Girls to Women Executive Director and former East Palo Alto Mayor Patricia Foster has been named the 2016 Woman of the Year for the 24th Assembly District, Assemblyman Rich Gordon announced in a statement on March 10.
"Through her tireless work, Pat Foster has helped empower the East Palo Alto community and vulnerable and marginalized individuals," Gordon said in a press release. "Foster knows the needs of girls from low-income families and has transformed that awareness into Girls to Women, a critical after-school program to give girls critical academic and personal support."
Girls to Women caters to girls ages 6 to 14 years and their families, offering homework assistance, mentoring, science and technology education, extracurricular activities and referrals to social services. (Read more about Girls to Women here.)
Prior to founding the East Palo Alto organization, Foster served two terms as mayor for the City of East Palo Alto. During her term, she led negotiations resulting in major commercial development and local employment commitments from developers and corporate entities for residents, according to the press release.
Foster said she was "delighted, honored and humbled to be selected as Woman of the Year," but she did not do it alone.
"People all around me are doing great work, and this award brings more attention to our efforts to empower girls," she said.
The Women of the Year award, which is organized and sponsored by the Women's Caucus, was started in 1987 to recognize remarkable women throughout California. In March (which is also Women's History Month), assembly members nominate one woman to be honored for each assembly district, for a total of 80 from the state.