First-Ever Women of Courage Award Honors Young Women of Promise
Philanthropic Ventures Foundation celebrates the awardees of the inaugural Women of Courage Award announced this month.

The community initiative was inspired by the lifetime work of Congresswoman Jackie Speier (CA-14th District), to highlight and support outstanding young women in San Mateo County. The initiative is sponsored by Cynthia Schuman, a longtime Peninsula resident and noted artist, in honor of her friend Jackie Speier. The awardees have demonstrated the same energy, integrity, and determination shown by Congresswoman Jackie Speier throughout her nearly fifty years in public service.
"I imagined this award to honor my friend Jackie Speier, who in her roles as a mother, elected official, attorney, and congressional staffer has shown incredible resilience in overcoming tragedy and life threatening situations. Jackie is unafraid - she takes on powerful political issues with passion and integrity. As a role model for young women, Jackie offers a shining example of what is possible, even in the face of enormous challenges. This award is a way to encourage promising young women in San Mateo County to be motivated and inspired by our own local hero, Jackie."
The initiative acknowledges the courageous character and impactful community service of young women age 18-30 who live or work in San Mateo County. These young women demonstrate courage in their life choices and circumstances, make a significant contribution to others, and exemplify the characteristics of compassion, resilience and integrity in their professional and personal lives.

The $25,000 award is intended to celebrate the awardees' accomplishments and contributions, often in the face of enormous obstacles, and to encourage their service into the future.
The three 2020 Women of Courage Awardees are:
Felicia Lee-Cardenas

Felicia, 27, San Martin, works as a community services officer in San Mateo County. Overcoming a traumatic childhood, the loss of both parents and leaving home when she was 19, Felicia worked multiple jobs to complete her college education, earning a Bachelor of Science in Justice Studies from San Jose State. She is committed to helping underserved children in her community as a positive, engaged role model. As the first to attend college in her family of 7 siblings, she is determined to show what is possible.
Juliana Franco

Juliana, 28, San Bruno, is a nonprofit attorney specializing in pregnant and postpartum workers' rights, particularly those of farmworkers. She created a clinic for day laborers to help workers reclaim owed wages, and has been a tireless champion for the underserved. At the beginning of the COVID shutdown, she worked with colleagues to quickly assemble a free national legal hotline to help workers understand and secure their legal rights.

Noelia Corzo

Noelia, 30, Foster City, is a social worker for children and adults with developmental disabilities, twice-elected member and former President of the San Mateo-Foster City School District Board of Trustees, and a single mother of a 9 year old son. Noelia's work in the district where she grew up makes her eager to address unmet needs in the community. Her family emigrated from Guatemala, and she was the first in her family to attend college.

The awardees were part of an incredibly strong pool of applicants, including 7 additional Finalists:
  • Rebecca Hernandez - Program Director at LifeMoves
  • Cecilia Penaloza - Community Outreach Organizer at ALAS
Cocokind Impact Foundation's 2020 Winners
Through PVF, Cocokind Impact Foundation provides grants of $2,500 to $10,000 to female-identifying entrepreneurs in the health, wellness, and sustainability industries to create social impact through business.

The winners of Cocokind Impact Foundation's 2020 grant cycle are working to create sustainable body care, make shoes inclusive across the entire gender spectrum, alleviate endometriosis symptoms, and bring holistic wellness to the public. 
About the Editors
James Higa
James Higa, Executive Director, brings 28 years of executive experience from Silicon Valley, working with Steve Jobs to change the face of technology. He was at the birth of the personal computer revolution as a member of the original Macintosh team and was deeply involved in the creation of many products and services at Apple over 3 decades. He has a long history of public service as a board member of Stanford's Haas Center and in grassroots relief efforts.
Bill Somerville, Founder, has been in non-profit and philanthropic work for over 50 years. He was the director of a community foundation for 17 years, and in 1991, he founded Philanthropic Ventures Foundation. Bill has consulted at over 400 community foundations, on creative grantmaking and foundation operations. Bill is the author of Grassroots Philanthropy: Field Notes of a Maverick Grantmaker
About PVF
PVF is a demonstration foundation practicing unique forms of grantmaking and innovative philanthropy. Our primary interest is in the creative and significant use of the philanthropic dollar.
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