City officials, community leaders and residents came together at City Hall Wednesday night to honor some of San Francisco's most dedicated volunteers.
The 5th annual Neighborhood Empowerment Network Awards recognized 12 organizations and volunteers who have worked hard at improving where they live in The City.
“For every person you see in City Hall working I guarantee there are two or three people who are working outside the building whose work is just as important,” NEN Director Daniel Homsey said. “They are the unsung folks out there. So this is our chance to let the people inside City Hall take a moment and point the light on them.”
Click on the photo to see the slideshow.
Award recipients were nominated by their peers on the NEN's website and the winners were chosen by a committee of city officials and citizens based on the nominee's contributions to their neighborhood over the past year. The 12 categories include Best Graffiti Watch Volunteer, Outstanding Park Volunteer, Best Merchant Association of the Year and a Lifetime Achievement Award (see full list of recipients below).
"Working with people over time you really get a sense of who cares about their work and whose really passionate about it," Wigg Party Leader Morgan Fitzgibbons said. His last three nominations for the Best Merchant Association of the Year have won the award.
Residents of the Portola neighborhood, dubbed "The best neighborhood you've never heard of," took five of the 12 awards including Comeback Neighborhood of the Year.
"We've been underserved forever. Its been great to get people on board with the Portola," Portola Garden Tour founder Ruth Wallace said. "We've been trying for years and years, been working hard and harder, and its finally paying off."
The NEN couldn't agree more.
"Tonight you saw the Portola neighborhood, which has been coming to a boil for years, and really this year hit critical mass. They deserve this attention," Homsey said.
Supervisors John Avalos, David Campos, Scott Wiener, Malia Cohen and London Breed along with Department of Public Works Director Mohammed Nuru and the San Francisco Recreation and Park Department general manager Phil Ginsburg were all in attendance to give out awards at the ceremony.
"I think its really important to recognize the work that residents do to make improvements to their neighborhoods, whether its small businesses or parks or public safety," District 11 Supervisor John Avalos said. "We want to show that we value the work that residents have done in making a better city."
NEN Award Winners:
Outstanding Park Volunteer Group:
Help McLaren Park
Best Merchant Association:
The Lower Haigh Merchant and Neighborhood Association
Best Graffiti Watch Volunteer:
Most Empowering City Employee:
Youth Neighborhood Leader:
Outstanding Neighborhood Watch Group:
Ney Street Neighborhood Watch
Best Green Community Project:
Portal Garden Tour
Exemplary NERT Leadership:
Best Community Challenge Grant Project:
Comeback Neighborhood of the Year:
NEN Lifetime Achievement Award:
Annette Young Smith
NEN Hall of Fame: