By Laura Ramos, Community Engagement Associate

A few weeks ago CVCF took our donors and their families out to the ball game for our Donor Appreciation Party at Chukchansi Park! Every year we host this event to celebrate our hard work over the last 12 months, to give insight into what you can expect over the next 12 months, and to honor all of the organizations and individuals who have directly impacted the transformation of our community.

Parker and a few guests at the our CVCF Donor Appreciation Party.

 We had a welcome from Derek Franks, President of the Fresno Grizzlies, who shared about the new improvements within the park providing a family-friendly experience. The Grizzlies have been an active member in our community with their ongoing commitment to over 100 area nonprofits by hosting activities at the ballpark. At the beginning of 2019 the Grizzles also decided to open a fund with CVCF to support their ongoing charitable activities. It was also a great night for the Fresno Tacos who beat the Omaha Storm Chasers 8 to 0!

Derek Franks, President of the Fresno Grizzlies welcoming guests. 

CVCF has been around for the last 52 years. Many may know us for our philanthropy management work. Although, we are proud of the donations and grants we’ve been able to award, in 2016 CVCF’s board decided to add a second tier to our mission—excellence in regional leadership and a commitment to effective philanthropy. What that means is that we want to do more than deploy philanthropic dollars. We want to make sure that those philanthropic dollars are an investment in our community. And, like any investment, we want to see it grow and create a positive impact.

Rod Thornton, Vice President of the CVCF Board shared about one of the biggest and more ambitious initiatives we’ll be taking shape this Summer. Developing Regional Inclusiveness for a Vibrant Economy (DRIVE) is a project we as the, Central Valley Community Foundation, feel aligns with our position as effective philanthropists. Momentum has been picking up from over 100 community leaders in the public, private and nonprofit sector. Essentially the project is a blueprint or business plan to create prosperity in the Central Valley. (Keep a look out for a blog post explaining further on DRIVE).

Rod Thornton, Vice Chair, CVCF Board

Although CVCF has big plans for the future of our region, we also cannot forget those who have dedicated their life’s work to bettering our community. We’ve made it a tradition to recognize individuals through our Founders’ Award and Lifetime Achievement Award. This year, we were proud to present our Founders’ Award to Dr. Morton G. Rosenstein and the Lifetime Achievement Award to Francine and Murray Farber.

Dr. Morton G. Rosenstein practiced medicine in Fresno for nearly 40 years. As an OBGYN, he delivered generations of Fresnans and provided guidance and care to families welcoming new babies into their lives. He was a graduate of Fresno State College and USC, he loved being a doctor. As a respected member of the medical community, he served as Medical Staff President at both Valley Medical Center and St. Agnes Medical Center, and he was the National Accountant, Board Member, and three-time World Team Doctor for the US Figure Skating Association. 

Dr. Rosenstein was just as committed to his community as he was to his patients. Always willing to help anyone, he dedicated himself to Focus Forward, supporting youth in the justice and child welfare systems. He was also a dedicated supporter of Exceptional Parents Unlimited, an organization that strengthens and empowers families facing extraordinary challenges.

He was also the Board President at the Central Valley Community Foundation (then the Fresno Regional Foundation). He provided great leadership, vision, and guidance during a time of transition and growth. He led my example, believing in the power of charity and service. And he never wavered in his support for those who needed it most, especially children.

Dr. Rosenstein passed away in September of 2018. Donna Rosenstein, his wife, was present to accept the award. We are grateful for his influence that has made our community better, stronger, and kinder.

Right to left: Ashley Swearengin, CEO and President of CVCF and Donna Rosenstein, wife to Dr. Morton G. Rosenstein

Our Lifetime Achievement Award was presented to Francine and Murray Farber. After the passing of their son, Steven Farber in 2001, who was a successful businessman and entrepreneur, and dedicated his career to establishing successful corporations. He valued hard work, education, and philanthropy and he lived in service of those ideals every day.

Francine and Murray established Steve’s Scholars Program at CVCF in his memory. The scholarship assists students of Tehipite Middle School, where the average family’s income is around $18,000. The scholarships are meant to “level the playing field” for kids who are working hard to realize their dreams. In the first two years, Steve’s Scholars has provided 61 students with a combined $119,000 in scholarship funds. And, in keeping with Steve’s commitment to public service, students have also completed nearly 3,000 community service hours.

The Farber’s have continued to find other ways to give back to the community: They have funded “Fifth Grade on Broadway” to provide 6,000 Fresno Unified fifth-graders with an opportunity to see a professional theatre production; they have funded a summer school program to expose elementary school children to playwriting, drama, stagecraft, and costuming; and they have helped students take college tours, visit the Museum of Tolerance in Los Angeles, and attend plays at Roger Rocka’s.

CVCF is proud to award the Lifetime Achievement Award for your continued dedication to expose Fresno students to art and culture, and all the of the possibilities that the world holds for their future.

Right to left: Ashley Swearengin, Francine Farber and Murray Farber

Part of Tuesday’s celebration was revealing our annual report and the photo cover. This year we invited photographers from the Central Valley to submit photos that best depicted this year’s theme of community connectedness and how our lives intersect with local technology, art, or place. With over 40 submissions, our photo contest winner is Khon Saysamongdy, a 25-year-old from Fresno whose photo was taken at Sentinel Meadows View in Mariposa County, entitled, “Fall in Love and Get Lost.” Congratulations, again Khon and thank you for sharing your talents with our community!

Khon Saysamongdy (center in white) CVCF 2018 Annual Report Photo Contest Winner

The 2019 Annual Report highlights all the monumental and pivotal moments of the last 12 months. If you would like to view the digital version of our annual report, click here.

All photos were taken by photographer, Aly Honore