy Day

“Service to others is the rent you pay for your room here on earth.” — Muhammad Ali

Last week, the Community Foundation for San Benito County honored thirty-two nominees during their 17th Annual National Philanthropy Day Celebration–a total of 767 honorees since the Foundation started participating in this national event. The evening was all about the wonderful volunteers that live in our community, seeds that are nurtured and allowed to grow with help from so many great nonprofit organizations.

The Friends of the San Benito County Free Library has been honoring volunteers since 2001, and this year they chose to honor Kathy Larabell. She wears many hats, volunteering to help with book donations, book reviews, monthly activities, and their annual fundraiser, Tea & Treasures–all this, and more, in just five years.

The San Benito Agricultural Land Trust joined the celebration for the first time. They honored Paul F. Hain for his leadership during the past 25 years. This organization has protected nearly 7,000 acres of productive agricultural land, and our region’s agricultural heritage has a bright future due to Paul’s unwavering dedication.

In addition to celebrating the honorees who have made a profound impact in our community, the event also celebrated local service organizations who meet regularly to perform charitable work, either by direct hands-on efforts or by raising money for other nonprofits. Representatives from six service organizations participated in the festivities including the keynote speaker for the evening, Dr. Edwardo Cervantes, who serves as President of LULAC.

Eddie shared his personal story; Eddie’s mother was only sixteen when he was born, the daughter of a poor migrant family. There were many challenges in his life until a professor at UC Santa Cruz helped Eddie–preventing him from being buried by his circumstances. Today Dr. Cervantes is paying it forward with his students at Gavilan College, giving them an opportunity to grow and prosper. He reminded everyone, “Think about all the amazing accomplishments that have contributed to our community, and remember to plant seeds for the next generation to pay forward.”

Gary Byrne, Community Foundation President/CEO, made a few closing comments and referred back to Eddie’s story–how support by a single mentor or a community of mentors like a service organization is all someone needs to make a difference. “Many of our service organizations are giving scholarships so students can come back to our community and make a difference for future generations.” They want to raise their families here, they want to volunteer here, and they want to pay it forward here–our future nominees.

A complete list of 2018 honorees is located below.