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Isabel P. Ruiz Humanitarian Award


Established by the late Bill Broadbent in 2007, the Isabel P. Ruiz Humanitarian Award annually recognizes and rewards a local individual for outstanding efforts in advocacy and caring for local people in San Luis Obispo County. This award is also designed to highlight and encourage those who follow in Mrs. Ruiz's footsteps to remain committed to community organizing and advocacy to improve the lives of everyone in San Luis Obispo County.

Click here to submit a nomination form for 2018.


Tribute to Bill Broadbent

The Community Foundation community lost a good friend earlier this year with the passing of Bill Broadbent, San Luis Obispo realtor and philanthropist.  Bill was born in Hollywood, California and attended Cal Poly, graduating in 1956.  He earned his M.B.A. at Cornell University and returned to San Luis Obispo where he and Ed Arnett established Arnett & Broadbent Real Estate, Inc., a firm that he headed for nearly 50 years.  A past president of the San Luis Obispo Association of Realtors, Bill specialized in investment, exchange, and counseling.

In 2007, Bill established two Funds with theCommunity Foundation.  The Irene H. Broadbent Music Scholarship Fund, established to honor Bill’s mother, a pianist and music teacher, provides financial support to local students pursuing higher education in music.  Bill also established the Isabel P. Ruiz Humanitarian Award Endowment Fund, named in honor of Ms. Ruiz, a local community organizer and advocate.  This Award recognizes and rewards local individuals for outstanding work in advocacy and caring for local people in need in our county.  Ms. Ruiz, a medical doctor, emigrated to the U.S. from Peru and worked to help local people gain access to the health care system.  Her philosophy was to be “the bridge” to help individuals overcome barriers, integrate into their communities, and become more self-sufficient.  Mr. Broadbent was a longtime family friend of the Ruiz family.  “He was a quiet man with great wisdom to share.  We were so fortunate to call him a friend for over 25 years,” said David Ruiz, Ms. Ruiz’s son.  “We so appreciate what he did to establish the Award to honor my mother.”

Through his generosity, Bill Broadbent has left us all a legacy that will continue to benefit our community for years to come.

2015 Award Recipient Ingrid E. Pires

Foundation Director of Grants Janice Fong Wolf and Napoleon Ruiz present the Humanitarian Award to Ingrid E. Pires along with her husband, Tony.

The Community Foundation presented the 9th Annual Isabel P. Ruiz Humanitarian Award to Ingrid E. Pires before an audience at the Pismo Beach City Council Chambers.

For more than 20 years, Ingrid Pires has made an indelible mark on the lives of thousands of individuals and families in San Luis Obispo County.  Through her work with low-income families and parents she provided nonjudgmental parent education, in-home counseling, practical support and advocacy.

She has worked and volunteered with Hospice of SLO, and currently works with Wilshire Hospice as the Bereavement Manager of the Center for Grief Education and Healing.  In this role she initiated Latino outreach bereavement services in Spanish and collaborated with others to put on annual Dia de los Muertos celebrations.  She utilizes many modalities in her work such as Sand Play, Soul Collage, visualization and mindfulness; mentoring and encouraging others in bringing creativity to their grief work.

Dozens of tribute letters were sent in with her nomination, attesting to the wide array of people whose lives were positively impacted by Ingrid’s compassion, strength, caring and support.

2014 Award Recipient Sjany De Groot

The award was presented to Ms. De Groot by Napoleon Ruiz, Isabel's husband and David Ruiz, Isabel's son.

The Community Foundation presented the 8th Annual Isabel P. Ruiz Humanitarian Award to Sjany De Groot at the De Groot Nursing Home for Children in San Luis Obispo. 

For over 30 years Sjany De Groot has dedicated her life to caring for special needs children, aged 0-5. She provides a unique and loving environment for severely disabled children who have no other options, and dignity to many of these children who are terminally ill.

Many of these children come from homes that that are unable to provide the care they need to be comfortable and safe. Mrs. De Groot has used her personal resources to selflessly provide loving care to these medically fragile children.

She runs and staffs the home, and is a registered nurse. The home is a licensed intermediate care facility for developmentally-disabled children who require intermittent nursing care. 

Her nominator for the award said "Sjany's life story is filled with miracles and blessings, and her compassion is fuled by her resolve to always help the helpless and voiceless in society. She survived the Nazi occupation of Holland. She has vowed and dedicated her life to protecting children. She is a modern saint who deserves this award."


For more information about the Isabel P. Ruiz Humanitarian Award, contact Len Smolburd, Grants Manager at (805) 543-2323.

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