Fresno West Coalition for Economic Development
Previous Risk Taker Dream Maker Honorees
2008 Presidents Award
JESSIE D. ANDREWS
? Jessie D. Andrews is a 17 year old senior attending Thomas Edison High School. Jessie is actively
involved in The Know Youth Media, a youth organization designed to give young people a voice
in their community through videos, creative writing and journalism.
? He has been the product of many leadership programs such as CATAPULT and has worked with
Fresno West Coalition and the City of Fresno on the California Ave Project.
2008 Non-Profit Award
THE CALIFORNIA ENDOWMENT
? The California Endowment was established in 1996 as a private, statewide health foundation by
Blue Cross of California.
? The Endowment believes that health care is a basic human right, and strives to understand and
work with California’s diverse and underserved populations.
? The Endowment has had an unwavering focus on expanding access to affordable, quality health
care for underserved individuals and communities.
2008 Fresno County Business Award
? Comcast’s California region serves more than 2.4 million customers with more than 7,000
employees from the local community.
? Comcast is committed to giving back to the communities it serves by spending more than a
million dollars each year in Central California on sponsorships, college scholarships, foundation
grants and other forms of support that help keep our neighborhoods strong.
2008 Southwest Fresno Business Award
? La’Vera Ethridge-Williams is a dedicated community leader and business woman who recognized
the need for childcare in West Fresno for infant’s age zero to two years.
? La’Vera’s major source of success in the childcare field comes from the families she has served
and the quality of care her centers have provided since 1968 and she continues to seek ways to
improve her business and its operations.
? Mrs. Williams is openly enthusiastic about her business adventures and has made childcare her
2008 Fresno County Community Leader Award
STEPHEN D. GEIL
? Mr. Geil currently serves as the President/CEO of the Economic Development Corporation (EDC)
that serves Fresno County.
? He also serves as the Chairman of the Board of, Geil Enterprises, Inc.
? Mr. Geil has served on the City and County of Fresno’s Crime Prevention Task Force, has been
the President of the Downtown Association of Fresno and on the Advisory Board for the Institute
for Family Business at California State University, Fresno.
2008 Southwest Fresno Community Leader Award
REV. FLOYD DOUGLAS HARRIS JR.
? Rev. Floyd D. Harris Jr. is known to many in the Southwest Fresno area as a, community and
political civil rights activist.
? From Rev. Harris’s experience with the City of Fresno concerning “Weed Abatement”, he
spearheaded a task force to revitalize the community he lives in by establishing the Walnut Garden
? Rev. Harris is dedicated to educating his people about standing boldly and knowing their rights.
2007 Southwest Fresno Community Leader Award
MARY A. CURRY
? Mrs. Curry has always focused on what unites parents- the provision of quality education and safe
? Currently Mrs. Curry is chair of Concerned Citizens of West Fresno, a committed group of
residents who are currently working with the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District,
concerning the Darling International rendering plant and with landowners and the community at
large that are affected.
2007 Fresno County Community Leader Award
? Vurdell Newsome is a retired educator for Fresno Unified School District.
? Mr. Newsome has contributed countless hours to shaping the future of Computech for all students.
? He has also served as Computech’s first principal.
2007 Southwest Fresno Business Award
THOMAS W. BEGGS
? Mr. Beggs has worked in Fresno and the surrounding community for many years.
? He is currently the President of Central Cities Properties, Inc. (CCP) in Fresno.
? CCP develops neighborhood shopping centers and single tenant “building to suit” properties
2007 Fresno County Business Award
VALLY SMALL BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION
? (VSBDC) was started in 1981 as a non-profit Financial and Business Development corporation
under contract with the State of California and other government agencies to administer small
business loan programs.
? Headquartered in Fresno, VSBDC serves a nine-county (Fresno, Madera, Mariposa, Merced, Kern,
Kings, Stanislaus, Tulare, and Tuolumne) investment area in California’s Central San Joaquin
? Additionally, VSBDC was certified as a Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) in
2007 Non-Profit Organization
JAMES H. FRANKLIN
? In October of 1993 Pastor Jim Franklin, his wife and their three children moved to Fresno to
accept the position as Senior Pastor at Cornerstone Church; under his leadership the church has
seen phenomenal growth; within thirteen years it has become one of the largest churches in the
Assemblies of God denomination, and in the city of Fresno.
? On March 11, 2005, Pastor Franklin was awarded the “Clergy of the Year” from the Fresno
Chapter or the NAACP.
? Cornerstone Church, under the direction of Pastor Franklin, is leading the way to the revitalization
of downtown Fresno, CA.
2007 President’s Award KEN QUENZER
? Ken has served on the Boys & Girls Clubs of Fresno County since 1982 and is currently the
President / Chief Professional Officer.
? He served in the Pinedale Boys Club from 1968-1982 as Unit Director.
2006 Southwest Fresno Community Leader Award
GEORGE A. FINLEY
? Mr. Finley has been giving back to the community as a member of the Fresno Housing Authority
Board of Directors, Limited Lions Club, Friends of Allensworth, Fresno EOC Executive
Committee, Cecil Hinton Center Board member and various West Fresno community
? Mr. Finley is also chair of the Edison II Merger /Southwest Fresno Planning Advisory Committee
to Fresno Councilmember Sterling, Where he participated in the development of the City’s 2025
2006 Fresno County Community Leader Award
JOHN L. CARBRAY
? In 1997, as president and founder of the Diamond Group, Carbray oversaw the purchase and
relocation of the Tucson-based Grizzlies to Fresno
? 2002 marked the grand opening of Grizzlies stadium, and the beginning of a great year; the
stadium was completely sold out on opening day and that year, averaged more than 8,000 people
(ranked third among sixteen league teams in attendance).
? Mr. Carbray has served on the Board of Fresno County Boys and Girls Club for twelve years and
is actively involved in the Fresno Rotary Club which culminated in 2006 as one of the key
coordinators of the $1 million revitalization of the West Fresno Boys & Girls Club.
2006 Non-Profit Organization
FRESNO COUNTY EOC-LOCAL CONSERVATION CORP. (LCC)
? EOC is widely recognized and is one of the largest nonprofit community action agencies in the
? The mission of the Fresno County Economic Opportunities Commission is “To humanely focus all
available resources to empower low-income families and individuals working toward the skills,
knowledge, and motivation for self-sufficiency.” “Helping People, Changing Lives” is more than
just a catchy phrase
2006 Fresno County Business Award
FRESNO COUNTY FEDERAL CREDIT UNION
? Six branches, ten ATMs, over one hundred fifty employees, and more than $425,000,000 in assets,
they have become one of the area’s leading Credit Unions.
? FWCED and FCFCU officially announced their partnership through the West Fresno Association
with the installation of FCFCU ATM at the Kearney Palms Shopping Center.
? The partnership has resulted in offering financial services to the residents of West Fresno who
previously never had access to a financial institution west of Freeway 99.
2006 Southwest Fresno Business Award
COUNTRY WIDE BUILDING MATERIALS
? The philosophy of never giving up and to think on a smaller scale has enabled Countrywide to
give the residents of west Fresno an opportunity to shop for home improvement items within their
own neighborhood for more than 28 years.
? Countrywide exemplifies success; not only through their own accomplishments but also through
the benefit to the community they have provided west Fresno over the years.
2006 President’s Award ASSEMBLY MEMBER JUAN ARAMBULA
2005 Individual, At-Large
HARLAN & SHIRLEY KELLY
? While working at PG&E, Mr. Kelly was instrumental in the formation of the PG&E Black
? He and his wife have influenced the hiring of over fifty (50) individuals in key management and
administrative positions in businesses and corporations in Fresno
? They were part of the organizational efforts to open the Kearney Palms Shopping Center where
they are now owners of Kelly’s Beauty Salon & Kelly’s Designer Barber Shop
? As community leaders, both sit on the Southwest/Edison II Merger Planning Advisory Committee
and have testified countless times before the Fresno Planning Commission and City & County
Board of Supervisors on behalf of West Fresno residents.
2005 Southwest Fresno Community Leader Award
S. BEN BENAVIDEZ
? Ben is President Emeritus of the Mexican American Political Association, a civil rights
organization with 88 chapters in California, Arizona and New Mexico.
? In his more than twenty-five years, he has been instrumental in empowering communities by way
? Through his efforts more than $1.2 trillion in Community Reinvestment Act funs have been
committed to communities in need across the country.
? As a board member of the Green Lining Institute, he played a major role in negotiation Bank of
America’s commitment of $750 billion for underserved communities in 2004. Ben also played a
large role in the investment of a total of $475 billion from both Washington Mutual and Citibank
for community investment.
2005 Southwest Fresno Business Award
MR. & MRS. GEORGE FINLEY
? they were the first African Americans to build a home, from the ground-up, in West Fresno
? They opened Marcus Center in 1968 with a pharmacy, a liquor store, J & C House of Records and
the U.S Social Security Administration as tenants.
? 2002, they opened the first minority-owned and operated national franchise in southwest Fresno
with Subway Sandwich.
2005 Fresno County Business Award
UNITED SECURITY BANK: DENNIS WOODS, CEO
? Dennis was the youngest of the original founders, he was elected to Chairman of the Board upon
their opening for business in 1987
? United Security Bank provided critical financing for the Kearney Palm Shopping Center, despite
others perception of the project being too risky.
? The investment of over $150 million has meant the development of a wide variety of projects that
ultimately serve the community of West Fresno. United Security Bank had embodied a statement
by Bill Blackman: “To accomplish great things, we must not only dream, but act.”
2005 Non-Profit Organization
CENTRAL CALIFORNIA LEGAL SERVICES
? The mission of Central California Legal Services is to advance justice and empower people
through education, outreach, and zealous representation in civil legal matters.
? Central California Legal Services (CCLS) is a non-profit law firm that provides free legal
assistance to low-income families and individuals in the counties of Fresno, Kings Mariposa
Merced, Tulare and Tuolumne
? The organization has been a catalyst for numerous groups to call for winning legislation to provide
basic rights and protections for the lowest paid and least protected workers in California
2005 President’s Award MAYOR ALAN AUTRY
2005 President’s Award COUNCIL MEMBER CYNTHIA STERLING