Awards and Recognition

Each year, the New Haven Schools Foundation recognizes individuals and organizations that have exceeded all expectations in support of our programs. These awards bestow our highest honors and are named after local education’s biggest advocates.

Guy Emanuele Community Service Award

The Guy Emanuele Community Service Award is presented to a person who has devoted extensive amounts of time and resources to the Foundation, generally in a sustained manner over a number of years. Emanuele founded NHSF in 1981 for the purpose of coordinating community resources in support of education and is the inspiration for this honor.

2024 - Michael Ritchie

Michael Ritchie has served on the NHSF Board of Directors since 2010, after successfully spearheading the New Haven Boosters Association’s drive to save student activities during severe budget cuts. Best known as chair of our Earth Day Fun Run events, in recent years he has also organized our Stars on Stage fundraising events. Part of our Executive Committee, he has been Vice President of NHSF since 2019.

2023 - Tracie Noriega

Tracie was the district appointee for the NHSF for six years and served as Secretary. She was also the liaison for PASE, the Pilipino American Society for Education, and helped coordinate a large block of scholarships. Tracie provided an important educational viewpoint as we evaluated grant applications and selected programs for funding. She supported every fundraiser and activity hosted by our organization – always supporting our students and our schools.

2022 - Cathie Kelly

Cathie was a substitute teacher and served as an elected School Board Trustee for 12 years. She is also a former board member of the NHSF and created and runs Miss Kelly’s Closet at the Union City Family Center, helping to provide clothing for needy students.

2020 - Rhonda Neagle

Rhonda Neagle has served on the NHSF board since 2011 when she retired as an administrator for NHUSD. Half that time she was Secretary and kept the nonprofit records. She is the Wrangler in Chief of the annual Mutt Strut, and raises her hand to volunteer wherever she is needed.

2019 - Albert and Marsha Badella
Al and Marsha are two of the most community-minded individuals in the Tri-Cities. They sponsor five scholarships to graduating seniors every year and are huge supporters of our annual Mutt Strut event. They also support Washington Hospital, Kiwanis, Bookleggers, and many more local causes.
2018 - Richard Valle
As Alameda County Supervisor for District 2, Richard always supports New Haven students and schools. He serves on the Advisory Board for NHSF, and has a long track record of community service. Over the years, he has provided office space and supplies, prizes for our fundraising events, pancakes for our Mutt Strut, and whatever else we may need. He raised funds for the Steinway piano at the Performing Arts Center, and has championed funding for the arts, athletics, sciences, and so many more programs in our schools.
2017 – Don del Pilar

Don retired from his role as a counselor with New Haven Unified School District, but he hasn’t gone far. He continues to serve as an active volunteer on school campuses and is a board member for the New Haven Schools Foundation. In addition, Don provides funding for a number of college scholarships every year, and is a key member of the Pilipino American Society for Education (PASE.)

2016 – Cheryl Kuhlmann
Cheryl taught at Logan High School for more than 20 years, instructing students in French and coaching them on leadership skills, and generally helping to guide students to be their best self. She was well known for designing and building fabulous floats for the Homecoming parade, and brought these skills to the NHSF annual galas. No job was ever too big. Cheryl fosters comradery, and assists wherever help is needed.
2015 – Eileen Riener
Prior to joining the Foundation, Riener was an active volunteer at Eastin Elementary, Alvarado Middle School, and James Logan High School. She joined the New Haven Boosters Association in 2010 to help save enrichment programs in our schools, and continues to be a tireless, dedicated volunteer with NHSF.
2014 – Barbara Aro-Valle
Upon her retirement from her position as Executive Director of the Foundation, Aro-Valle was recognized for over 20 years of involvement with NHSF and in support of students. She served in numerous volunteer capacities, and managed the operations of the Foundation and its programs.
2012 – Julie Zhu
Julie represents Fremont Bank on the Board of Directors and regularly goes above and beyond the call of duty to maximize NHSF support for students. She was Treasurer of the Foundation and continues to be a member of our Finance committee, offering expert advice and providing insight into our reports and investments. She is a member of most of our event committees and manages the process of awarding the Fremont Bank scholarship.
2011 – Jo Baig

Jo Baig was an active Foundation board member for over 30 years. She first joined as part of her official capacity as Vice President and Branch Manager for Bank of the West in Union City and went on to serve as the board’s Co-Treasurer after her retirement. She continues to support NHSF programs and ideals. Jo is also an active coach and instructor for SCORE.

2010 – Phil Crosby
Crosby was President of the New Haven Schools Foundation from 2007 through 2010. He facilitated the regorganization of the Foundation as an independent 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation. With his strong leadership, the Foundation strengthened its board and embarked on a strategic planning process.
2009 – Art Kuhlmann

Kuhlmann has served on the Foundation board for over 25 years. Art is a retired employee of the New Haven Unified School District, but stayed actively involved as a volunteer for many years. Upon his retirement from NHSF, we created an annual award to honor an exemplary scholarship sponsor and named it after Art and his wife, Cheryl.

The Tom Kitayama Business Service Award

The Tom Kitayama Business Service Award, named in honor of Union City’s longtime mayor, recognizes a business in the community that has provided extraordinary support for the New Haven Schools Foundation and its programs. Contributions may include sponsorship, monetary or in-kind donations, or provision of resources that help us to offer quality programs for our schools.

2024 - Republic Services

As one of the biggest supporters of New Haven Schools Foundation, Republic Services is a strong voice for education in our community. Republic’s environmental services and automotive technology scholarships help build the workforce of tomorrow, and their Earth Day sponsorships help spread the word on climate change. Thank you to Republic Services for being a champion for our students and schools!

2023 - Washington Township Medical Foundation

As part of the NHSF family, Washington Township Medical Foundation has supported our programs to enhance the educational experience and create a bright future for our students. Besides being a key sponsor and benefactor, WTMF can be seen serving on our board of directors and in attendance at our fundraising events. We see them walking their dogs at the Mutt Strut, presenting scholarship awards, and raising their hands to bid at our auctions.

2022 - Lions Club of Union City

The Lions Club has sponsored college scholarships for decades. The organization supports NHSF fundraisers and its members have served on our board and as volunteers at our events. The Lions also helped build the greenhouse at Kitayama Elementary School.

2020 - Oh Cake!

Laurel Seymour Beebe, founder and chief baker for Oh Cake!, is famous for crafting the spectacular cakes that we auction off at our Diamonds in Education galas. She has been a tremendous supporter of the Foundation and epitomizes community involvement.

2020 - Tom's Flowers

Tom Medeiros, owner of Tom’s Flowers, has been a NHSF partner as long as we have been having events. He provides all of our floral arrangements and centerpieces, ensure our guests always have fresh flowers for our scholarship luncheon and annual gala.

2019 - Rotary Club of FUN Sunset
The Rotary Club of Fremont, Union City, and Newark (FUN) Sunset has been an outstanding community partner. A number of Rotarians even serve on our board of directors, and many of them are graduates of James Logan High School. Through Rotary’s “Chili Pepper Challenge” fundraiser, the organization has raised over $13,000 for NHSF programs.
2018 - New Haven Unified School District
NHUSD has been our partner since the Foundation was founded in 1981 by then Superintendent Guy Emanuele. Since our spinoff as an independent nonprofit in 2007, the district has helped us by providing meeting space, supporting our events and funding NHAA scholarships. District staff serve on our board and advisory board, and help us wherever it is needed.
2017 – City of Union City
The City’s participation with the New Haven Schools Foundation has helped us in many ways. We hold events at City buildings and parks. Staff members in the UC Cares group help us prepare for our events and offer guidance and support. The Police Explorers always volunteer to help us control traffic and parking. They donate auction prizes to help us raise funds, and many City staff and commissioners contribute to scholarship funds on a monthly basis.

2016 – Washington Hospital Healthcare System

Washington Hospital has always been a tremendous supporter of the New Haven Schools Foundation, and 2015 was no exception. They were a sponsor of our annual gala, our scholarship luncheon, our Mutt Strut, and of course, they funded a scholarship for a deserving New Haven student. They take community-mindedness very seriously, and this is evidenced on a daily basis in everything they do.
2015 – Kaiser Permanente
Kaiser has been one of the most consistent corporate sponsors of NHSF for over 10 years. It regularly sponsors events, donates health-related materials for distribution at our programs, and even helped fill a classroom grant request. A Kaiser employee, Rena Cota, served on the NHSF board. Kaiser employees may contribute to NHSF through a payroll deduction program, and have an opportunity to learn about NHSF at Kaiser’s community forums.
2014 – Too Much Fun Club, Inc.
Owner Bridget Russell serves on the board of the Foundation, and is best known for using her magic and resources to make our annual gala our most successful fundraiser. She has chaired numerous events for the youth in our schools, and understands the importance of education and the value of community partnership. Bridget played a critical role in the fundraising drive with the New Haven Boosters Association that netted over $200,000 in 2011-12 to save student activities.
2013 – Fremont Bank
Fremont Bank has been a great business partner and sponsor for the Foundation since its inception in 1981. Accepting for the bank was Brian Hughes, Executive Vice President, Nonprofit Group, and President, Fremont Bank Foundation. Community Relations Manager Julie Zhu has served on the NHSF board since 2005 serving as a director and Treasurer.
2012 – Masonic Homes of California
The Masonic Homes is both a landmark in the community and a steadfast supporter of NHSF. As a regular sponsor of many events and activities, the company is most appreciated for hosting our annual Mutt Strut event and welcoming our community to their beautiful property. Masonic Homes has also supported NHSF through facilitation of the strategic planning process.
2011 – Tri-CED Community Recycling
It is impossible to ennumerate the many ways that Tri-CED has supported the Foundation over the years. They offer regular financial support through event sponsorship, provide funding for scholarships, and make many in-kind contributions that help us to minimize expenses. Tri-CED staff, led by CEO Richard Valle and Barbara Aro-Valle, are regular volunteers at Foundaton events.

Art and Cheryl Kuhlmann Award

This award was created to recognize a person or organization that helps students achieve a higher education by providing one or more scholarships to graduating New Haven students.

Art Kuhlmann served on the Board of Directors for New Haven Schools Foundation from 1982 through 2017 and Cheryl taught at Logan High School for 20 years. Since retirement from NHUSD, they volunteered with the New Haven Schools Foundation, and are very generous donors, as well. The Kuhlmann’s received a Lifetime Achievement Award in 2017 when this award was created in their honor.

2023 - The Blue Family

The Blue family created the Ross Blue Memorial Scholarship in 1997. Ross Blue was a teacher at James Logan High School for 25 years. He was also a water polo and swim coach, scout leader, church youth group leader, and a frequent speaker at the Hayward City Council meetings. As of today, the Blue family has awarded 51 scholarships to students throughout the years. Each of these students carry Mr. Blue’s legacy as they give back to their communities. 

2022 - District African American Advisory

D3A, as it is commonly called, is a group of educators, parents, and involved residents who actively support academic excellence in our youth. Their scholarship program was launched in 2016 and grows every year through fundraisers and generous donations, helping more students attend college every year.

2021 - PASE (Pilipino American Society for Education)

As an organization of committed educators, PASE’s focus has been two-pronged. First, they aim to ensure Filipino-American students understand the history and impact of their culture. They lobbied the State of California for the inclusion of Filipino culture in ethnic studies programs throughout the state. Locally, they supported renaming a middle school in honor of civil rights activists Larry Itliong and Philip Vera-Cruz. Their second mission focuses directly on students and includes a robust scholarship program that recognizes the work of today’s youth.

2020 - The Kitayama Family

As a legacy commitment to the youth of the city, the Kitayama family has provided support for the Foundation’s grants program and they began awarding scholarships from the beginnings of the Foundation’s program in 1981. It was named the Tom Kitayama Jr. Memorial after Tom Jr. passed away in 1983. It again changed to the Tom Kitayama Jr. and Sr. Memorial with Tom Sr.’s death in 2007. After Heidi’s death in 2013, it became the Kitayama Family Scholarship. The fund has been supported over the years by many family and friends in their honor.

2019 - Randy and Maria Inciong
The Inciong’s established two scholarships with the New Haven Schools Foundation in 2012 and their fund has grown year after year. These two scholarships were in memory of their daughter, Zoe, a truly amazing daughter, sister, niece, cousin, friend, teammate. Zoe Means Life was named in her honor as she bravely battled cancer. The Zoe Means Life Scholar Athlete awards go to students who, like Zoe, excelled both academically and athletically.
2018 - Migrant Parents Advisory Committee
The Migrant PAC offer advocacy and outreach programs and also provide scholarships every year to graduating students. The organization was founded in 1966. At that time, Union City was known for its farms and gladiola fields, and many, primarily Latino, workers migrated here as seasonal laborers, bringing their children with them. These parents whoput their children’s education first and sacrificed so they could succeed academically and go on to college.
2017 – Tim and Denise Lawson-Curry
Tim and Denise founded the Lawson-Curry 1983 scholarship to commemorate the 30th anniversary of their graduation from James Logan High School and to establish a legacy for the future. The school’s inspiring teachers, as well as its size and diversity, had a profound effect on their lives and led to successful careers. As of the time this award was bestowed, they had provided at least two $5000 scholarships annually, totaling $51,000 in financial aid to graduating Logan students.

Scholarship Donors

Thank you to all of the people and organizations who sponsor scholarships to help our students succeed in life!

Over $5,000 Annually

  • Tim Curry & Denise Lawson-Curry
  • Arthur & Marsha Badella
  • Michael Byron & Catherine Duterte-Byron
  • Michael and Cindy O'Brien
  • District African American Advisory
  • PASE - Pilipino-American Society for Education
  • Don del Pilar and Barbara Scheifler
  • Evangelista-Bobadilla Family Fund
  • Republic Services