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Ventura County Community Foundation to pay tribute to outstanding community leaders

Source: VCSTAR.COM | March 23, 2015

The Ventura County Community Foundation will recognize seven individuals and two organizations at its Fifth Annual Community Leadership Awards luncheon at the Crowne Plaza Ventura Beach on April 23.

The Community Leadership Awards honor residents, businesses and nonprofits for investing time and energy to build a better Ventura County .Keith York will receive the Kesa Ryono Award. Named for a VCCF employee after her passing in March 2010, the award is a recognition that honors unsung heroes like Kesa who dedicate countless hours to serving the community at the grass roots level. Matt Coulter and Nathaniel Curran of The Young and Brave Foundation will receive the Next Generation Award, honoring a young person whose volunteer efforts serves as an example to their peers and demonstrates that philanthropy can start at any age. The Philanthropist Award, honoring outstanding efforts on the part of an individual or family toward supporting the community, will go to Gary Ghazarian while Reiter Affiliated Companies will receive the Organization Award to recognize outstanding efforts beyond financial contributions by a local business or company. Tom Leonard will receive the Founders Award, which honors a leader within the VCCF family who has demonstrated a commitment to leadership that expands beyond the community foundation. The Chairman’s Award for longstanding community leadership will go to Ronald and Lisa Greenwood and the Special Award, a recognition for those who share VCCF’s values and proves that we can do more together than we can alone, will go to Interface Children & Family Services.

“We are honored to recognize those who embody the community foundation’s mission of enabling philanthropy in Ventura County,” said VCCF Board Chair Gary Erickson. “These honorees do exactly that: improve the quality of life in Ventura County.”

A Ventura resident, York has volunteered with CAREGIVERS, a Ventura County nonprofit that pairs volunteers with home-bound elderly, offering them in-home and transportation support as well as friendship and company, for more than 31 years.

The Young and Brave Foundation founders Coulter and Curran’s passion for helping others was born while raising money to cover medical expenses, create community awareness and support their friend with cancer. The Young and Brave Foundation received its nonprofit status in March 2011 with the vision of helping infants, children and young adults diagnosed with cancer.

Ghazarian, of Westlake Village, is a partner at Kayne Anderson Capital Advisors LP. His philanthropic passion lies with local veterans. He sits on the Advisory Council of the Ventura County Veterans Fund at VCCF and on the board of the Gold Coast Veterans Foundation. He also volunteers with UCLA Operation Mend, which provides wounded service members access to the nation’s top plastic and reconstructive surgeons.

Reiter Affiliated Companies builds strong communities for their farmworker employees who face tremendous barriers to success. Reiter Brothers Growers have two funds at VCCF: the Reiter Brothers Inc. Foundation Fund, to give back to the neighborhoods where their workers live; and the Reiter Affiliated Companies Destino Fund, to support the work of Destino: The Hispanic Legacy Fund at VCCF.

Leonard, of Camarillo, is known for developing the Camarillo Premium Outlets in the 1990s. He also owns and operates a Christmas product manufacturing operation with distribution centers across the nation and another in Paris. Along with his nine-year tenure on the VCCF Board of Directors, Leonard has served on the boards of Pleasant Valley Hospital, Interface Children & Family Services, Ventura County Parks and Harbor Commission, United Way of Ventura County and the California Agriculture Leadership Associates.

The Greenwoods, of Ventura, are involved in numerous veterans’ advocacy and community organizations, including Association of Service Disabled Veterans and California Disabled Veteran Owned Business Alliance. Their own company, Global Energy and Technology Inc., was the first to be honored with the John K. Lopez Excellence in Entrepreneurship Award by the California Department of Veterans Affairs. The Greenwoods founded and serve on the Board of the Gold Coast Veterans Foundation where Ron, a combat decorated, combat wounded Vietnam veteran, is the chairman. GCVF just opened its Veterans Service Center inside the VCCF Nonprofit Center in January 2013 to provide services to all returning military and veterans.

Interface Children & Family Services works to prevent and heal the effects of child abuse, neglect and abandonment, domestic violence, family conflict and mental-health issues. Interface also operates the 2-1-1 Information and Referral Service, a 24-hour helpline for health and humans services support.

The Community Leadership Awards, which are open to the public, will take place at 11:30 a.m. Thursday, April 24, at the Crowne Plaza Ventura Beach, 450 E. Harbor Blvd., Ventura. Tickets are $65 each or a table of eight for $520. All proceeds go to the Mary Schwabauer Leadership Fund, created in honor of VCCF’s fourth board chair, to support VCCF operations.