Stanford's Community Partnership Awards recognize work of DreamCatchers, Canopy, InnVision and Stanford Project on Hunger

Winners are selected based on their initiative, leadership and involvement in projects that embody the spirit of genuine partnership and benefit the overall community.

Marina Forte Elementary school children planting a tree

Among Canopy's projects is its Healthy Trees, Healthy Kids! Program.

Three community groups and a Stanford University student group that are tackling real world problems and advancing the public good in neighboring cities have been named winners of Stanford's 2012 Community Partnership Awards.

This year's winners are: DreamCatchers, an after-school program for low-income youth; Canopy, which is devoted to preserving trees and planting more; and InnVision and Stanford Project on Hunger, a collaboration between a group that provides housing and services to homeless people and a student group that collects, saves and prepares unused, leftover food on campus for distribution to the hungry.

The awards, created in 2003 by the university's Office of Public Affairs, will be presented during a luncheon on April 25. David Demarest, vice president for public affairs at Stanford, will present the awards.

Winners are selected based on their initiative, leadership and involvement in projects that embody the spirit of genuine partnership and that benefit the overall community. In each case, the projects have resulted in collaboration and better understanding between Stanford and communities of the Mid-Peninsula.

At the same luncheon, Demarest also will honor the 2012 Miriam Aaron Roland Volunteer Service Prize winner, Dr. Gabriel Garcia of the Stanford School of Medicine. The Haas Center for Public Service awards the prize annually to a faculty member who has engaged and involved students in integrating academic scholarship with significant and meaningful volunteer service to society.

2012 Community Partnership Award Winners

DreamCatchers, an afterschool program based in Palo Alto, takes a two-pronged approach to improving the lives of low-income youth through its Academic Program and its Healthy Behaviors Program. The programs are aimed not only at improving academic outcomes and health behaviors of its students, but also at cultivating the skills crucial to lifelong success, including self-confidence, goal-setting, accountability and work ethic.

DreamCatchers works through a network of local partnerships – the Palo Alto Family YMCA, the Palo Alto Adult School, Palo Alto Unified School District and Palo Alto Housing Corporation – to provide programs tailored to the specific needs of the youth and families.

Initiated a few years ago by Stanford students, the programs are led by students and recent graduates, who also serve in capacities ranging from tutors to site directors.

Canopy is dedicated to protecting and expanding the urban forest in Palo Alto, East Palo Alto and neighboring communities. With a shared goal to expand the urban forest, Canopy has provided countless Stanford students, staff and alumni with the volunteer opportunity to plant trees and improve the local environment.

Canopy's Healthy Trees, Healthy Kids! Program, a multi-year initiative to plant 1,000 shade trees and fruit trees, engages children and volunteers in educational activities and the planting of hundreds of trees on school grounds.

InnVision is the leading provider of shelter and services for homeless and at-risk individuals and families in Silicon Valley. The organization is in a partnership with Stanford students engaged in public service through a number of programs, including Stanford Project on Hunger, also known as SPOON.

SPOON volunteers collect food that would otherwise be wasted from campus dining halls, row houses, eating clubs and special events. The food is later reheated and turned into meals by Opportunity Center in Palo Alto, which uses food from Stanford to create and serve meals throughout the week.

InnVision, which helped develop the Opportunity Center, manages the center, and coordinates services provided to individuals and families by many nonprofit groups.

Kate Chesley, University Communications, (650) 725-3697,