December 18, 2019

Honoring a Legacy of Entrepreneurial Spirit

Friends, supporters, project leaders and other Community Partners allies came together last Thursday evening for our annual gathering and presentation of the Albert R. Rodriguez Civic Legacy Honors.

Big news was shared by CEO & President Paul Vandeventer (please see Paul’s message this month) and board chair Ange-Marie Hancock Alfaro, announced that Perry Parks will succeed her in the board leadership position beginning January 1.

Each year, Community Partners pays tribute to our co-founder Al Rodriguez, through the presentation of the Albert. R. Rodriguez Civic Legacy Honors. These accolades serve to recognize the people, partners, and important allies whose spirited dedication to ethical integrity, public accountability, and fiscal prudence reflect Al’s own core values.

Our 2019 honorees include:

Mario Fedelin & Beth Marco Bayouth – Co-Founders, Changeist

Changeist, a project that introduces diverse young people to the power of civic engagement, has received a lot of recognition this past year: Changeist was selected by Governor Gavin Newsom to serve a s a model for a new statewide ‘youth corps’ in California. And CEO and co-founder Mario Fedelin was named a 2019 Obama fellow, one of just 20 people chosen for this esteemed honor from around the globe.

In accepting the award, Fedelin emphasized how important it is to focus on young people and also thanked Community Partners for its role in Changeist’s success. “So the governor thought this was a good idea. And the Obamas thought this was a good idea, which is all great. But none of them would have had a chance to know about us without Community Partners’ first recognizing that, yes, this idea has value.”


Belinda Faustinos – Nature for All

In 2014, then-President Obama designated the San Gabriel Mountains as the country’s newest national monument. That was an important milestone for one of our precious wild spaces – and also for the coalition of organizations that worked tirelessly for six years to achieve it. Now called Nature for All, the group (formerly San Gabriel Mountains Forever) is still led by Belinda Faustinos, and they continue their advocacy for policies and programs that protect our natural areas, create more natural spaces, particularly in historically underserved neighborhoods, and connect people to the natural world.

Faustinos keeps the coalition always focused on the “For All” part of their new name – always assuring that people in communities are at the forefront of any policy advocacy work they do. They’ve brought close to 1,000 community members to public meetings and hearings, amplifying the civic voice about issues or concerns for the environment.


California Community Foundation – accepted by CEO Antonia Hernandez

The California Community Foundation, one of the region’s largest foundations, has been a partner on a number of our intermediary initiatives over the years, including the 2nd District Capacity Building and Leadership Development Program and our Trauma-Informed Care Initiative. CCF has also given generously to dozens of Community Partners projects for many years and has further supported our work by lending us the volunteer services of our long-time board member and former board chair Steve Cobb.

Under the leadership of CEO Antonia Hernandez, CCF has granted nearly $2 billion to local nonprofits, with a focus on health, housing, education, and immigration programs. In accepting the honor, Hernandez commended Community Partners for our work in helping to build up a strong nonprofit sector in Los Angeles.

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