Alison Cormack, John Barton, the Foundation for a College Education and Whole Foods Market were recognized as Palo Alto's 2012 Tall Tree Award recipients during an awards dinner Wednesday night, April 11, at the Crowne Plaza Hotel.
The awards, which are co-sponsored by the Palo Alto Chamber of Commerce and the Palo Alto Weekly, honor community service and outstanding civic contributions in four categories: citizen volunteer, professional business person, business and nonprofit organization.
Alison Cormack accepted the award for outstanding citizen for her successful leadership of the $76 million library bond measure campaign in 2008. She was also recognized for her current effort to raise $4 million in private funds to furnish the city's new and renovated libraries ($3.8 million has been raised for furnishings so far).
Cormack and other library supporters achieved a near-miracle by passing the bond measure with a 69.5 percent margin in spite of the global economic collapse just weeks before the November election.
Barton accepted his Tall Tree Award for outstanding professional for his contributions to the community as an architect and business person. He is director of Stanford University's Architectural Design Program and operates his own architectural firm.
Barton was a founder of the Community Working Group, the organization that proposed and built the Opportunity Center, which provides services to the homeless and people in transition and subsidizes housing for individuals and families. He was instrumental in the approval of the 49-unit very-low-income housing development now under construction at Alma Street and Homer Avenue.
Anna Warring, executive director for the Foundation for a College Education, accepted the Tall Tree Award on behalf of the nonprofit. The organization was honored for its work helping East Palo Alto-area students of color from high school through college with tutoring and other support.
Foundation for a College Education works with students and their parents to identify colleges that would be a good fit, prepare for major events such as the SAT, navigate the application process, attain financial aid and scholarships, and keep on track to graduate. Many of the students in the program attend Palo Alto high schools as part of the Voluntary Transfer Program.
East Palo Alto Mayor Laura Martinez, who went to Whittier College, is a graduate of the foundation's program.
Mike Folan, general manager of Whole Foods Market, accepted the Tall Tree Award for outstanding business for the company's extensive community programs including Nickels for Nonprofits, a program that raises around $9,600 each year, and Community 5 Percent Days, during which 5 percent of the day's net sales go to nonprofits, raising around $24,000 each year.
Whole Foods has been a supporter of the Downtown Streets Team, a nonprofit organization devoted to assisting the homeless and helps many nonprofits by donating catering for events.