2016 Honorees To Be Announced Soon
Our Honorees from 2015:
Arts and Culture Icon Award
Mary Stallings is a Bay area native, born and raised in San Francisco’s Western Addition. She attended First AME Zion Church growing up and it was here that her passion for music took hold. A performance by gospel singing star J. Earl Hines stands out strongly in her memory as the moment she first recognized her calling to be a singer. Although she was a young child at the time, that performance highlighted the first time things started truly making sense to her. Mary Stallings made her musical debut at age 11 with a 78 RPM gospel single recorded at St. John’s Missionary Baptist Church for the local Olliet label. As a teenager, she began performing in nightclubs across the Bay area. At age 18, she spent a week with Louis Jordan’s band at the 53 Club in Oakland. Soon after that, she began singing at Purple Onion, Facks, and other San Francisco venues. She has also opened for comedians such as Lenny Bruce, Shecky Green, and Don Rickles. During her career she has performed at numerous jazz festivals including several years at the legendary Monterey Jazz Festival, the San Francisco Jazz Festival, and Savannah Music Festival. Though she may have been born and raised in San Francisco, her music has expanded far beyond the Bay area. Throughout her musical career Mary Stallings has traveled the world bringing jazz and joy wherever she goes. Her beautiful voice and noteworthy musical career make Mary Stallings a true arts and cultural icon.
Corporate Philanthropy Achievement Award
Assistant Vice President – Western Market
CRA Market Manager Northern California
For thirteen years, Otis Watson has served as the Northern California CRA Market Manager for Comerica Bank-Western Market. Previously, Otis served as Vice President of Corporate Community Development for Union Bank of California. He has nearly thirty years of experience in banking and financial services. In the non-profit field, he has worked as Director of Public Relations and Development for the Alliance for Community Care, a mental health non-profit in San Jose, California. He is proficient in project management, community development, and the administration of charitable contributions. Otis is a past member of the Board of Director’s of the University of California, San Diego, Alumni Association. In addition, he currently serves as a member of the University’s Chancellor Campus-Wide Diversity Council. He is a Board Member of Operation Hope, Northwestern Region. He currently serves a member of the Advisory Council of the Independent Police Auditor for the City of San Jose. He also serves on the Loan Committee for the Northern California Small Business Financial Development Corporation. Otis Watson is an adept problem-solver with excellent communication, organizational, and interpersonal skills and SFHDC is proud to honor him with this year’s Corporate Philanthropy Achievement Award.
Unsung Hero Award
Housing and Community Development Consultant
Rick Harper is currently working as a Housing and Community Development Consultant specializing in helping individuals and families in the areas of housing affordability, financial capability, credit education, and asset accumulation. In 1994, he was employed to establish the Housing Education Program as a division of Consumer Credit Counseling Service of San Francisco. The Housing Education Program was the first HUD Official Housing Counseling Agency in San Francisco which allowed the organization to receive government grant funds every year since 1995 to help support the program. During his time at Consumer Credit Counseling Service he developed and taught over 500 community service workshops and presentations that have assisted thousands of residents toward achieving their dreams of homeownership and avoiding bankruptcy. Rick was also one of the original founders of HomeownershipSF and was their first board chair. He is a current member of the National Industry Standards Committee and wrote the national standards for both rental counseling and foreclosure prevention and loss mitigation. Rick Harper’s outstanding dedication to housing services and financial education has earned him the title of this year’s Unsung Hero Award.
Local Business Pioneer Award
Sam Jordan’s Bar and Grill / Allen Jordan
Sam Jordan opened his bar in 1959. At this time he was already a recognizable member of the community due to his successful boxing career in the San Francisco Golden Gloves. He was a light-heavyweight and won the championship diamond belt in 1948. He became especially popular due to his tendency to sing to the crowd after a win, earning him the nickname “Singing Sam.” His outgoing personality, civil rights work, and youth outreach made him popular and earned him the nickname “The Mayor of Butchertown” (referring to the Bayview – Hunter’s Point area where slaughterhouses and meat-packing companies were prevalent). In 1963, Jordan became the first African American to run for mayor. Sam Jordan’s impressive legacy and extensive community involvement prompted the city to designate his bar as a historical landmark in 2013. His son Alan Jordan currently works there and says the bar and grill maintains a similar role in the community today. It is still a gathering place where people come together to interact and connect with each other. This notable place has also become a bridge to younger generations, connecting them to the rich history present in the Bayview – Hunter’s Point community.
Local Business Pioneer Award
SF Foliage / Siri Datta S. Khalsa
San Francisco Foliage has made it’s home in Bayview-Hunter’s Point since 1989. SF Foliage wholesales tropical plants and decorative containers that adorn homes and businesses all around the Bay Area. President Siri Datta S. Khalsa began his career selling plants on street corners in Los Angeles 35 years ago. Out of those humble beginnings grew a thriving small business that has contributed over $4 million dollars in payroll to the community. SF Foliage is dedicated to hiring locally, with over 50% of its employees coming from the Bayview zip code (94124). In addition to creating jobs, SF Foliage offers job training internships through its Careers in Horticulture program for at risk youth. Since 2009, over 30 local young people have interned in the Careers in Horticulture program, earning them high school credit while they develop job skills in greenhouse nursery and wholesale trades. SF Foliage is also proud to support Bayview community-based organizations like the San Francisco Housing Development Corporation. Some of the plants you see around you tonight are courtesy of San Francisco Foliage.