2019 Anthony Grassroots Prize Winners (Dual Winners)
Winnemem Wintu Tribal Chief Caleen Sisk
Since assuming leadership in 2000, Chief Sisk has focused on uplifting the cultural and religious traditions of the Winnemem Wintu Tribe, such as the revitalization of the Winnemem’s H’up Chonas (War Dance) and BaLas Chonas (Puberty Ceremony). In tandem, she advocates tirelessly for salmon restoration, the undamming of watersheds, and the basic human right to clean water. Chief Sisk is currently leading the Tribe’s resistance against the proposal to raise the Shasta Dam, and is an integral voice in the efforts to bring salmon home to the tribe’s sacred watersheds above the dam.
In Memoriam: Denny Larson
On March 6, 2019, we lost Denny Larson – a friend, a teacher, and a tireless partner in helping fenceline communities in California and across our shrinking planet demand environmental justice. For 35 years, Denny helped all of us understand how to integrate health data with community-driven advocacy to fight for the human right to breathe clean air. By pioneering a low-cost “bucket brigade” model that used simple hardware store equipment to take air samples, he taught community members how to unlock their power to advocate for environmental health. Denny helped local activists stop oil refinery pollution in Contra Costa County, Louisiana’s cancer alley, Puerto Rico, Mexico, South Africa, Spain, Ireland, Thailand, Philippines, India, and many other places. Click here for more information on Denny Larson.
2018 Anthony Grassroots Prize Winner
Chris Hwang is a tireless advocate for biking and walking. As the chair of Walk Oakland Bike Oakland, she has played a catalytic role in the development of this highly effective, volunteer-led organization that strives to improve neighborhood quality of life by making biking and walking easy, safe, and enjoyable for all Oakland residents. “Walk Oakland Bike Oakland has benefited from the critical support of the Rose Foundation, as have many grassroots advocacy groups. It is a tremendous honor to receive the Anthony Prize. This award is a reflection of the passion and desire for change of WOBO supporters and neighborhood leaders, upon whose trust and ideas I rely on to advocate for vibrant, livable, and sustainable communities. I thank the Foundation for recognizing our collective dreams,” said Chris.
2017 Anthony Grassroots Prize Winner
Based in Orleans, CA, Regina Chichizola dedicates her life to protecting the aquatic watersheds of California and the people who depend on them for their livelihood, especially the Tribes and commercial fishermen in the Klamath-Trinity Basin. She was an early leader in the effort to bring to down four outdated dams along the Klamath river that continue to damage the river’s health. In 2016, the movement succeeded in reaching a settlement with the dam operators, state and federal agencies and tribal nations for cooperative removal of the dams by 2020.
2016 Anthony Grassroots Prize Winner
The 2016 Anthony Grassroots Prize was awarded to WildPlaces, and organization that serves disadvantaged communities at the intersection of California’s great Central Valley and majestic Southern Sierra. The organization’s small, diverse team of staff and volunteers draws from their own deep spiritual connections to our land, water, and air to help thousands of students and community members protect the region’s precious resources.
2015 Anthony Grassroots Prize Winner
Committee for a Better Shafter
The 2015 Anthony Grassroots Prize was awarded to Committee for a Better Shafter, an organization in California’s Central Valley that provides access to healthy food for low-income families and mobilizes community members to take action on local environmental justice issues, including fracking. There are fracking wells in Shafter just yards away from a school playground and community garden. Click here for the 2015 Anthony Grassroots Prize Press Release.
2014 Anthony Grassroots Prize Winner
Marilyn Bardet, Benicians for a Safe and Healthy Community
The 2014 Anthony Grassroots Prize was awarded to Marilyn Bardet of Benicia for forming a new group, Benicians for a Safe and Healthy Community, and collaborating with other fenceline communities and national organizations like Natural Resources Defense Council, who nominated her for the Prize, to stop crude by rail in Benicia and the Bay Area. A California native, born and raised in San Mateo, Bardet has been an activist for social justice and against war since high school. Bardet embodies the unsung grassroots activist spirit for which the Prize was established, helping lead community efforts to protect Benicia residents from toxics and hazards for the past twenty years. She, along with fellow residents, has taken on David v. Goliath local challenges posed by big corporations including Koch Industries and the Valero Refinery – and won. In 1995, she led a successful local campaign to stop Koch Industries’ proposed petroleum coke storage and shipping terminal at the Port of Benicia and continues to support community efforts to shape a post-carbon Benicia. Bardet has designated the $1,000 prize money be awarded to Benicia Community Gardens, a grassroots non-profit of which she is the Board Chair. Benicia Community Gardens has established two community gardens, a local CSA program, and the first Benicia community orchard.
2013 Anthony Grassroots Prize Winner (Dual Winners):
Elisa Moberly, Catholic Charities Environmental Justice Committee
The 2013 Anthony Grassroots Prize for Individual Stewardship was awarded to Elisa Moberly of Stockton. Ms. Moberly was selected by the prize jury in recognition of her leadership with the Environmental Justice Committee for Catholic Charities, Diocese of Stockton. She works with schools and local parishes throughout the Stockton area to help them organize and promote e-waste recycling events, which raise needed funds for local community projects and support local recycling businesses that provide environmentally sound recycling of the toxic components in end-of-life TVs, computers and other electronic equipment, while keeping hazardous wastes out of the municipal trash stream. She is also active in guiding the Manteca Unified School District’s Leadership on Green Initiatives Committee (LOGIC).
Noting that Elisa Moberly’s day job involves managing recycling and municipal waste programs at the Solid Waste Division of San Joaquin County’s Public Works Department, Anthony Prize founder Juliette Anthony said, “Although Ms. Mobley’s professional work is contributing to a better environment, she devotes her personal time to working with students to help develop the next generation of environmental leaders. She inspires all of us to take the extra steps we need to take in order to become a more sustainable society.” $1,000 was donated to Catholic Charities in Ms. Moberly’s honor to support the Environmental Justice Committee. Elisa Moberly may be contacted directly at (209)468-3066, or ermoberly-at-sjgov.org.
Santa Lucia Chapter, Sierra Club
The 2013 Anthony Grassroots Prize for Organizational Stewardship was awarded to the Santa Lucia Chapter of the Sierra Club for their leadership in working to bring Community Choice Aggregation (CCA) to the Central Coast. CCA empowers local communities to replace fossil fuel-generated electricity with clean renewable power, and incentivizes energy efficiency programs. “We want to recognize the Santa Lucia Chapter’s leadership in protecting the vulnerable ecosystems of California’s Central Coast,” Juliette Anthony said. “We encourage them to continue to rally community opposition to fracking, and to promote locally-generated energy such as rooftop solar.” The Santa Lucia Chapter received $500.
2012 Anthony Grassroots Prize Winner: Santa Clarita Organization for Planning and the Environment (SCOPE)
SCOPE was awarded the 2012 Anthony Prize for its inspirational ‘David vs. Goliath’ advocacy to protect the Santa Clarita Valley from the mammoth Newhall Ranch development – a proposed 60,000 person city slated to be built on the Los Angeles-Ventura County line. The 12,000 acre Newhall site would be largest single development project in California history, yet is located on one of the most pristine reaches of the Santa Clara River, Los Angeles County’s last free-flowing wild river. The area threatened by the Newhall development is home to over 117 threatened, endangered or sensitive plant and wildlife species or communities. The project would result in filling 20 miles of on-site streams and the valleys that contain them with 208 million cubic yards of fill material taken from the hill tops – enough soil to fill dump trucks and wrap them around the earth’s equator over 3 times. In addition, the project would channelize 5 miles of the main stem of the Santa Clara River, building homes in an area where the river has historically flowed during major storm events. For more information about SCOPE and the environmental impacts of Newhall Ranch, contact: Lynne Plambeck, (661) 255-6899, exec -at- scope.org (please replace -at- with @).
2011 Anthony Grassroots Prize Winner: Linda Schneider and Self-Sustaining Communities
For more than 20 years, Linda Schneider and Self-Sustaining Communities have been growing systemic change in low-income East Bay neighborhoods – one fruit tree at a time. The 2011 Anthony Grassroots Prize honors Self-Sustaining Communities’ recent work to establish urban farms in Richmond. Starting with a donated vacant lot in Richmond Annex in 2009, Self-Sustaining Communities secured donations of fruit trees, seeds and garden tools, and helped local residents start an urban farm with vegetables, chickens, rabbits and beehives. Local interest and participation has been so robust that a second garden was established in North Richmond, and a third garden recently opened in Parchester Village. “It’s not that we don’t have the materials and resources in our society,” Linda Schneider explains. “People think that they can’t get things done without money. Self-Sustaining Communities wants to show that it CAN be done.” For more information, please contact: Linda Schneider (510) 230-0904, linda at self-sustainingcommunities dot org.
2010 Anthony Grassroots Prize Winner: (Dual Winners)
Karen Rogers, Concerned Weed Citizens
Karen Rogers educated the community of Weed about the environmental and health implications of building a wood-fired power plant that would burn 250 cords of wood per day and emit hundreds of tons per year of greenhouse gasses, smog-forming compounds and toxic air pollutants within a quarter mile of schools and homes. Her efforts catalyzed a local coalition that filed suit opposing the project, pointing to a mountain of scientific evidence about the dangers of siting a new biomass plant so close to families and children. Karen Rogers and the community are insisting on state of the art air pollution control technology that will achieve at least 75% emissions reductions, and set a benchmark for other proposed biomass plants on the drawing board throughout California.
Guillermo Vasquez, Indigenous Permaculture
Since launching Indigenous Permaculture six years ago, Guillermo Vasquez has established food sustainability programs on the Lakota Pine Ridge Reservation and developed a comprehensive food security program on the Hoopa Reservation in Humboldt County, winning the Garden Crusaders Award from the Three Nations Indian Circle. Drawing from his own rich cultural traditions and the diversity of Indigenous Permaculture’s board, Mr. Vasquez has also developed an in-depth certificate training program that has shared his wealth of knowledge with people throughout the San Francisco Bay Area. Guillermo Vasquez teaches all of us how we can connect with nature and renew our spirit through the timeless and sustainable cycle of growing our own food.
2009 Anthony Grassroots Prize: Community ORV Watch and founder, Phillip Klasky
Community ORV Watch, nicknamed COW, began several years ago as a small group of citizens in the Mojave Desert area concerned about mounting damage to the fragile desert environment caused by off-road vehicles. Under Mr. Klasky’s leadership, COW has built its grassroots membership, and helped organize support for the passage of San Bernardino County’s ORV ordinance. Building on its local network of supporters, COW organized 14 community groups into the Alliance for Responsible Recreation with the mission of promoting responsible use of ecologically sensitive public lands. Although Mr. Klasky has been a target of property destruction and personal threats due to his activism, COW has become a focal point of collaboration to engage stakeholders and decision makers in finding solutions to ORV abuse, and has helped law enforcement raise more than $250,000 to fund programs to educate riders about respecting public and private lands and enforcing off-road regulations. COW is also at the forefront of advocating protection of native lands from ORV damage, including the sacred sites of the Fort Mojave, Chemehuevi and Colorado River Tribes. To contact Community ORV Watch, or to reach Mr. Klasky directly, please call (415) 531-6890, or pklasky-at-igc.org (replace -at- with @). More information is also available at www.orvwatch.com.
2008 Anthony Grassroots Prize: (Dual Winners)
Vecinos Unidos was founded by residents of the Tulare County farming towns Cutler, Orosi and East Orosi to advocate for the basic human right of safe drinking water. Vecinos Unidos began by securing commitments from the Orosi Public Utility District to provide translation services for the primarily Spanish-speaking community to allow them – for the first time – to participate in decisions fundamentally affecting their health. Vecinos Unidos then began helping East Orosi residents press the East Orosi Community Service District (EOCSD) to respond to repeated notices of nitrate violations in the community’s drinking water. In response, the EOCSD, which had not met in over a year, agreed to re-establish monthly meetings to hear community concerns about safe water; Vecinos Unidos then worked with the EOCSD to identify and apply for funding sources to access a new source of drinking water. Recognizing that many farmworker communities faced similar problems of drinking water contaminated by pesticides and agricultural runoff, members of Unidos Vecinos helped to found La Asociación de Gente Unida por el Agua (AGUA), a regional grassroots coalition seeking systemic solutions to drinking water contamination problems. AGUA has been active throughout Tulare County in advocating for safe water, and has filed a lawsuit against the Regional Water Board seeking regulations that would require the valley’s 1,600 dairies to line the bottoms of wastewater treatment ponds and improve groundwater monitoring.
Irma Arroyo of El Quinto Sol De America
Irma Arroyo founded El Quinto Sol De America to work with local farmworker communities in Tulare County to express their voice through the universal language of art. Whether working with children to paint murals showing how pollution impacts their lives, or helping families install drift catchers to monitor airborne pesticides, Ms. Arroyo has been tireless in helping local communities speak out for environmental justice. Through her leadership on the Coordinating Council of AGUA, she has also helped mobilize community members to testify before the Regional Water Board to urge action to protect local drinking water supplies from severe health threats.
2007 Anthony Grassroots Prize: Jim Brobeck
For many years, Mr. Brobeck has been at the forefront of community environmental stewardship in Lassen, Tehama and Butte Counties. As a volunteer with the Lassen Forest Preservation Group, he has donated countless hours helping to lead community participation in environmental reviews of forestry projects. As a former firefighter in Butte County, he has brought his unique perspective to help disparate groups achieve consensus on difficult issues, especially around environmentally sustainable solutions to fire safety issues that impact rural communities.
Mr. Brobeck is also very active with the Butte Environmental Council and the Sacramento Valley Watershed Caucus helping local communities to monitor and model long-term groundwater trends – crucial knowledge that helps local citizens participate effectively in the sometimes contentious debate amongst water users, agricultural interests, water districts, environmental organizations and state officials. Throughout 2006, he also hosted a weekly radio show called “Dialogues” on KZFR, presenting well-researched, informative and entertaining segments exploring local, regional and statewide topics. In the midst of all this volunteer work, he also made time to advocate reduced pesticide use in the local schools, took personal responsibility for keeping Chico’s Bidwell Park clean, and helped raise his grandchildren – often taking his granddaughters home from school on his bike – his preferred means of transportation.
As a result of the award, $500 grants were made in Mr. Brobeck’s name to two organizations for which he devotes countless volunteer hours, the Lassen Forest Preservation Group and the Butte Environmental Council.
2006 Anthony Grassroots Prize Winner: Dana Dillworth
Dana Dillworth was recognized for her tireless in boosting community involvement in Brisbane Baylands’ redevelopment planning. Ms. Dillworth helped found CLEAN (Citizens’ League for Environmental Action Now) 15 years ago to give the local community a voice in the proposed redevelopment of the Brisbane Baylands. She serves as Chair of the Brisbane Baylands Community Advisory Group – an advisory committee which Ms. Dillworth worked with CalEPA’s Department of Toxic Substances Control to form in 2005 to solve historically poor outreach to adjacent low-income neighborhoods in San Francisco and Daly City. Because of Ms. Dillworth’s advocacy, the process is now supervised by a diverse community-based board and public notification significantly exceeds minimum requirements, targeting a broad array of community, civic, environmental and homeowner groups. In addition to making sure there is full public notification about this complex and long-running redevelopment debate, she has been at the forefront of promoting economically sound sustainable redevelopment solutions including tertiary treatment wetlands, energy farms, zero-emissions vehicle zones and a Post-Carbon Conference Center.
2005 Anthony Grassroots Prize Winners: (Dual Winners)
Sandra Meraz won the 2005 Anthony Prize for leading her hometown of Alpaugh’s struggle for safe drinking water. A small, predominantly Hispanic farming town in Tulare County, Alpaugh’s drinking water wells have been completely contaminated with arsenic. Initially volunteering as a translator, Ms. Meraz soon learned that the residents’ pleas for help were falling on deaf ears no matter what language was spoken. The community elected Ms. Meraz to a seat on the local water board, and Ms. Meraz used her new position to petition for State assistance. She secured donations of bottled water from local businesses for the school and residents, and launched a campaign to drill a new well that would be free of contamination. With other volunteers, she spends two days every week in an unventilated steel container filling five gallon jugs for Alpaugh residents – providing a weekly ration of 25 gallon to each family, which is often their only clean drinking water.
Teresa DeAnda won the 2005 Anthony Prize for her leadership in helping her community, Earlimart, a small, predominantly Hispanic farming community in Kern County, respond to pesticide drift. The founder of El Comité Para el Bienestar de Earlimart, Ms. DeAnda led a successful community-based effort that resulted in the passage of new state law (SB 319 – Florez) that requires emergency response plans for pesticide drift accidents and makes violators responsible for community medical costs. Frequently arising before dawn, Ms. DeAnda organized busloads of witnesses from impacted communities to go to key legislative meetings in Sacramento – making sure that legislators saw the faces and heard the voices of hundreds of asthma sufferers and victims of pesticide drift.
2004 Anthony Grassroots Prize Winner: Sylvia Kothke
Ms. Kothe was awarded the Anthony Prize for building a broad-based community coalition that waged a successful grassroots campaign – opposed by the Stockton City Council – that gives the citizens of Stockton the final say in any water privatization contract. Since then, the organization chaired by Ms. Kothe, the Concerned Citizens Coalition of Stockton, has successfully defended the initiative against legal challenges and won a court ruling ordering the City to return the water supply to municipal control.
2003 Anthony Grassroots Prize Winner: Bryan von Lossberg
In 2001, Mr. von Lossberg resigned from his Silicon Valley job to volunteer in the Tahoe basin in order to give something back to the place where he had spent many summer vacations. He helped organize the Tahoe Truckee Earth Day Festival and serves as festival chair. He also serves on the board of the Tahoe-Baikal Institute (TBI), a summer student exchange program between Lake Baikal in Russia and Lake Tahoe. As the volunteer project director, he worked with the exchange students to survey drainage patterns on approximately 2000 land parcels in the area of South Lake Tahoe. He also volunteers with the Lake Tahoe Environmental Education Coalition, League to Save Lake Tahoe, California Tahoe Conservancy, UC Davis Tahoe Research Group, and Tahoe Rim Trail Association.
2002 Anthony Grassroots Prize Winner: Mary Pjerrou
Mary Pjerrou, President of the Redwood Coast Watersheds Alliance in Mendocino County and co-founder of the Greenwood Creek Watershed Association won the award for her work to restore Greenwood Creek, leading an all-volunteer effort to develop a restoration plan and raising over $200,000 to fund the restoration. Ms. Pjerrou is an ardent supporter of protecting the few remaining tracts of ancient redwoods in Mendocino and Sonoma Counties. She is co-founder of the Save the Redwoods/Boycott the Gap Campaign and has won a series of citizen suits forcing lumber companies to develop long-term Sustained Yield Plans to guide timber harvesting.
For a complete listing of past winners, please visit the Grants Database.