- Felicia Matlosz
SACRAMENTO, CA – Assemblymember Dr. Joaquin Arambula (D-Fresno) today announced he has selected the Leadership Counsel for Justice and Accountability as the 2021 Nonprofit of Year for the 31st District.
Assemblymember Arambula cited the Leadership Counsel’s tenacious advocacy for disadvantaged communities that struggle to access to safe drinking water, clean air, affordable housing, parks and other basic, humane services. In addition, Assemblymember Arambula said the organization crisis stepped up to help poor communities in Fresno County attain much-needed support during the COVID-19 crisis, including cash assistance, personal protective equipment (PPE) for farmworkers, food distributions, and COVID-19 vaccines.
“The Leadership Counsel is a tireless advocate for equity for families and individuals in our low-income, rural areas,” Arambula said. “The organization’s efforts during the COVID-19 emergency were especially vital in reaching people who historically have been underserved and excluded while, during this pandemic, have been the most vulnerable to economic hardship, sickness, and death.”
Veronica Garibay, co-founder and co-director of the Fresno-based Leadership Counsel with Phoebe Seaton, said of the honor: “This recognition is a testament to the power, fearlessness, and resilience of District 31 communities and neighborhoods. We are grateful for the privilege and opportunity to work alongside fierce leaders whose commitment to building one just California is unmatched.”
Started in 2013, the Leadership Counsel for Justice and Accountability is a community-based advocacy organization that seeks to fundamentally shift the power dynamics of local, state and regional decisions with impacted residents at the forefront. The organization is committed to addressing inequity by working to develop grassroots community leaders in the San Joaquin Valley and Eastern Coachella Valley. It then partners with these community representatives to affect public policy.
In 2020, the organization was among the recipients selected for an annual James Irvine Foundation Leadership Award, which recognizes exemplary leaders whose “innovative solutions” to critical state challenges help improve lives and create opportunities that will lead to a better California. The honor also came with a $250,000 grant to support the organization’s work.
This is the sixth year of the California Nonprofit of the Year initiative. During the extreme uncertainty and suffering caused by the pandemic, nonprofits have continued to support communities as circumstances and needs change swiftly.
“Nonprofits are a community of stubborn optimists,” said Jan Masaoka, CEO of the California Association of Nonprofits (CalNonprofits). “Our belief that the world can be better – more equitable, more kind – is powerful. Honoring a California Nonprofit of the Year shows that elected officials recognize and celebrate the good work they see nonprofits doing in their districts.”