Silicon Valley’s mostUNIQUE & FUN VIRTUAL event!

Be Our Guest 2020

Each year, elected officials and other local luminaries get togetherto honor the nonprofit communityand compete for the best pumpkin designer awards.

Dave + Suzanne (St. John) Crane
Demone Carter, M.C.


Every year, local celebs (or their loyal staff) create and donate pumpkins and compete in the annual pumpkin contest and fundraising auction.

Nonprofit Impact Awards

Every year, Silicon Valley Council of Nonprofits recognizes leaders and organizations in the nonprofit community who make a positive impact on the community, as well as the efforts of those who support local nonprofits.

In the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, we have created several new categories of awards to recognize those who have worked valiantly throughout this uniquely challenging year to contribute to building safe, healthy, resilient, informed, and equitable community.

The award recipients were honored at SVCN’s Be Our Guest event on October 23, 2020. Learn more about our awardees.

Here are the award categories and the awardees!
Patricia A. Gardner Changemaker Award

This year, we are pleased to rename our Changemaker Award to the "Patricia A. Gardner Changemaker Award" to honor SVCN’s long-time CEO, Patricia Gardner, who was instrumental in nourishing the policy and advocacy voice of nonprofits in Santa Clara County. Patricia’s vision of nonprofit power in unity strengthened many community-based nonprofits and their work throughout the County.

The criteria are:
  • This leader, organization, or collaborative questioned the status quo and was not afraid to work to change policies or practices for the betterment of the community
  • This nominee’s or nominees’ work created positive, lasting change that contributed to building thriving and equitable communities


Milan Balinton

Nonprofit of the Year

This award reflects SVCN’s value of collaboration. The awardees will have worked across boundaries to develop a common vision and shared values; the awardees will have generated outcomes improved by their collaboration. Awardees can be nonprofits and partners working together, or leaders who inspired or led such a collaboration.

The criteria are:
  • This leader, organization, or collaborative has created and nurtured an impactful collaboration or partnership that inspired action, especially if the collaboration worked together to address this year’s challenging circumstances
  • The collaboration has resulted in tangible benefits to the community


COVID-19 Financial Assistance Program, led by Destination: Home, Sacred Heart Community Service, and 68 CBOs

Nonprofit of the Year

This award honors a nonprofit organization that has:

  • Improved the well-being of the communities it serves in creative ways, despite the challenges we have all faced in 2020
  • Extended the benefit of existing services and programs to people who have previously lacked access to those services, supports, or experiences, especially to the BIPOC community or other disadvantaged groups
  • Demonstrated a commitment to share insights and new processes with other nonprofits to enhance the quality of programs and services in the sector as a whole
  • Displayed values and practice of racial equity
  • Engaged and centered constituents beyond providing services
  • Maintained or implemented programming and outcomes that are influenced and improved through connection and partnership with community
  • Lived out meaningful practices of inclusion and empowerment in governance, staffing and staff development, volunteer engagement, Board recruitment, program implementation.


Second Harvestof Silicon Valley

Nonprofit Leadership Award

The future of the nonprofit community is in the hands of emerging leaders who are shaping the future of our sector through their energy, creativity, and exceptional leadership. This award is for individuals working in the nonprofit sector who are early to midway in their careers.

The criteria are:
  • This leader is committed to building an equitable and thriving community
  • This leader has already shown creativity and made significant contributions to our community and to their nonprofit organization
  • This leader has demonstrated the potential for continued leadership in the nonprofit sector


Rachel Carlos-Colston+Melissa Johns

Nonprofit Ally Award

This award will be given to a government, private partner, Board member, or volunteer who has demonstrated an extraordinary level of commitment to the goals and work priorities of Santa Clara County nonprofits during 2020.

The criteria are:
  • This nonprofit ally worked to strengthen nonprofits to carry out their work
  • The nonprofit ally went above and beyond the call of duty to support a nonprofit organization or coalition


SHIP Kits and Numerous Businesses Donating PPE to Nonprofits

Zoombie Room hosts


"Trick or Trivia" Team Captains

Our former celebrity servers have been transformed into Zoombie Room Hosts a.k.a. “Trick-or-Trivia” Team Captains!

They each led a team of nonprofit staff in online competitive games against other nonprofit teams led by other very competitive luminaries. Some were also costumed!

Margaret Abe-Koga
Mayor City of Mountain View
Sylvia Arenas
SJ City Councilmember D8
Hilary Armstrong
SCC Off of County Exec
Leslie Bacho
CEO Second Harvest
Jim Beall
California Senator
Magdalena Carrasco
SJ City Councilmember D5
Kansen Chu
California Assemblymember
Leslye Corsiglia
Dave Cortese
SCC Supervisor D3
Mary Ann Dewan
County Superintendent of Schools
Lan Diep
SJ City Councilmember D4
Susan Ellenberg
SCC Supervisor D4
Michael Elliott
COO Michael Elliott
Maya Esparza
SJ City Councilmember D7
Catherine Crystal Foster
Mary Anne Groen
Chief of Staff, CSJ CM Davis D6
Ash Kalra
California Assemblymember
Larry Klein
Mayor, City of Sunnyvale
Kelly Kline
Chief Econ Dev CSJ Mayor's Office
Michele Lew
CEO The Health Trust
Jennifer Loving
CEO Destination: Home
Matt Mahan
SJ Councilmember-elect D10
Miguel Marquez
Santa Clara County COO
Maribel Martinez
Director Office of LGBTQ Affairs
Molly O'Neal
SCC Public Defender
Protima Pandey
Director Office of Women's Policy
Raul Peralez
SJ City Councilmember D3
Steve Preminger
SCC Off of County Exec
Angel Rios
Deputy City Mgr City of San Jose
Khanh Russo
Senior Dir SF Foundation
Alisa Tantraphol
Dir Philanthropic Engagement, Magnify Community
Alex Tenorio
SV Community Foundation
Lee Wilcox
Chief of Staff City Mgr CSJ
Kevin Zwick
CEO United Way Bay Area

Thank You to our Sponsors!