Remembering 16 Years of Community Luncheons

Spirit of the League Awardees at LWVBAE Luncheon 2015: L to R:Alma Hernandez-Miller, Stanley Durden, Michael Mayo, Berkeley READS Director Linda Sakamoto-Johnke, Senator Loni Hancock, Patricia Camacho, Faye Combs, Alem Belet

Spirit of the League Awardees at LWVBAE Luncheon 2015: L to R:Alma Hernandez-Miller, Stanley Durden, Michael Mayo, Berkeley READS Director Linda Sakamoto-Johnke, Senator Loni Hancock, Patricia Camacho, Faye Combs, Alem Belet

After 16 years of memorable Community Luncheons, Luncheon speakers and Spirit of the League awardees, the LWVBAE Board decided at its Oct 2015 meeting to retire the annual Community Luncheon and replace it with a variety of other events–with different formats, times, locations and target audiences.

This decision reaffirmed the Board’s decisions at its summer planning meeting that LWVBAE’s highest priorities are expanding its membership, its on-line community, its visibility and impact, and its reputation as a trusted and reliable source. Its events and meetings should all serve these goals. So our Program Coordinator Lessly Wikle Field, the board as a whole and the active study and action committees organizing events will all focus on creating events that will attract new and diverse audiences.

Nancy Bickel, League President, Robert Reich, Former Labor Secretary at League Community Luncheon 2004

Nancy Bickel, League President, Robert Reich, Former Labor Secretary at League Community Luncheon 20004

Kudos! An outstanding committee was responsible for the success of these events. Most recently, the outstanding team members were: Pat Day, Suzanne Chun, Angharad Jones, Sherry Smith and Rainey Sykes. Other committee members in recent years have included Carol Stone, Joyce Jackson and Karen Nelson. Cynthia Chen publicized effectively, along with the Communications Team.

Work started each winter and expanded as the event approached.   Many of the group–who also organized the fall and annual meetings each year–are ready to retire from this responsibility.  Their final report to the Board suggested that it was time for the Board to reassess the luncheon, figure out whether the money raised was worth the large amount of work required and whether it was fulfilling major league goals.

A Short History of the League’s Community Luncheon 1999-2005

The Luncheon was originally conceived as a way to bring together and honor Town and Gown,
community and government leaders and university leaders;  through much of its history, it did so.  It was also a primary fundraiser that supported the League’s non-partisan voting and education services, so contributions were tax-deductible to to donor at a time when the Leaguej itself was not tax-deductible to donors.

The Honor Role of Community Luncheon Speakers 1999-2005 is below. To read more about the Speakers and the Spirit of the League Awardees, consult our newsletter, the Voter, in the month before each of the events in the appropriate year. Voters back to 1997 are posted at the bottom of the Newsletter page. If you have photos of these events, please bring them to the office or send them electronically, so we can gather a complete archive.

The keynote speakers at the Community Luncheons have generally been distinguished and compelling. Robert Reich, Secretary of Labor under President Bill Clinton and more recently at the Goldman School of Public Policy at UC Berkeley, is the only one to have spoken twice–and attracted large and enthusiastic audiences of from 200-@250 at each appearance.

The Luncheons attracted audiences ranging from about 125 to 256 and raised varying amounts for the League from a high of nearly $14,000 to a low of about $3500.

Spirit of the League Awards were awarded from 2005 onward to an individual and a community organization.  The list of awardees is just below. The list of luncheon speakers follows.

Spirit of the League Awardees 2005 to 2015

Eva Basner Youth Radio
Sylvia McLaughlin Save the Bay
Mim Hawley Berkeley food and Housing Project
Luanne Rogers Albany, Berkeley, Emery School Foundations
Alba Witkin Alameda County Registrar of Voters Office
Francis Townes LBL Environmental Technology Division
Fran Packard Berkeley Community Fund
Nancy Bickel SEEDS
Jane and Tom Coulter Berkeley Project and Daily Bread
Adena Ishii Berkeley Y-Scholars Program
Senator Loni Hancock and

Past League President Sherry Smith

[latter Awarded at 2015 Fall Meeting]

Berkeley READS

 

Community Luncheon Speakers 1999-2015

1999 (Aug) Michael Heyman, Chancellor, Univ. of Calif. Berkeley
2000 Bruce Cain, Chair, Institute of Gov. Studies, UCB
2001 CA State Sen Jackie Spier
2002 CA Atty Gen Bill Lockyer
2003 No lunch
2004 (April) Robert Reich, former Secretary of Labor, Clinton Admin.
2005 (Aug) Cynthia Gorney, Graduate School of Journalism, UCB
2006 (Aug) Christopher Edley, Dean, Law School, UCB
2007 (Aug) Daniel Kammen, Energy and Resources Group & Goldman School of Public Policy, UCB
2008 (Aug) Michael Krasny, host, KQED Forum and Prof. of English, San Francisco State University
2009 (Aug) Jane Wales, President and CEO World Affairs Council
2010 (Aug) George Lakoff, Linguistics Dept, UC Berkeley
2011 (Aug) Christina Romer, Prof. of Economics, UCB and former Chair Council of Economic Advisors, Obama Admin.
2012 (Aug) Mark Paul,  journalist and author of California Crackup: How Reform Broke the Golden State and How We Can Fix It
2013 (Aug) Jeanne Woodford, Executive Director of Death Penalty Focus. Previously, she served as the Undersecretary and Director of the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) and Warden of San Quentin State Prison
2014 Sept) Robert Reich, Goldman School of Public Policy
2015 (Sept) State Senator Loni Hancock

All League News