United Way Awarded Best Nonprofit of the Year

United Way of the Inland Valleys (UWIV) based in Riverside, along with the Inland Empire United Way (IEUW) based in Rancho Cucamonga, were both awarded the “Best Nonprofit of the Year” by the Inland Empire Economic Partnership (IEEP) at a ceremony in Redlands January 10, 2013.

(image source: uwiv.org/news)
Kevin McCarthy, President and CEO, proudly displays the award that he claims is a result of his staff’s hard work and dedication

Kevin McCarthy, President/CEO of UWIV and a Seizing Our Destiny Champion said, “The United Ways in our region work closely together to improve lives through improving results in Education, Income and Health.  These are the building blocks of a successful life.  These are also the building blocks of a successful economy.  Without a thriving quality of life, businesses will not want to locate in our region.  With the success of the local United Way, communities will be very competitive in the race for the future.”

Dan Byrnes, Director of Finance for UPS and a board member of IEEP said of the award, “The two chapters of the United Way we celebrate are dedicated to changing lives of those in need by bringing companies and individuals together to maximize the power of the dollar and engaging  the caring power of communities to make positive, sustainable changes and improve lives, and assist in times of disaster.”

Byrnes went on to say, “Per Capita in the State of California private grant funding is $119 per person.  In San Bernardino County the number is $3, in Riverside it is $12. Those are figures that can change if the people in this room make it a priority to work to raise the issue of the need of the non-profit sector of Riverside and San Bernardino Counties for funding.”

Helping to bring awareness to this disparity and increase the philanthropic mindset in the region has been a priority for Seizing Our Destiny since the release of the 2011 Quality of Life Index. Efforts such as Give BIG Riverside and The Pick Group’s Pick-and-Pledge, both of which the United Way is a participant and supporter, are ways that the Riverside community is stepping up to help our local nonprofit agencies.

To read more about the United Way, visit their website here.

UC Riverside Nanotechnologists Help Launch New National Center Devoted to Microelectronics

(As reported and published by UCR Today on January 17, 2013)

Three University of California, Riverside scientists and engineers are members of a new national research center — the Center for Spintronic Materials, Interfaces, and Novel Architectures (C-SPIN) — focused on developing the next generation of microelectronics. Led by the University of Minnesota, C-SPIN is being supported by a five-year $28 million grant, about $3 million of which is allocated to UC Riverside.

The grant was awarded by the Semiconductor Research Corporation, a global research collaboration of private companies, universities and government agencies; and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA).

UC Riverside’s Roland Kawakami (top), Ludwig Bartels (center) and Cengiz Ozkan are members of a new national research center focused on developing the next generation of microelectronics.PHOTO CREDIT: UCR STRATEGIC COMMUNICATIONS.
UC Riverside’s Roland Kawakami (top), Ludwig Bartels (center) and Cengiz Ozkan are members of a new national research center focused on developing the next generation of microelectronics.

C-SPIN at the University of Minnesota will bring together top researchers from across the nation, such as UCR’s Roland KawakamiLudwig Bartels and Cengiz Ozkan, to develop technologies for spin-based computing and memory systems. Unlike today’s computers, which function on the basis of electrical charges moving across wires, emerging spin-based computing systems will process and store information through spin, a fundamental property of electrons.

“Conventional silicon electronics is running out of steam in terms of improving its performance.” said Kawakami, a professor of physics and astronomy. “It is known as the ‘end of the roadmap’ for silicon-based technologies.”

Research at C-SPIN is expected to have an impact beyond the world of computer science and engineering resulting in advances in nanotechnology, materials science, physics, chemistry, circuit design, and many other fields.  Headquartered at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities, the center will fund research for 31 leading experts from 14 universities working in six scientific disciplines. C-SPIN will also fund research from more than 60 doctoral and post-doctoral students and host industry researchers-in-residence.

In addition to the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities and UCR, the 12 other universities involved are Carnegie Mellon University; Cornell University; Johns Hopkins University; Massachusetts Institute of Technology; Pennsylvania State University; Purdue University; University of Alabama; University of California, Santa Barbara; University of Iowa; University of Michigan; University of Nebraska; and University of Wisconsin-Madison.  Industry partners include Applied Materials, Global Foundries, IBM, Intel Corporation, Micron Technology, Raytheon, Texas Instruments and United Technologies.

The inclusion of the talented minds at UC Riverside in such an important national endeavor is a testament to the caliber of research and discovery occurring in our community, a true ‘Catalyst for Innovation‘.

To read the full article as published on UCR Today, click here.

Riverside Honors the Achievements of Its Finest Athletes, Coaches and Contributors

(Includes excerpts from the January 19, 2013 article by Jim Alexander, PE.com)

Earlier this month the names of the inductees for the Riverside Sport Hall of Fame’s Class of 2013, were announced: Gary McCord, Jess Mortensen, Butch Johnson, Tyree Washington, Becky Miller-White, Dave Almquist and Nick Goldware. They will be officially inducted at the Hall’s annual celebration on May 19 at the Riverside Municipal Auditorium.

Artists rendering of the 2012 Inductees; image from the RSHOF Facebook page.

The Riverside Sport Hall of Fame’s mission is to celebrate the achievements of athletes, coaches and contributors who have brought fame and honor to Riverside. Members come from the ranks of residents, former athletes, athletes, coaches of high school, college and other levels, administrators and athletic directors. In addition, The Riverside Sport Hall of Fame also honors individuals who have demonstrated excellence in sports on the Wall of Distinction.

The announcement was made in conjunction with the ceremony honoring this year’s Wall of Distinction honorees: (Baseball) Rob Brantly, Joe Kelly, Thomas Neal, Garrett Richards; (Basketball) Kisa Hughes, Malcolm Lee, Kawhi Leonard, Maz Trakh, Mark Warkentien; (Softball) Morgan Stuart; and special recognitions for Stan Davis, Jack Allman. (Read more about the event here.)

The Sport Hall’s first chairperson, Dr. Chuck Kane, a former Riverside Community College president who passed away in 2004, is credited for bringing to life the vision of recognizing excellence in Riverside sports.  Since that time, Riverside has proven its commitment to providing opportunities for athletes in nearly every sport to become world-class competitors.

To read the bios for each of the Class of 2013 inductees as published in Jim Alexander’s article in the Press-Enterprise, click here.

To read more about the Riverside Sport Hall of Fame, click here.

To follow Jim Alexander’s blog on the PE.com, click here.

State of the City 2013: “Imagine What We Can Accomplish By Working Together”

On January 24, 2013, Riverside’s 17th mayor, William “Rusty” Bailey, delivered his first State of the City address to an audience of residents, business owners, fellow educators, current and past elected officials, several of his students, and his family. 

“Through my conversations of the state of our city, I discovered this: the state of our city is responsive and responsible, dynamic and sustainable, inclusive and intelligent. These are the words that I believe best describe and exemplify OUR city.”

Mayor William "Rusty" BaileyThat statement set the tone for the new mayor’s articulations of his commitments and vision for Riverside, and he referenced three themes that he not only integrated into his address and (per Bailey) will continue to refer to throughout his time in office: Gratitude, Leadership Philosophy, and Challenge.

“My philosophy on leadership is simple: lead by example and take care of your troops,” explained Bailey. “Integrity, vision, courage and passion are all characteristics that motivate me daily, and it is my mission that these characteristics will define Riverside’s leadership and for which Riverside will be known throughout the region, the state, our country and the world. If we all share the philosophy of a servant leader, imagine what we can accomplish working together in public and private enterprise.”

As his inaugural address, naturally this is the instance in which the mayor’s expectations of city employees are set.  However, the 6th generation resident added a slightly different and more personal touch for the audience to contemplate.  What would their role be? What are they doing to make their lives and Riverside a better place? What can they do?  Bailey acknowledged that Riverside needed the engagement, support and leadership of our community to make these things happen.

“Better together;” doing things “The Riverside Way”.

“We have our own style here, our swagger…but I call it, The Riverside Way,” to which Mayor Bailey described as

  • Collaborative…we are ‘better together’
  • Welcoming…we make new people feel at ease and at home; old Riverside accepts new Riverside like no other
  • Relational…meaningful conversations build meaningful relationships

“My challenge to you is to believe in the Riverside Way, and to commit yourself and to make yourself available to the Riverside Way in 2013. Available to serve your family, available to serve your neighborhoods, and available to serve YOUR city,” challenged Bailey. “To do this, we build upon the four pillars of our strategic plan, Seizing Our Destiny: Intelligent Growth, Catalyst for Innovation, Location of Choice and Unified City.” (Click here to read Riverside’s definitions for each.)

Bailey’s commitments for 2013 included:

Intelligent Growth

  • Leveraging our relationships with Sister Cities to create economic opportunities for Riverside
  • Making weekly school and business visits
  • Keeping the UCR School of Medicine Creation a top priority
  • Continuation of the Education Roundtable to continue the work of Completion Counts and create new approaches to ensure we are enabling our students to be the best and brightest
  • Organizing a Business Roundtable to create policy and programs that help Riverside businesses create jobs for our community

Catalyst for Innovation

  • Increasing green and sustainable programs and businesses in Riverside
  • Creating an Innovation Center on Main Street Riverside that supports new entrepreneurs and start-up businesses
  • Supporting the creation of the Riverside Entrepreneurial Academy with the four universities and colleges in Riverside to grow our own entrepreneurs

Location of Choice

  • Telling Our Story: “ensuring the Riverside we know and love becomes the Riverside that everyone knows and loves; we are a new side of classic California”
  • Developing a 21st century transportation network, including a streetcar plan to help college students have easier access to our retail centers and entertainment hubs

Unified City

  • Continuing Mayor’s Night Out and Walk with Mayor events
  • Spending time with each of the City Councilmembers in their Wards and with city staff in all departments
  • Continue building bridges and cultivating relationships to deepen our historic roots and promoting the Riverside Way
  • Promoting a healthier lifestyle for all Riversiders
  • Encouraging Riversiders to commit to helping others and the community

Mayor Bailey concluded his inaugural State of the City address with this challenge:

“What is your destiny in Riverside? This is YOUR city. This is YOUR moment. Whatever your destiny is, let’s achieve it together.  After all, THAT is the Riverside Way.”

To watch the full 2013 State of the City address, click here.

RUSD Schools Nutrition Official Named to State Panel

Rodney Taylor, director of nutrition services for Riverside Unified School District since 2002, will serve on the California State Board of Food and Agriculture.

Gov. Jerry Brown announced the appointment in December.

RodneyTaylor“My appointment to the State Board of Food and Agriculture is an outgrowth of the work we are doing in the district to provide students with locally grown fresh fruits and vegetables as an innovative way to modify children’s eating behaviors,” explained Taylor. “These activities support Riverside’s vision for being a catalyst for innovation, where we cultivate and support useful and beneficial ideas that lead to more inventive and multi-disciplinary approaches to address local, state and global issues.”

Taylor was director of food and nutrition services at Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District from 1992 to 2002 and management consultant for food services at Marriott Corporation from 1989 to 1992.

He is currently an executive committee member of the Network for a Healthy California, a member of the University of California, President’s Advisory Commission on Agriculture and Natural Resources, and serves on the Champions Council for Seizing Our Destiny.

For more information on RUSD’s school nutrition programs, visit their website here.

Riverside’s Pick Group Holds Campaign to Increase Volunteerism

The Pick Group is calling on young professionals and the Riverside community at large to participate in the “Pick and Pledge” challenge, through January 31st, to promote volunteerism in 2013. The Pick Group matches volunteers with local nonprofits and ask participants to publish their pledges via social media on the Pick Group Facebook page. At the same time, the Pick Group is highlighting Riverside area non-profits through the Pick Group website and its social media pages. The Pick Group is a local organization that offers young professionals social, professional and civic opportunities.

“This is our 5th year hosting ‘Pick and Pledge’, but the first time we’ve tried a month long social media presence instead of a single event. Our hope is that we’ll be able to build on our experience and reach a wider audience,” shared Pick Group board member Samantha Jobelius.

Pick Group Board Members pictured with their volunteer pledges for 2013.

The group will also host an opportunity drawing for the Volunteer Tool-Kit. The tool-kit is a basket full of items valued at $150.00 to help the winner be the ultimate volunteer. Pick members and residents who make a commitment are asked to print out the “Pick and Pledge” flyer available on the website, write in the number of hours they commit to do in 2013, and post a picture of themselves holding the flyer onto the Pick Group Facebook page (www.facebook.com/pickgroup) or email (membership@pickriverside.org) to the group for posting. Organizers hope to both keep track of participation and help participants be accountable to one another.

Board members of the Pick Group will be leading the way in this challenge. All 18 board members have pledged combined volunteer hours of over 2000 hours and the group will be highlighting their pledges on the The Pick Group social media pages on Facebook(www.facebook.com/pickgroup), Twitter (www.twitter.com/pickgroup), and LinkedIn(http://www.linkedin.com/in/pickgroup).

“The benefits of volunteering are enormous to you, your family, and community,” says Pick Group board member Jesse Limon. “Giving back allows a volunteer to create new friendships, connections with community, learning new skills, and even advance a career.”

The Pick Group aims to develop not only its members, but invest in our wider community. “We think the best young professionals are those that have an ethic of service and care about the public square as much as their personal careers.”

This past November, local nonprofits rallied around the inaugural ‘Give Big Riverside‘ event as a way to increase philanthropy in the Riverside community.  The Pick Group’s volunteer pledge campaign will provide another valuable resource to our local organizations – manpower – and demonstrates the increasing collaboration and compassion growing throughout this ‘Unified City‘.

Riverside Honors King’s Legacy

(Includes excerpts written by Alicia Robinson, Gail Wesson and Erin Waldner as published on January 21, 2013 on PE.com)

The life and work of Martin Luther King Jr. were commemorated by Inland area residents with a 5K walk, a park clean-up, music, speeches, and other events on Monday, Jan. 21.

In Riverside, the sun shined on walkers as they filed from the Eastside and through downtown for the annual walk.


After a few warm-up exercises at Bordwell Park on Riverside’s Eastside, an estimated 700 to 800 people set off down Martin Luther King Boulevard, stretching out into a ribbon of figures in bright blue T shirts that ended at Riverside City College. They passed the King statue on the Main Street mall, where some stopped to take pictures. The 20th annual Martin Luther King Jr. Walk-a-thon was organized by the Riverside African American Historical Society and the Martin Luther King Visionaries.

Ley Yeager, 65, said it was important for him to be at the walk for “a million reasons. On the day of the (presidential) inauguration, it’s so symbolic.”

Yeager, a retired teacher and school administrator, said in the more than four decades he has lived in Riverside, he has seen increased efforts to embrace the city’s diverse population.

“Riverside at its best is very, very inclusive,” he said.

Brian Moore, 31, was a co-chairman of the event, the theme of which was “Dr. King’s dream … No one left behind.”

Moore said younger generations like his have reaped the benefit of the work of civil rights pioneers like King. Participating in the walk is a way to show appreciation, and also to acknowledge the health challenges of obesity and diabetes that the African-American community in particular faces, he said.

The annual walk is a prime example of Riversiders brought together around common interests and concerns, while celebrating our diverse communities to accelerate the common good for all.

To read the full article as published on PE.com, click here.

For more information about Martin Luther King, Jr. and his legacy of inspiring positive social change through education and active leadership, click here.


Former Mayor to Lead UC Riverside Research Center

(Includes excerpts from the article published by UCR Today on January 11, 2013)

Ronald O. Loveridge, who has played an active leadership role in local, regional and state government for more than 30 years, has been named director of the Center for Sustainable Suburban Development at the University of California, Riverside, effective Jan. 1.

Loveridge, who has been an associate professor of political science at UCR since 1965, succeeds Anil Deolalikar, a UCR professor of economics who has been CSSD’s director since July 2009.

Ronald O. Loveridge (source: UCR Today)
Ronald O. Loveridge
(source: UCR Today)

“I am excited tor return to the campus both to teach and to lead CSSD,” Loveridge said. “The center will support, and connect, the best of academic research with important policy choices for a sustainable future for this region and Southern California.”

Well-known regionally and nationally for his active leadership roles in a variety of local, state and national organizations, Loveridge served the city of Riverside for 33 years, first as a city councilman from 1979 to 1994, then as its mayor from 1994 to December 2012.

As mayor, he taught one course a year at UCR, “Local Leadership in California.” With his retirement as mayor of Riverside, he will focus his attention at UCR on research related to the growth of suburbs, public policy, urban planning, transportation, air quality, and the intersection of cities and natural lands.

“It is exciting to see Ron take the helm of the Center for Sustainable Suburban Development.  He brings a combination of leadership, experience, scholarship, and commitment to environmental issues that will serve the community and the university well,” said Martin Johnson, chair of the  Department of Political Science at UCR.

In his new capacity, this impassioned leader and former Seizing Our Destiny Co-Chair will be able to leverage the experiences and successes of our community with the resources and talent at UC Riverside to continue creating, supporting and implementing public policy that improves the overall quality of life for all.

To read the full article as published on UCR Today, click here.

Radio Show Offers History, Insight and Call to Action for Seizing Our Destiny

Last fall, Seizing Our Destiny Co-Chair Damien O’Farrell and Gina Airey, Director of Implementation, were guests on the City of Riverside Office of Economic Development radio show, Explore Riverside Weekly, to talk about the history, purpose, progress and outlook for the strategic vision that has become a movement towards an even better quality of life for all Riversiders.

Riverside“This is our opportunity to do for Riverside what others cannot do for us,” stated O’Farrell.  Airey added, “This is a rallying cry for everyone to tell and share Riverside’s story…as well as provide a ‘hub’ for the movement.”

Although some of the dates and references have passed*, the conversation with Gina and Damien provides an in-depth and extremely relevant perspective into how Seizing Our Destiny came to be, and why this community plan is different – and why the momentum and excitement that it first created continues to grow throughout the social, organizational and geographic web of Riverside.

“Often we make plans to address a certain issue or start a certain project and there are other groups that are already doing similar work that we can connect with, and together have a greater impact,” stated O’Farrell as he described just one of the benefits of an overarching, collaboration-building effort like Seizing Our Destiny.

To hear more, listen to the full podcast.

*note: the Community Survey that is referenced to be held in November was pushed back to spring 2013.

Students at UC Riverside Play Integral Role in Student Recreation Center Expansion Project

(Includes excerpts from a December 19, 2012 article written by Ross French and published on UCR Today)

In December, UCR Today announced the start of construction on a $37.2 million expansion of its Student Recreation Center (SRC).  The project has been extensively student-driven, with both undergraduate and graduate students playing key roles in the research, development and execution of the expansion. Even the funding will come from a $149 per quarter fee that students approved in a referendum in 2010.

An artist’s rendering of the cardio area at the Student Recreation Center expansion. Source: UCR Today
An artist’s rendering of the cardio area at the Student Recreation Center expansion. Source: UCR Today

“From the beginning this has been a student driven project, and that’s why I think it has been a success,” said Jenni Deveau, a psychology graduate student and member of the Recreation Facilities Governing Board. “Students gave input on their experience at the current Rec Center and what they wanted for the future, they were given the choice through an election whether they wanted to implement these changes knowing the financial impact, and there has been student representation and input on all aspects of the design and construction of the new building.”

“The students have been in charge of the program and the purse strings all along,” UCR Campus Architect Don Caskey said. “They were an integral part of the project management committee. They were there every step of the way, through the detailed project program, the student referendum, the space programming and architectural design, and even when we were reviewing the bids that came in.”

To meet University of California green-building requirements, the new Recreation Center has been designed to meet LEED Silver Certification. Its features include lower operating costs, reduced waste sent to landfills, and energy and water conservation.

Of the new amenities being added, for many students the best part of the new facility will be the extensive aquatics complex, which will feature a lap pool, recreation pool and a vortex pool, which is a round pool that features a slight current that can be walked against as an aerobic workout.

Involving the student population in the planning, design and project management of a large-scale LEED construction project demonstrates the caliber of educational opportunities in Riverside, proving once again this community is a trendsetter in inventive and multi-disciplinary approaches in learning.

To read the full article as published on UCR Today, click here.