A businessman who has made philanthropy part of his business model, nonprofit founders who provide services to the homeless and refugees, and a volunteer extraordinaire are among this year’s recipients of the 12th annual New Mexico Humanitarian Award and the 20th annual Harold B. Albert Award.
The awards are sponsored by the Jewish Community Center of Greater Albuquerque, which established the program to honor New Mexicans who have demonstrated an exemplary spirit of humanity and selflessly devoted themselves to help others, while promoting human welfare, care and compassion, social reform, philanthropy and values-based investing in the community.
The recipients will be honored at a dinner on Saturday at Sandia Resort. The awards program last year raised more than $20,000 to support children’s programs, swim and camp scholarships, and community services at the JCC.
The 2019 New Mexico Humanitarian Award recipients are:
⋄ Larry Chavez, owner and CEO of Dreamstyle Remodeling, has incorporated philanthropy as an important part of the company’s mission. He has contributed substantial resources to University of New Mexico athletics, the UNM Children’s Hospital, Popejoy Hall and the Anderson School of Management.
Chavez is a board member of the Albuquerque Community Foundation and Animal Humane New Mexico. He is also a supporter of the JCC and organizations that conduct children’s cancer research, shelter homeless pets and provide services to veterans.
⋄ Tracy Sharp-Weaver is founder of Saranam, a nonprofit that assists homeless families with shelter and provides a host of comprehensive services, including education, that helps people break the cycle of homelessness. Saranam’s two-year housing, education and community-building program for homeless families in Albuquerque, as well as its wide range of services, helps families transition out of homelessness. Everyone knows New Mexico struggles with homelessness, poverty and education of its youth. Sharp-Weaver has impacted this trifecta of problems in the community with multiple success stories.
⋄ Jessica Goodkind, who has worked with refugees for 25 years, is the founder and director of the Refugee Well-being Project, which matches UNM undergraduate students to work with refugees from Africa, Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria. Many of the refugees have survived violence, loss and trauma. The students help the refugees in their adjustment, mental health and well being. The project, housed out of the University of New Mexico since 2006, provides classroom instruction for the UNM students, who learn about teaching English as a second language, community resource mapping, needs assessment, advocacy, social inequality and more.
The project simultaneously offers a cross-cultural experience for both the volunteers and the refugees, and makes the community more welcoming and receptive.
Goodkind is a community psychologist and associate professor in the Department of Sociology at the University of New Mexico.
⋄ Sabra Minkus is the 2019 Harold B. Albert Community Service Award recipient. She has enriched the Jewish community through her volunteer efforts, which include accepting leadership positions on the boards of the Jewish Federation of New Mexico and the JCC. She has also provided financial support to a number of programs and causes, among them the B’nei Menashe, a lost Jewish Tribe of Northern India who are making a return to Israel. Minkus was awarded the Jewish Federation of New Mexico’s Woman of Valor award in 2016 for her generosity of spirit, can-do work ethic and philanthropy.