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Sharon Owens of Southwest Community Center Awarded “The Kathy”

At a ceremony on November 5 at the Rosamond Gifford Zoo at Burnet Park, Gifford Foundation board president Larry Bousquet and Allyn Foundation board member Eric Allyn announced the recipient of the 2015 Kathy Goldfarb-Findling Leadership Award, jointly awarded by the two Foundations. Sharon Owens, executive director of Southwest Community Center, is the 2015 recipient of “The Kathy,” which is awarded to nonprofit leaders who are creative, collaborative and embrace change. Named in honor of the late executive director of Gifford, who also served as director of strategic initiatives at the Allyn Foundation, the award provides a $3,000 honorarium for the recipient’s personal use – whether for professional development or
personal growth opportunities.

The Kathy award was created in 2011 at the time of Ms. Goldfarb-Findling’s retirement to recognize her special approach to leadership: to be nimble and creative; to encourage lifelong learning; to embrace leaps of faith and not fear failure; to work “with” not do “for”; to fully engage in collaborative approaches and to at all times believe passionately in the power of change and personal growth. Previous recipients of “The Kathy” are Catholic Charities executive director Michael Melara (2011), Mary Ellen Clausen, founding director of Ophelia’s Place (2012), Randi Bregman of Vera House and Mary Beth Frey of Samaritan Center (both 2013) and Kerry Quaglia of Home HeadQuarters (2014).

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Last year’s honoree, Kerry Quaglia, nominated this year’s recipient, Sharon Owens.

A selection team made up of Gifford and Allyn staff, current and former board members, and a previous Kathy recipient reviewed the fifteen nominations that were received for this honor.

The 2015 nominees for the Kathy Award were
Roko Sherry Chayat                   Zen Center
Michael Crinnin                          ACR Health
Richard Ford                              Signature Music
Franklin Fry                                American Heart Association
Barb Lamphere                          New York Rural Advocates
Tom McKeown                           Arise
Sharon Owens                          Southwest Community Center
Ray Rinaldi                     North & West Area Athletic & Education Centers
Kate Rolf                                   VNA HomeCare
Kathleen Stress                         Food Bank
Stephen Svoboda                      Red House Arts Center
Diane Turner                              Interfaith Housing CDC
Joe Vargo                                  Partners for Education and Business
Prudence York                           AccessCNY
Fred Zimmerman                       Whose Highway Is it Anyway?

Sharon Owens of Southwest Community Center, 2015 "The Kathy" honoree.

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