Riverside Magazine Recognizes Heroes of Giving for Their Dedication to Community

This month’s issue of Riverside Magazine includes a feature on Riverside’s “Heroes of Giving” which shines the spotlight on some of the community’s brightest stars of philanthropy. These individuals are true champions for Riverside and represent the spirit of Seizing Our Destiny and heart of our community, each of them passionately pursuing the common good.

Below are excerpts on each of the featured heroes taken from the article:

  • Malcolm Smith Family – Malcolm Smith Motorsports Foundation, Inc.
    After Malcolm Smith’s successful racing career, winning the Baja 1000 race six times  and the Baja 500 four times as well as numerous other titles that brought him fame and fortune, he decided to give back to the community where his success came from by providing support to the El Oasis orphanage in Valle Trinidad, Baja California.
  • Steve and Cathy Kienle – Walter’s Children’s Charity Classic
    When Steve and Cathy Kienle decided it was time to do something for the community, that something materialized as the Walter’s Children’s Charity Classic, an annual golf tournament that to date has raised more than $3.4 million benefiting Loma Linda University Children’s Hospital.
  • Palagi family – Mario’s Place
    Not only are they feeding those who come to Mario’s Place, but the Palagis are using their business to help out in the community as well. Among other philanthropic gestures, the family donates catering for more than 50 events each year that support a number of Riverside charities, among them the Riverside Area Rape Crisis Center, Meals on Wheels, United Way, the Humane Society and American Heart Association. Andrea Palagi says the family’s giving is second nature, “We do it because it’s just the right thing to do. We give back, and the community is continually giving back to us.”
  • Kathy Allavie – Riverside Art Museum
    When it comes to volunteering and making a difference in the community, Kathy Allavie encourages everyone to get involved. There is one area for which she holds a strong affinity. “I have a passion for the arts,” she said. “I believe they add to the quality of life in our community. Without them, our community would really suffer.”
  • Aaron Norris – The Community Foundation/Community Connect
    If the Energizer Bunny were in human form, it just might look like Aaron Norris. That assessment comes from Sharilyn Hunke of The Community Foundation, which has benefited a great deal from Norris’ nonstop dedication. Overall, he has helped to raise more than $300,000 for various charitable organizations, and he just keeps going and going. (blog editor’s note: Aaron also serves on the Champions Council of Seizing Our Destiny and was instrumental in organizing Riverside’s first community-wide day of giving, Give Big Riverside.)

The above is just a short description of these incredible Riversiders. Click here to read the full article as published in December/January issue of Riverside Magazine (pgs. 14-16).

Student Research at UC Riverside “Knocks the Chancellor’s Socks Off”

In his November 9, 2012 Friday Letter, UC Riverside Chancellor Tim White shared a story of the incredible minds growing within this great community. The following excerpt cites his examples of the impressive student-led “activities in the present that build innovations and leaders of the future” …and “knocked [his] socks off”:

  • Gayat Adame (anthropology and history) – Janitzio Island: A Study on the Impact of Tourism.  Under the tutelage of Professor T.S. Harvey (anthropology), the study analyzes the impact of tourism on the Purepecha people of Janitzio Island in Michoacan, Mexico, by examining tourist activities, government programs, the drug war, and other features of island life.
  • Rachel Aguilar (biology) – Exploring the Role of Zumba in Facilitating Physical Activity in Latino Americans and African Americans.  Under the tutelage of Professor Tanya Nieri (sociology), the research examines the links between participation in Zumba, a popular Latin-inspired dance program, and the health of racial and ethnic minorities, particularly cardiovascular disease, obesity and diabetes.
  • Trey Amador (biology) – Immunological Costs of Fatherhood in California Mice.  Working with Professor Wendy Salzman (biology), the research focuses on the potentially negative effects of mating by testing the immune system deficiencies of California mice, with potential implications for the study of men’s health.
  • My (Crystal) Hua (English and biology) – In Silico Approach Using Health-based Interactomes to Analyze the Symptoms Reported by Electronic Cigarette Users in Online Forums.  Working with Professor Prue Talbot (cell biology and neuroscience), the study defines distinctive health hazards associated with the use of electronic cigarettes compared with non-electronic cigarettes.
  • Ilona Kravtsova (neuroscience and biology) – Seizure in a Slice.  Under the mentorship of Professor Todd Fiacco (cell biology and neuroscience), this study uses genetically altered mice to obtain a greater understanding of the mechanisms behind seizures, with the long-term goal of developing better treatments for seizures in humans.
  • Kevin Lee (biochemistry) – Adaptation to Environmental Unpredictability in Short-Lived Annual Killifish. Working with Professor Dave Reznick (biology), the study analyzes the adaptation of Nothobranchius furzeri fish in extreme and unstable environments, leading to new insights into two mechanisms (bet hedging and phenotypic plasticity) by which organisms adapt to and survive variable environments.
  • Maria Lorenzo (Native American studies) – Sherman Photo Project.  Under the guidance of Professor Cliff Trafzer (history), the study interprets 200 photographs in the archives of the Sherman School, which serves Native American students, by examining architecture, student life, the agriculture-trade curriculum, outings, health, and sports.
  • Rex Lu (mechanical engineering) – Using BCI and Wireless Sensors for Gait Analysis. Under the tutelage of Professor Sundararajan Venkatadriagaram (mechanical engineering), the study combines modern prosthetic technology with analysis of how the brain controls motor functions, with an eye to producing more effective prosthetic equipment.
  • Scott Manifold (mathematics) – Stability Analysis of Predator-Prey with Diffusion in Bounded Quantum Graphs. Under Professor Kurt Anderson (biology), the research uses new mathematical models – quantum graph theory – to produce more effective simulations of predator-prey interactions in a random walk environment.
  • Kyle Nelson (environmental engineering) – Photocatalytically Active Membranes for Water Treatment. Working with Professor David Kisailus (chemical and environmental engineering), the study focuses on comparing and optimizing several methods to treat impurities in water, including photocatalysis with nanoscaled titanium dioxide, a semiconducting material.
  • Neil Quebbemann (chemistry) – Radical Migration in the Gas Phase. Under the guidance of Professor Ryan Julian (chemistry), the study identifies residues that are most susceptible to radical attacks in amino acid chains, adding to the knowledge base of radical peptide chemistry in general.
  • Robyn Roberts (psychology and creative writing) – Developing Fictional Short Stories based on Qualitative Data Analysis of Emancipated Foster Youth. Under the guidance of Professor Tuppett Yates (psychology), the study examines – through the integration of qualitative research with creative expression – the life experiences of foster youth, based on interviews with 20 young people who have been part of the foster system.  This project will raise awareness about the challenges facing this vulnerable population while providing a literary representation of foster youth that challenges negative stereotypes.

The students and projects described in Chancellor White’s letter are just a few examples of the caliber of social and intellectual intelligence found in Riverside; proving once again the potential for this region’s innovative economy, built around an increased quality of life for all.  To read the full November 9th letter, click here.


Riverside Named #2 Top Digital City in Nation

For the sixth year in a row, the City of Riverside was named a Top Digital City in the U.S. Coming in at #2 for 2012, Riverside beat out several notable cities such as Boston, MA; Seattle, WA; Sacramento, CA and others. Mayor Ron Loveridge commented on the recognition as, “…not only a welcome acknowledgment of Riverside’s creative culture, but also one that generates results.”

Digital Cities Logoe.Republic’s Center for Digital Government, a national research and advisory institute on information technology practices and best practices in state and local government, leads the survey through its Digital Communities Program. Cities are ranked based on their use of technology, operating efficiencies and realizing strategic objectives despite current fiscal constraints. Examples of accomplishments from top ranked cities were a reduction in overtime by using new technology, embracing a new concept called “bring your own device” where employees are allowed to access data with a personal device to reduce hardware costs, and development of an app that keeps track of what users are doing to reduce power and fuel consumption.

“Cities that are investing in technology are seeing huge cost savings that are critical to operations and their ability to meet higher demand for services,” said Todd Sander, Executive Director of Digital Communities. “These cities are true innovators and we applaud them as they work in the spirit of collaboration to provide extraordinary value to constituents despite budget setbacks.”

The Top Ten ranked cities will be honored at a special awards ceremony concurrent with the National League of Cities annual conference on November 30.

This ranking is yet another example of Riverside continuing to lead the way for best practices in technology implementations and innovations. Riverside’s creative use of technology to increase efficiencies was a key contributor to the City’s title as the #1 Intelligent Community.

Click here to read the full press release from the City of Riverside.

Click here to see the full listing of award winners on the Center for Digital Government website.

Spirit of the Entrepreneur Honors Riverside Business Owners

The 10th Annual “Spirit of the Entrepreneur Awards” gala presented by Cal State San Bernardino on Wednesday, November 7th at the Ontario Convention Center and shined the spotlight on top business entrepreneurs in the Inland region.

Mike Stull, founding organizer of the event and director of the Inland Empire Center for Entrepreneurship (IECE) said the award is a nice reinforcement. “It’s nice to say ‘you’re doing a good job,’” said Stull, who is also a professor of entrepreneurship at the university.

Several of the award winners were Riverside business owners:

Robin Allen of Necessary Nutrition and winner of the Emerging Entrepreneur award said it was quite a night after she reacted emotionally to receiving the honor.

“I was moved. It gives you validation for the blood, sweat and tears you put into a business. It’s a passion,” she said about co-founding Necessary Nutrition, a line of natural, nutritional supplements.

The Spirit of the Entrepreneur Awards recognizes local business owners for their accomplishments over the past year. Riverside makes every effort to nurture entrepreneurial spirit to cultivate innovative and sustainable businesses that have a lasting impact on the local economy and the broader region and this commitment is reflected in the number of award-winning businesses located in the City of Riverside.

To read the full article from the San Bernardino Sun, click here.

Give BIG Riverside Proves to Be Much More than a Fundraising Campaign

Several months ago, leaders of local nonprofits came together in an effort to improve the culture of giving in Riverside and develop a way to build capacity in organizations whose mission relies heavily on the financial support of the community.

Although charitable giving is a battle that the Inland Southern California region has struggled with for several years, the severity of the situation was brought to the forefront upon the release of the first-ever community-wide Quality of Life Index. It showed that while the region has many dedicated and compassionate residents and business owners, some of the community’s lowest quality-of-life scores were in areas of volunteerism and philanthropy.

The recent national economic recession certainly did not help the situation, but nonprofit leaders Pam Hogan, Kid’s Rock Free, and Bobbie Neff, Community Connect, believed the problem was not in the community’s willingness or ability to donate, but that the greater issue was simply lack of awareness.

As Neff explained, “We wanted to help all of us in the non-profit sector realize that the way to raise funds has changed dramatically; the Internet and social media must be a major component in a nonprofit organization’s business plan in order to effectively build relationships and increase engagement and support.”

Several other nonprofits and The Community Foundation rallied around this notion and the concept of a one-day event in which Riverside supporters could donate funds on-line to one or several organizations of their choice was born.

A potential donor learns more about the
Family Services Association
at the 11.13.12 Give BIG Riverside event.
(photo courtesy GBR)

In the months leading up to the Give BIG Riverside event, groups received educational trainings and were given “toolkits” for their own individual campaigns.  Resources such as email and flyer templates and how-to guides for setting up Give BIG landing pages helped participants refine their marketing messages.

This pre-campaign work was eye-opening to many of the nearly 100 non-profits participating in the event. According to  executive director Gail Egenes, “Prepping for Give BIG Riverside had an added benefit for Riverside Land Conservancy. We had to re-shape our messages to be succinct yet inspiring for online and social media promotion. We learned a lot and feel better prepared to connect with younger generations who love our natural environment.”

The day following the event, Veronica Dover of Family Services Association (FSA) explained  “I just got to spend an hour and half listening to our behind the scenes staff (administrative, HR and Accounting) share about how the Give BIG campaign gave them an opportunity to tell the FSA story and about the work we do and how much impact it has on the region.  Regardless of the dollars raised, that connection to mission and passion for our services is invaluable.”

Volunteers worked around the clock to raise
money & awareness for their nonprofits.
(photo courtesy GBR)

Dover’s reaction seemed to be a common experience by the participating nonprofits. Drew Oberjuerge of the Riverside Art Museum also reported that they had met and exceeded their Give BIG Riverside goal, and that although they had been talking for some time about the need to do a social media campaign, the day of giving caused them to execute an online giving event and that the organization looks forward to building on its 2012 success.

The event itself raised $207,0450 from 1,953 unique donors who made 2,701 gifts.  Aaron Norris, the social media and marketing wizard behind the inaugural day of giving and Vice President of The Norris Group (a presenting sponsor of the event), attributed this accomplishment to the unprecedented team effort.

“Riverside has spirit and pride – give us the opportunity to make a difference and we will. People were excited to participate and surprised by how much was happening in their community.”

In a Facebook post on the Give BIG Riverside fan page, Samantha Lynn Wilson of the Child Leader Project eloquently summarized the success:

“The goal was to empower, connect and inspire Riverside to give and care for each other– and, therefore, far surpassed the goal into an embodied vision.”

For more information on Give BIG Riverside and the sponsors that made the event possible and participating nonprofit organizations, visit www.GiveBIGRiverside.com or follow the efforts on Facebook or Twitter.

UCR Awarded for Sustainability Programs by Local Organizations

The University of California, Riverside received awards from two different local organizations on last month in recognition of its work to create an environmentally-friendly and sustainable campus.

source: UCR Today

Keep Riverside Clean and Beautiful (KRCB) presented the university with its “Outstanding Waste Management Award” and the Southern California Corporate Growth Partners’ Minority Business Development Agency (SCCGP/MBDA) named UCR as its “Green Organization of the Year.”

The Green Organization of the Year award is presented to an individual or organization that has demonstrated excellence as an emerging leader for innovation, renewable and clean energy and promoting a sustainable environment. The award ceremony was part of the 2012 Minority Enterprise Development Week Awards at the SCCGP/MBDA Business Center in Rancho Cucamonga.

The Outstanding Waste Management Award from KRCB recognizes the campus’ effort to implement a diversion rate of nearly 80% from landfills thanks to several food waste, campus construction and recycling programs. The award was presented at the KRCB Community Recognition Luncheon on October 25th at the Riverside Marriott.

John Cook, director of the University of California, Riverside Office of Sustainability said that while both awards recognize efforts to create a greener campus, they are each special because of the unique emphasis they put upon sustainability efforts.

“The award from KRCB honors our commitment to be good stewards of the environment and to use our natural resources in a responsible manner as part of an overall strategy to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions and eliminate waste in all its forms,” Cook said. ““The Green Organization Award from the US Department of Commerce Minority Business Development Agency features UCR’s strong commitment to both diversity and sustainability as core principles.”

Thanks in part to efforts led by Cook, UC Riverside has recycled 3,799.43 tons of waste between July 1, 2011 and June 30, 2012. Other achievements include:

    • Diverting roughly 80% of waste from the landfill towards a goal of 100%.
    • Diverting an average of 90% of construction material.
    • Implementing a full food waste recycling program at campus resident housing and food establishments, sending it to a composting facility.
    • Implementing an on- and off-campus housing commingled recycling program.
    • Implementing an aggressive mixed paper/card recycling program.
    • Placing an emphasis on training staff, faculty and students on sustainability principles.
    • Implementing reduction plans into all areas of environmental concerns.

UCR has proved time and again that they are a powerhouse for innovative sustainable practices that promote a greener campus. This effort is a shared passion throughout the community, helping Riverside become an international model for sustainable business, environmental innovation and green living.

To read the full article from UCR Today, click here.


Riverside Community Hospital Announces Expansion Plans

$315 million-dollar project expected to add 400 temporary construction jobs and 300 full-time permanent hospital positions

From the Riverside Office of Economic Development via Riverside Community Hospital & City of Riverside 

Today, officials at Riverside Community Hospital announced plans for a $315 million expansion on the facility’s campus that is needed to improve access to healthcare for a growing population. Construction and a groundbreaking are anticipated to begin in early 2013 and the expansion project is expected to be complete in 2018.

Rendering of the New RCH Tower
View of new patient tower; rendering subject to change

Officials of the 373-bed hospital describe the centerpiece of the expansion being a seven-floor, 292,000 square-foot tower which will house 12 intensive care patient rooms, 60 medical and surgical patient rooms, a laboratory and food services operations.  The expansion project will include several major components including:

  • A new 4-level, 861-space Parking Garage;
  • A new 3-floor, 60,000 square-foot Medical Office Building;
  • A seismic retrofit and cosmetic upgrades to an existing patient tower; and
  • Imaging Department equipment additions and replacements with facility updates and expansion.

In addition, the expansion project will enable Riverside Community Hospital to offer 72 private rooms in the new seven-floor tower, providing more space to accommodate families and expanding its service offerings to more critically ill patients. Several floors of the patient tower will be shelled space available for future growth and expansion.

According to the RCH press release, the project is anticipated to create nearly 400 temporary jobs in various construction trades and nearly 300 full-time hospital positions when completed.

For several years Riverside has been taking bold steps to ensure its place as a center of world-class healthcare. HCA and Riverside Community Hospital’s expansion is complemented by the recent announcement of the UC Riverside School of Medicine accreditation, both of which will significantly impact the quality of life for current and future residents of Inland Southern California for decades to come.

Read the full article posted by the Riverside Office of Economic Development here.

“The House on Lemon Street” Tells the Story of the Harada Family

The story of Jukichi and Ken Harada and their home on Lemon Street was told by the couple’s granddaughter Naomi Harada during an event at the Riverside Metropolitan Museum last month. Naomi was joined by Mark Rawitsch, whose recent book; “The House on Lemon Street” documents the Japanese immigrant family’s experiences, triumphs and battles with social injustice through the lens of the home they owned and is now registered as a National Historic Landmark.

The Harada family faced many battles in their lifetime. Forced to deal with the anti-immigrant sentiment of the early 1900s, they decided to purchase a home in Riverside in hopes of living in better conditions. After winning a precedent-setting lawsuit, the family faced yet another struggle when they were taken from their home and placed in an internment camp in 1942.

The story of the Harada family is yet another thread in the historical fabric of Riverside, a community that strives to be an inclusive city welcoming people of all backgrounds and cultures to work together to promote the common good. Mark Rawitsch’s book honors the strength of this family in their commitment to give back to Riverside despite the adversity of the times that they were forced to overcome.

To read the full article about the Harada Family, click here.

Riverside Receives Prestigious Economic Development Leadership Award at Southern California Corporate Real Estate Gala

On November 8, 2012, the Riverside was honored for their forward-looking economic development practices at the CoreNet Global Southern California REMMYS.

The Leadership in Economic Development award was judged based on criteria that demonstrated creativity and the successful implementation of major win-win projects in a community and/or region in Southern California, emphasizing innovation.  Riverside earned the recognition for its Completion Counts learning partnership program. The business-education-government partnership is working aggressively to increase the college-going rate in the community in an effort to build its knowledge-based workforce and future talent capital in the region.

“Riverside has made a commitment to doing whatever it can to help our businesses create jobs for the community and region;” explained Riverside Mayor Ronald O. Loveridge, “we are constantly developing cutting-edge and best-practice programs for real estate, business and our residents that increase the quality of life in our city, as well as provide a stable, fertile ground for our companies.”

The award demonstrates the community’s commitment to ensuring Intelligent Growth through a dedication to lifelong learning and increased quality of life.

UC Riverside Students and Graduates Recognized for Continued Commitment to Public Service

A commitment to public service is nothing new for University of California, Riverside students. In January the University was recognized with having the highest average of volunteer or community service hours out of all campuses in the UC System. Then, in March UCR was named to the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll with Distinction in recognition of students’ volunteer efforts. Finally, in August the university was recognized by Washington Monthly’s College Ranking survey as first overall among national universities in student service participation.

source: UCR Today

For many UCR students this commitment to community extends beyond graduation and into programs that provide young professionals with practical experience while serving in an area of need. In 2012, 35 UCR graduates were accepted into the City Year program, the most of any school in the country.

Part of the AmeriCorps’s host of programs, City Year is a non-profit organization founded in 1988 focused on helping to keep young people from dropping out of school by placing participants as tutors, mentors and role models. The program serves 24 cities in the United States as well as Johannesburg, South Africa and London, England. The program works with at-risk students between the third and ninth grades in communities where the dropout challenge is most concentrated. Working as partners with public schools, City Year provides extra people power to help young people stay on the path to graduation, with a goal of having 80% of students who reach 10th grade graduate on track and on time.

Bert Rivera, Recruitment Manager for City Year said that the program received over 11,000 applications nationally for 2,500 positions, and that recruiters placed an emphasis on recruiting students from UCR.

Assistant Dean of Students Tonantzin Oseguera said she wasn’t surprised at all by the volume of participation by UCR students due to the university’s dedication to public service.

“Our students are very dedicated and serious about being involved with community service and paying it forward,” Oseguera said. “The first message students receive when they come to orientation is that they need to become involved in a student organization, and may choose organizations that have service as one of the tenets or core of what they do.”

UCR’s commitment to service sets an example for all Riversiders to follow. The campus plays an important role in shaping the character of our community and the students’ efforts to give back have a profound impact on the quality of life in Riverside, reflecting the shared vision of a Unified City that promotes the common good.

To read the full article from UCR Today, click here.