Each year, Serendipity honors those individuals and corporations whose efforts have enhanced Serendipity’s capacity to educate and nurture our children. Jeri Hamilton was presented with the first award in 2008. It has become tradition to conclude Serendipity’s annual event, Pearls of Hope, by honoring new extraordinary volunteers with an award presented in Jeri’s name.
Jeff Austin (2016)
For over 20 years Jeff Austin has dedicated himself to the mission of Serendipity Center. He has been a valued leader and visionary since he first began serving as our education attorney while he was a partner at Miller Nash Graham & Dunn, LLP. In 2015-2016 Jeff chaired Serendipity’s board of directors, one of his many positions of influence he has held during the course of his tenure. He will be stepping down as chair at the end of the 2016 school year. Jeff leaves behind a legacy of unmatched generosity and service to Serendipity.
Golnaz Armin (2016)
Golnaz Armin is an outstanding example of an individual who has made the advancement of Serendipity’s mission a personal priority. As a Nike material design lead Golnaz has continuously raised awareness for Serendipity among her colleagues and friends. She has also supported our students for years by providing apparel to those in need and through her generous contributions to Serendipity Center.
Capitol One Employees (2015)
For many years the employees of Capital One have assumed the responsibility of providing backpacks fully loaded with school supplies and every requested holiday gift. Representatives of this group secured corporate donations through winning volunteer essays and have labored for over 450 hours to build beds and pathways in the Growing Minds Garden. These men and woman have accepted Serendipity’s children and the organization’s mission; they are without doubt extraordinary volunteers.
Tom Trussell, MediaWorks (2015)
MediaWorks Visual Communication has created all internal and external branding for Serendipity for the past 15 years. Tom Trussell, owner and creative director of MediaWorks has opened his heart to this school and has made available to us a level of professionalism and graphic design unattainable without his generosity. He has helped us build credibility with our stakeholders and more importantly, helped us define our values and our identity to ourselves.
Chet Gregory, posthumously awarded (2015)
Serendipity’s founding board of directors was made up largely of parents who had experienced transformation in the lives of their children at Serendipity Center and were committed to extending this help to other families. One such board member, Chet Gregory, believed so much in the transformative power of Serendipity that he mortgaged his home to fund the initial year of expenses. Chet’s widow and long-term board member Kathey Gregory accepted this award posthumously in a long overdue public thank you.
Walsh Construction Co. (2014)
In 2006, we asked for a meeting with a representative of Walsh Construction, having heard from other nonprofits that Walsh Construction was a valuable partner. We had no plans and no committed funds, but announced we were going to renovate our campus. At not one point, from then and through today, did Walsh Construction ever deliver anything other than partnership. In addition to being skilled planners and builders, they have taught us about the care and the future possibilities for our space. They have rolled with numerous change orders, only deflecting a few, and somehow find a way for our budget to balance at the end of day. They respond to every request, are the first phone call when there’s a problem to solve, and have become valued and extraordinary friends.
Amy Blake (2014)
In addition to filling the role of our property/casualty insurance broker at Brown & Brown for most of the last 12 years, Amy is also a powerful ambassador for the children and mission of Serendipity. Amy chairs the holiday giving efforts each year, within and beyond her company. She personally ensures that our students receive gifts and that our families in need are provided food and utility assistance over the Winter Break. She tells Serendipity’s story whenever possible and has advocated for Serendipity as the recipient of support from other organizations within the insurance field. She is an annual donor, giving financial support as well as food and gifts. We have been grateful for her friendship for as long as we’ve known her and have come to depend on her extraordinary acts of charity and compassion.
Rick Levine (2014)
In 1999, Serendipity made the decision to invite support from our community. We met several consultants, but ultimately found our comfort and rhythm with one. Rick Levine took Serendipity under his wing and began writing grants to fund projects, capacity enhancement, and growth. He both understood and believed in our mission from the beginning. Rick introduced us to foundation trustees and directors, using the considerable respect he’d garnered in the philanthropic community to create a seat at the table for Serendipity. His endorsement opened door after door. Upon his retirement, Rick continued to lead Serendipity’s efforts a volunteer. His grant writing has resulted in almost $3,000,000 invested in the potential of our young people. We continue to depend on his strategic thinking and his wisdom, and acknowledge the profound and permanent impact he’s had on Serendipity.
Harper Houf Peterson Righellis, Inc. (2013)
Harper Houf Peterson Righellis is a firm of civil and structural engineers. One of their engineers, Kim Shera, joined Serendipity’s Capital Projects Steering Committee, and with the input of other HHPR engineers, has skillfully assisted us with land surveys, campus planning, and issues related to storm water management. Kim and her associates at Harper Houf completed the construction documents for the Covered Play Area constructed in 2013. HHPR offers conference space for the monthly meetings of Serendipity’s Capital Committee. Almost $31,000 of pro bono services were delivered by Harper Houf just in the year this award was presented, and we find this level of generosity extraordinary.