Whether it's establishing neighborhood holiday traditions or boosting educational programs to make them more inclusive, the volunteer efforts of this year's seven Avenidas Lifetimes of Achievement honorees helped make our neighborhoods and communities more welcoming places to live.
For the better part of three-plus decades, Gary and Jeff Dunker, Annette Glanckopf, Barbara Gross, LaDoris Hazzard Cordell and Judy and George Marcus have given their time and energy to improve the lives of those in their communities and beyond.
These volunteers have served on — and in many cases have helped launch — neighborhood associations, community boards and educational foundations and as heads of nonprofits. Along with their many other hands-on efforts, they've distributed meals, worked behind the scenes prepping for and cleaning up after public events, assisted children with homework and provided space for nonprofits to meet.
To honor them, the senior-serving nonprofit Avenidas and the Palo Alto Weekly will host a special garden party at a local home on Sunday, May 15. Tickets for this public event are $85, with proceeds benefiting Avenidas' programs for older adults throughout the area. Tickets include appetizers, wine and music.
For tickets and more information, go to avenidas.org.
Read on for profiles of each honoree:
Gary and Jeff Dunker have dedicated years to enriching the lives of those young and old. Gary, a longtime Palo Alto elementary school teacher, launched a food distribution program similar to Meals on Wheels for families at Duveneck Elementary School and, after retiring, volunteered for more than five years in after-school homework programs at schools in Palo Alto and East Palo Alto. Jeff, a lifelong athlete who was named All-American Track and Field in shot put at Cal Poly in 1969, spent his early career teaching physical education to local children through the Palo Alto school district's Enrichment Team.
Together, Jeff and Gary volunteer at Trinity Church in Menlo Park, where Gary serves as commission chair of the monthly luncheon series and Jeff assists with the event.
Annette Glanckopf has spent decades bringing together neighbors and neighborhoods throughout Palo Alto. As chairperson of the Midtown Residents Association, she was instrumental in restoring Scott Meadows in Greer Park, installing five public art projects in the neighborhood and reviving the Midtown Shopping District by pushing for ground-floor retail.
Glanckopf co-founded Palo Alto Neighborhoods (PAN), a networking organization that connects neighbors and neighborhoods.
Barbara Gross, a longtime resident of Portola Valley, has used her business ventures to support local nonprofits.
While general manager of the Garden Court Hotel for 15 years, she hosted numerous charitable events at the Palo Alto venue.
She has been an instrumental member of the Palo Alto Chamber of Commerce, serving on the group's board of directors, government action council and downtown marketing committee.
She helped form the Palo Alto Downtown Business and Professional Association and was among those who orchestrated the formation of a public-private partnership between the association and city to renovate Lytton Plaza.
LaDoris Hazzard Cordell has spent much of her life creating change: She was the first lawyer to open a private law practice in East Palo Alto and in 1982, she became the first African American female judge in northern California. She was later elected to the Superior Court of Santa Clara County.
After serving 19 years, Cordell retired from the bench and joined Stanford University as vice provost and special counselor to the president for campus relations.
Judy and George Marcus, co-owners of Kokkari Restaurant in San Francisco and Evvia in Palo Alto, are known for their decades of civic and philanthropic work, which has impacted everything from health and education to the arts. They have volunteered at various organizations together and independently over the past five decades.
Together, the Los Altos Hills duo established the International Center for the Arts at San Francisco State University and contributed $25 million — the largest donation to the university ever — to establish the George and Judy Marcus Hall for the Liberal and Creative Arts and the new home for the Broadcast and Electronic Communication Arts program in 2018.