The 2011 James Irvine Foundation Leadership Awards Honor Five Californians Breaking Through on Difficult State Issues

Five $125,000 Awards to Support Innovative Approaches to Improving the Lives of Homeless Families, Injured Farm Workers, Low-income Seniors, Terminally Ill Patients, and Combat Veterans and their Families

Elected Officials to Honor Recipients at Sacramento Event

Mar 03, 2011, 12:00 ET from The James Irvine Foundation

SACRAMENTO, Calif., March 3, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Five Californians will receive the 2011 James Irvine Foundation Leadership Awards today for successfully addressing some of the state's most difficult problems. Now in its sixth year, the award program celebrates extraordinary leaders who are applying innovative and effective solutions to significant state issues. The awards aim to publicize proven solutions that can inform policymaking and better the lives of more Californians.

The five recipients, described below, will each receive $125,000 in organizational support. Following recognition by legislators on the floor of the California Assembly, recipients will receive their awards today from elected officials at an event at the Sheraton Grand Hotel in Sacramento.

Award Recipient


Dr. Judith Broder, The Soldiers Project, Los Angeles

Assemblyman Paul Cook (Chair of the Assembly Veterans Affairs Committee)

Tim Carpenter, EngAGE, Burbank

California Assemblymember Norma J. Torres (Chair of the Assembly Housing and Community Development Committee)

Dr. Steven Pantilat, UCSF Palliative Care Program, San Francisco

California Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones

Dori Rose Inda, Agricultural Workers' Access to Health Project, Watsonville

California Assemblymember Luis A. Alejo (Vice Chair of the Assembly Committee on Local Government)

Martha Ryan, Homeless Prenatal Program, San Francisco

California Senator Carol Liu (Chair of the Senate Human Services Committee)

"These leaders have successfully developed and implemented solutions to some of California's most challenging problems, at a time when the state is hungry for proven solutions," said Jim Canales, president and CEO of the Irvine Foundation. "They deserve both our recognition and the support needed to expand and replicate their models."

For more information on this year's recipients — including videos, longer summaries and photographs — visit:

Nominations for the 2012 awards — which include $125,000, plus assistance sharing program models with policymakers and others — are open until Friday, April 29, 2011. Submit nominations at:

Recipients of the 2011 James Irvine Foundation Leadership Award are:

Dr. Judith Broder, The Soldiers Project, Los Angeles

Six years ago, at age 64, Judith Broder was cutting back on her clinical psychiatry practice, with plans to retire. But after seeing a veterans group's memorial to soldiers killed in Iraq and Afghanistan, Dr. Broder instead began a pioneering nonprofit that provides free mental health care for veterans and their family members (married or not) for as long as they need it. The Soldiers Project has grown into a network of 700 volunteer mental health professionals who have provided 10,000 hours of care to 900 veterans in six California counties — and four other states. Working collaboratively with the military to reach out to veterans in need, Dr. Broder's organization also provides counseling to the family members and partners of the soldiers, who are often unprepared for the challenges their loved ones face on their return from war. California is now home to some 160,000 recent veterans, and this population will increase as nearly 150,000 soldiers return home nationwide from Iraq and Afghanistan by January 2012.

Tim Carpenter, EngAGE, Burbank

As Californians age, the toll on state finances could be enormous. California's population of 3.4 million people over age 65 is expected to double in the next 15 years. Keeping them healthy and independent longer not only improves their quality of life but also saves them, their families and government health care programs the cost of more expensive long-term care. Tim Carpenter's unique nonprofit has helped thousands of retirees lead healthier lives by providing stimulating arts, wellness and community-building programs at 20 low-cost, senior housing sites in Southern California. EngAGE's college-style classes engage residents in writing workshops, sculpture seminars and cooking classes, among other topics. Research shows that such creativity contributes to health later in life, and EngAGE participants typically report that their health is improving, not declining. (A study found that the program achieved a 25-percent reduction in seniors requiring higher levels of care.) A key innovation is EngAGE's self-sustaining business model; most revenue comes from housing developers. Developer plans must include social service programs to qualify for federal tax credits, and EngAGE's high-quality offerings provide a competitive edge. With 1,000 people on its waiting list, EngAGE plans to add three to five new sites each year.

Dr. Steven Pantilat, UCSF Palliative Care Program, San Francisco

In medical school, Steven Pantilat was shaken to see doctors give repeated blood transfusions to a mother dying of leukemia, rather than give her the truth and the choice of spending her last days at home with her two-year-old daughter. More than half of all Americans who die each year do so in hospitals, often enduring painful, costly and unwanted procedures. For 12 years, Dr. Pantilat has championed palliative care, which aims to restore realism to doctor-patient relations and relieve suffering. Rather than focusing on a disease that needs treatment, palliative care focuses on the needs of the person and giving them high-quality, individual care that is in line with what they want. By training teams of doctors, nurses, chaplains and social workers in hospitals around the country, Dr. Pantilat has helped to make this approach available to as many as 35,000 patients and families a year. Recent studies show that palliative care patients are less depressed, more satisfied with their care and even live up to 25 percent longer than patients who receive only more traditional care. And care consistent with patient/family desires can reduce useless interventions and save thousands of dollars per patient. Even so, fewer than four in 10 California hospitals offer palliative care.

Dori Rose Inda, Agricultural Workers' Access to Health Project, Watsonville

Farm workers arrive at Dori Rose Inda's legal-aid office with heart-wrenching injuries: a hand amputated by a lawn mower, a back broken falling from a tree. These workers who grow fresh food for California tables endure grueling conditions and a high risk of accidents from machinery and pesticides. California law guarantees all injured employees medical care and financial support through the workers' compensation system. Yet many of the most vulnerable laborers lack access to the state-required care. Rose Inda, a social worker turned attorney, began a project in 2002 to provide outreach, education, medical treatment and legal services to agricultural and low-wage workers — and to improve their access to the care and financial assistance that employers legally must provide. Nearly 900 workers have benefited so far in Monterey, Santa Cruz and San Benito counties. Rose Inda has also collaborated with Kaiser Permanente to transform a Watsonville community clinic, Salud Para La Gente, into a workers' compensation provider. Replicating this model throughout California could save taxpayers $100 million a year by shifting the cost of clinics treating injured workers from government coffers to the employer-funded workers' compensation program.

Martha Ryan, Homeless Prenatal Program, San Francisco

When Martha Ryan returned from working as a nurse in East Africa refugee camps, she was shocked by the poverty at home in San Francisco, especially among pregnant women and children living on the streets. In 1989, she founded the Homeless Prenatal Program to help women overcome poverty, addiction and homelessness, creating an innovative social services center in the process. In the past four years, Ryan's staff has helped 2,062 families find housing, sparing city and state agencies millions of dollars that would otherwise go to costly alternatives (e.g., shelters and jail). Ryan spends less than $5,000 on average to get families off the streets. Over 90 percent of her high-risk pregnant clients deliver healthy babies, exceeding the national average for all births, which means greater well-being for families and savings for taxpayer. Job training is key, and Ryan often hires former clients herself (they make up more than half of her 64 employees). The program's mental-health counseling and other services also helped 3,600 families last year.

About The James Irvine Foundation

The James Irvine Foundation is a private, nonprofit grantmaking foundation dedicated to expanding opportunity for the people of California to participate in a vibrant, successful and inclusive society. The Foundation's grantmaking focuses on three program areas: Arts, California Democracy and Youth. Since 1937 the Foundation has provided over $1 billion in grants to more than 3,000 nonprofit organizations throughout California. With $1.5 billion in assets, the Foundation made grants of $65 million in 2010 for the people of California.

Contact: Liam O'Donoghue, 415.901.0111 ext. 341,

SOURCE The James Irvine Foundation