The Community Foundation San Luis Obispo County Awards

The Isabel P. Ruiz Humanitarian Award

This Award annually recognizes and rewards a local individual for outstanding efforts in advocacy and caring for people in San Luis Obispo County. This award is designed to honor the dedication and commitment to caring exhibited by the late Isabel P. Ruiz. Mrs. Ruiz came to America in 1973 as a medical doctor (OB/GYN) trained in her native Peru. She worked and helped local people with accessing and utilizing the health care system. She was a role model for the Latino community as well as for women. In everything she did, she worked to overcome barriers, improve the system of care for all, and advocate for the rights of the under-represented. Her philosophy was to “be the bridge” whenever opportunities arise to help an individual become more self-sufficient.

Mrs. Ruiz’s approach was to think outside the box, be open to new ideas and risk, identify solutions, take action for long-term impact, educate those in power about the issues and potential solutions, support colleagues in trying new strategies, and serve as a mentor, recognizing the potential of others and fostering their growth to succeed.

This award is designed to 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.

Eligibility Requirements

  • Resident of San Luis Obispo County
  • Demonstrated selfless desire to help others
  • Demonstrated community leadership in San Luis Obispo County
  • Demonstrated steady, ongoing advocacy to create change
  • Demonstrated ability to influence others to create change

The Paul Wolff Accessibility Advocacy Award (PWAAA)

Presented by the Access for All (AFA) Fund, recognizes and rewards individuals, community organizations, and businesses for outstanding efforts to create a more accessible San Luis Obispo County.

Eligibility Requirements

Individuals, community organizations, and businesses are eligible for this award. The nominee must be a resident or located within San Luis Obispo County. The qualifying activity for this award must have been accomplished within San Luis Obispo County or must be of benefit to individuals with disabilities who live, work or visit the County.

The award nomination form is available each January and is due by end of March. The award recipients are announced in May.

Please follow this link to access the nomination form for the Paul Wolff Accessibility Advocacy Award.

Growing Together Initiative Fund LGBTQ Award

An annual award presented by Growing Together: An LGBTQ Fund, given to an individual, business or organization demonstrating ongoing support of social justice, inclusivity and equality for the LGBTQ community in San Luis Obispo County through philanthropy, business practices, direct services, advocacy or community action.

Eligibility Requirements

Nominations may be submitted by individuals, community groups, service organizations or local businesses. Nominees must live or work in San Luis Obispo County.

Screening Criteria

  • Business policies that support equality and inclusivity for LBGTQ clients, customers or staff
  • Contributions, advocacy and actions that support equality and inclusivity for the LBGTQ community
  • Having a positive impact on the LGBTQ community

The award nomination form is available in late May and is due by the third Friday of June. Award recipients are announced in July at the annual Pride in the Plaza celebration held in Mission Plaza.

Please follow this link to access the information guide for Growing Together: An LGBTQ Fund LGBTQ Award.

Women of Distinction Award

The purpose of the program is to celebrate Women’s History Month (March) and recognize the contribution that local women have made in the areas of volunteering in the community, their profession and philanthropy. Cuesta College and The Community Foundation’s Women’s Legacy Fund collaborate to present the Women of Distinction Awards, which honor women from San Luis Obispo County for their outstanding achievements and contributions. There are four award categories:

Progress for Women: Awarded to a woman whose commitment to a program or issue of special relevance to women has helped to improve the quality of life for women. As an example: arts, science, health, etc.

Community and Public Service, Professional: Awarded to a woman who has, by her profession, distinguished herself by outstanding professional service to the community.

Community and Public Service, Volunteer: Awarded to a woman who has distinguished herself as a volunteer by providing outstanding service to the community.

Grace N. Mitchell Lifetime Achievement: Awarded to a woman with distinguished service and dedication to women in more than one of the three categories, and over an extended length of time throughout her professional or volunteer career.

Please follow this link to access the nomination form for the Women of Distinction Award during the month of January.

The award nomination form is available each December and is due by end of January. The award recipients are announced each March at a ceremony held at Cuesta College.


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Cassandra Wagner Director of Grants & Programs 805-543-2323