Recipients of the monthly North Bay Spirit Awards 2020
The North Bay Spirit award was developed in partnership with The Press Democrat and Comcast NBCU to celebrate people who make a difference in our communities. In addition to highlighting remarkable individuals, the North Bay Spirit program aims to encourage volunteerism, raise visibility of nonprofits and create a spirit of giving. You will find stories and videos about the recipients below.
Previous Recipients: 2019
January: Keri Vellis - foster mother, nonprofit leader, children's advocate
Foster parent for 20 children over the last seven years
As a foster parent, Keri Vellis has wanted nothing more than to comfort them. She provided a loving home and safe place for kids who didn't have those things. With her husband Ted, she adopted three foster children. But Vellis felt she could do more. More here.
February: Kelley Holly - Animal advocate, equestrian
The longtime equestrian cares for and trains abused and neglected horses
Kelley Holly has spent the past 40 years training young people in the sport of horse vaulting. She created a nonprofit organization to share her love of the sport, and rehabilitates abused and neglected horses. More here.
March: Kaarin Lee - F.I.S.H. food pantry director, volunteer
The volunteer F.I.S.H. food pantry executive director is determined to ensure people have enough food
Kaarin Lee has dedicated her time and effort to running the F.I.S.H. Food Pantry in Santa Rosa and recently coordinated the pantry's move to a larger location. More here.
April: Bruce Mentzer - Farm to Fight Hunger founder
Healdsburg resident Bruce Mentzer and his partner, Anthony Solar, grow vegetables and raise chickens to feed the hungry
Bruce Mentzer gives all of the produce and eggs he produces on his Healdsburg farm to local nonprofits, including the Redwood Empire Food Bank. More here.
May: Duane Ledward - Dogma Animal Rescue founder
Duane Ledward rescues dogs who are pregnant, have broken bones or birth defects
Duane Ledward is dedicated to rescuing dogs facing medical issues and finding them safe, happy homes. More here.
June: Letitia Hanke - ARS Roofing CEO, The LIME Foundation founder
Letitia Hanke helps minority youth build confidence, find careers in construction
Letitia Hanke, who rebranded her company as an as an African American female-owned business, founded The LIME Foundation to serve disadvantaged communities. More here.
July: Stephanie and Robert Bisordi - Lunches for Lifesavers founders
The Fulton couple purchases meals from local restaurants to feed Sutter hospital workers
Stephanie and Robert Bisordi started Lunches for Lifesavers to feed frontline workers at Sutter Santa Rosa Hospital. With money from donations, they buy the meals from local restaurants. More here.
August: Chris Brokate - Clean River Alliance founder
Chris Brokate works tirelessly for clean water, less trash in Russian River
Chris Brokate has helped clean more than a million pounds of trash from the Russian River since founding the Clean River Alliance five years ago. He’s also created a program that picks up trash from the homeless. More here.
September: Melita Love - Farm to Pantry founder
Melita Love founded an organization providing locals in need with fresh produce
In 2008, Melita Love founded Farm to Pantry, which gleans produce from local farms and donates them to organizations and families in need. More here.
October : Maite Iturri - cofounder of Comida Para Todos
Maite Iturri is a leader for social justice and a voice for Latinos in Sonoma Valley.
Local school principal Iturri started an effort (Comida para Todos) to help Latino families struggling economically in the pandemic get supplemental food, among her other causes. More here.
November: Isabel Lopez - founder of Raizes Collective
Isabel Lopez founded Raizes Collective in 2015 to empower local Latinos through art. Since then, she’s organized nearly 80 local events for families and students. More here.
December: Tory and Jesse Crowder - Operation Christmas Tree
Tory and Jesse Crowder donated hundreds of Christmas trees to families who otherwise couldn’t afford them. More here.