Semel wins award for community impact

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Rita Semel, an interfaith pioneer and Jewish activist, received a 2012 Community Leadership Award from the San Francisco Foundation at an Oct. 2 ceremony at Herbst Theatre in San Francisco.

Rita Semel

Semel was honored for her lifelong success in creating healthy, just and inclusive communities in the Bay Area and worldwide, and for building bridges of understanding to help alleviate poverty and end discrimination.

The event also included a performance tribute to the late Warren Hellman, and the presentation of $7,000 Koshland Young Leader Awards to 10 college-bound students from San Francisco public high schools.

In addition to Semel, the San Francisco Foundation also honored ODC Dance Commons founder Brenda Way for creating an artistic community hub, Chinese for Affirmative Action for its work against discrimination, and Aim High for inspiring and lifting up youth. The individuals were awarded $10,000 and the agencies $20,000.

The San Francisco Foundation has served the Bay Area since 1948, granting more than $800 million over the past 10 years.