Special Announcement


Contact: John Maceri jmaceri@opcc.net – (310) 264-6646 x 229

HUMAN RELATIONS COUNCIL SANTA MONICA: Announcing the Mark J. Benjamin Community Impact Awards Nomination Process

SANTA MONICA, CA, December 21, 2015 – The Human Relations Council of the Santa Monica Bay Area (HRC Santa Monica) is pleased to announce the launch of the Mark J. Benjamin Community Impact Awards nominations process.

The goal of HRC Santa Monica’s Mark J. Benjamin Community Impact Awards Program is to recognize individuals whose involvement with community organizations contributes to and impacts building a respectful, inclusive community. Honorees are people who (1) promote understanding within our diverse community, (2) make a difference, and (3) demonstrate compassion for others.

The program is named for former Morley Builders CEO Mark J. Benjamin who died in a tragic aviation accident in October 2013. Mr. Benjamin, a HRC Santa Monica long-time board member, was a true hero who gave generously and thoughtfully in support of the Santa Monica and Los Angeles County community. Mr. Benjamin was best described by a Studs Terkel quote, “Heroes are not giant statues framed against a red sky. They are people who say: This is my community, and it is my responsibility to make it better.”

HRC Santa Monica invites community nonprofits, businesses, faith communities and neighborhood organizations in West Los Angeles to participate in the Mark J. Benjamin Community Impact Awards Program by nominating someone who represents the organization’s mission and the HRC  Santa Monica’s goals. The Nomination Form may be found on HRC Santa Monica’s website at http://hrcsantamonica.org/impact.

The nominating period is open from January 4 – February 1, 2016.  Nominations will be reviewed between February 2 and March 2 and the recipients will be announced on April 1, 2016. Awardees will be honored at a special event on Thursday, April 28th, 2016.   There can only be one nominee per organization.

Nominating organizations also agree to participate in the selection process during the month of February. Recommendations will be submitted to the HRC Santa Monica Board of Directors who will make the final decision.

HRC Santa Monica believes it is the sum of the modest, ongoing activities of many that leads to enduring change. Too often, these efforts go unrecognized. HRC Santa Monica is asking the local community to help identify community members who are making a significant impact and bring their work to center stage.

What’s going on?

Featuring the news and activities of the HRC

  • The HRC welcomes its new board members—Chris LeGagnoux, Mary Patricia Luthy, Laura Rosenbaum, and Mehran Taslimi.
  • Perry Rosham-Zamir was elected as the 2015-2016 Vice Chair at the Annual Board Meeting on October 22. Immediate Past Chair Ilda Jiménez y West will continue to serve on the Executive Committee with Dr. Karen Gunn, Chair; Debra A. Farmer, Treasurer; Jody Priselac, Historian; and Carolyn Baugh, Secretary.

Around the Bay

featuring the news and activities of the HRC’s partners and friends

Jan. 15MLK Interfaith Prayer Breakfast—“Bending the Arc of Justice”  The program of prayers, readings and song kicks off the weekend of celebration and is coordinated by the Westside Interfaith Council, President Rev. Janet McKeithen with Rabbi Neil Comess-Daniels and Rev. Dr. Janet Bregar. 7:30am | First United Methodist Church, Simkins Hall | 1008 Eleventh Street, Santa Monica 90403 | Tickets $25 per person | Free parking across from the church.

Jan. 17Annual MLK Commemorative Concert  A tribute to Marian Anderson by the Santa Monica Symphony Orchestra, Guido Lamell, Music Director and Conductor, featuring Caroline McKenzie soprano. 2:30pm | SGI-USA World Peace Auditorium | 525 Wilshire Blvd., Santa Monica 90401 | Free admission | Free parking at 1212 Seventh Street. 

Jan. 18—31st Annual MLK Celebration—“Peace Requires Justice” An inspirational event commemorating the Reverend Dr. King, Jr.’s ideals and vision for a just society for all people:

  • Keynote speaker: The Honorable Sheila James Kuehl, JD, Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors
  • The Claudia Lennear Gospel Trio consisting of Ms. Lennear, Isy Martin, Jr. and Steve Nieves.
  • Get Lit – Words Ignite – a nationally recognized organization created to reduce dropout rates and spark increased literacy among youth.
  • Keali’i O’Nalani Dancers striving to perpetuate the Hawaiian art, language, and a sense of “Ohana.”

Also, this year’s Community Light Award recipient, student education awards, and readings from Dr. King’s work are featured. 9am | SGI-USA World Peace Auditorium | 525 Wilshire Boulevard, Santa Monica 90401 | Free admission | Free parking at 1212 Seventh Street. 

Jan 18—Community Involvement Fair  A civic engagement event follows the annual celebration. Community organizations meet and greet visitors and provide informational materials. Refreshments are provided, and door prizes. 10:30am | SGI-USA Youth Center | 606 Wilshire Boulevard, Santa Monica 90401 | Free admission | Free parking at 1212 Seventh Street 

Special Announcment


The HRC’s Mark J. Benjamin Community Impact Awards Committee is pleased to announce the call for nominations for the 2016 Impact Awardees. More information is posted here.