Mayors and Community Leaders Honor Local Heroes at Believe - United Way Bay Area
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Mayors and Community Leaders Honor Local Heroes at Believe

June 9, 2015


Thank you for attending Believe 2015, and thank you for your continued support of our work here in the Bay Area! The night was an inspiring and moving celebration of our community’s leaders, heroes and visionaries in the fight against Bay Area poverty.

On May 1, more than 300 philanthropists and community leaders, including San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee, Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf and former All-Pro Oakland Raider Nnamdi Asomugha, gathered at Terra Gallery for United Way of the Bay Area’s annual Believe Event. Kira Vilanova of Univision’s Al Despertar emceed the event, which celebrated three local heroes in the fight against Bay Area poverty.

The event’s theme was families, and all proceeds will directly support United Way’s programs, including its two-generation work to help parents and children get ahead and move entire families out of poverty.

United Way offers a variety of programs to help entire families get ahead and, ultimately, end the cycle of poverty in the Bay Area. United Way Community Schools, for example, bring together services like health care, food pantries, after-school programs and parent education classes all together on one school campus.

“We know that there are countless unsung heroes who are quietly, diligently working to improve the lives of others every day in the Bay Area. And we also know that true progress doesn’t happen with one organization or one individual alone,” said Anne Wilson, CEO, United Way of the Bay Area. “That’s why we bring together members of the private sector, community organizations and government agencies across the Bay Area to accomplish our poverty-cutting work.”

The highlight of the evening was the Believe Awards ceremony, giving special recognition to three individuals doing remarkable work to help struggling families in our community.

Jim Becker of Richmond Community Foundation was recognized for helping to implement neighborhood redevelopment programs in Richmond that have contributed to a 75 percent decline in violent crime.



Estelle Clemons of Oakland Community Action Partnership was honored for fostering partnerships across sectors that have helped Alameda County families to put food on the table, access health care and build wealth.



Mina Diaz of Diaz & Loera Centro Latino was celebrated for supporting at-risk youth and their families at a community center she launched in Vallejo.



Mayor Schaaf said a few words in honor of Dream Award winner Estelle Clemons at the event: “Estelle embodies the spirit of Oakland and the Bay Area—working tirelessly to make things better for more people, especially our most vulnerable individuals and families. In Oakland, we know that it’s only through the hard work and dedication of individuals like Estelle that we make progress in the fight to end poverty and move closer to achieving a more equitable and healthy community for us all.”

The evening concluded with Believe After Dark, an after party featuring drinks by Austin Cocktails, wine from OneHope and music from DJ Earl of Pandora.


Learn more about United Way of the Bay Area’s two-generation approach to cutting poverty.