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Hidden Villa to Honor Locals Who Exemplify Duvenecks’ Spirit

The 15th Annual Josephine and Frank Duveneck Humanitarian Awards Dinner at Hidden Villa Saturday recognizes Norman Mineta, Susan Ford Dorsey and Sid Espinosa.

Sid Espinosa, Susan Ford Dorsey and Norman Y. Mineta have made giving back the focus of their careers, and their lives.

This Saturday, they will be recognized for it.

The staff of have chosen these three Bay Area community leaders to be honored at the 15th Annual Josephine and Frank Duveneck Humanitarian Awards Dinner.

"The Duvenecks provided a dynamic example of what committed social responsibility and personal vision can do to positively impact the lives of others," said Chris Overington, executive director of Hidden Villa, an organic farm, woodland open space, educational center and community started by Frank and Josephine Duveneck in 1924. 

This annual dinner recognizes inspirational leaders who exemplify Hidden Villa’s mission and values through environmental, social and educational activism. Hidden Villa staff said it is proud to recognize Dorsey, Espinosa and Mineta for their tireless work in all three of those areas.

With the airport in San Jose and a section of state Highway 85 named after him, Mineta is well-known throughout Silicon Valley. He is the global vice chairman of Hill & Knowlton and independent vice chairman of L&L Energy Inc. Mineta also has the distinction of having served two presidents, from both parties, in cabinet-level positions. In 2000, he was appointed by President Bill Clinton as the U.S. Secretary of Commerce, and in 2001, he was appointed by President George W. Bush as Secretary of Transportation, where he served until 2006.

Mineta got his start in Santa Clara Valley. For nearly 30 years, he represented San Jose, first on the City Council, and then in 1971 became the first Asian-American elected as mayor of a major American city. Mineta went on to Congress from 1975-95, chairing the powerful Transportation Committee. That rise has been seen as remarkable, given his early life. As a boy, he was interned for three years with his family, just like 120,000 other Japanese and Japanese-Americans World during War II.

Mineta is being recognized for his accomplishments in economic development, science and technology policy, foreign and domestic trade, budgetary issues and civil rights.  

"We are delighted to honor Norman for his long-standing commitment to the rights of individuals and communities, and his many decades of public service," Overington said.

Espinosa is the director of corporate citizenship at Microsoft and mayor of the city of Palo Alto. He previously worked in the Clinton White House, at the U.S. Justice Department for Attorney General Janet Reno, and as the director of global philanthropy for Hewlett-Packard, where he oversaw the investment of hundreds of millions of dollars in nonprofit organizations and schools around the world. He is a recognized leader on global policy issues, including education, economic development and the environment.

"Sid has been a strong supporter of Hidden Villa's work with teachers and students within the Mountain View-Whisman and Redwood City school districts,” Overington said.

“We are delighted to honor him for his leadership and advocacy for schools-based, community initiatives."

Dorsey is president of the Sand Hill Foundation, which invests in Bay Area nonprofit organizations that make a difference in local communities. She also serves on the boards of several nonprofit organizations, including Menlo School, where she is the chairwoman; the Palo Alto Medical Foundation; and Monterey Bay Aquarium. Past board service includes Common Sense Media, Peninsula Open Space Trust and the Silicon Valley Community Foundation.

Prior to the Sand Hill Foundation, Dorsey was the founder and president of Health Innovations, a health care consulting firm that specializes in business development, strategic planning and marketing. She also served as director of Common Sense Media Inc. and as director of the Peninsula Community Foundation until 2005.

"Hidden Villa is delighted to honor Susan for her long-time advocacy for children and family health in San Mateo and northern Santa Clara counties, and her dedication to the protection of the environment," Overington said.

by husband and wife, Frank and Josephine Duveneck, in the 1920s. Both coming from wealthy Boston families, the couple could have easily lived a rich and privileged life, but instead, they chose to use their financial means to improve the communities around them. They bought more than 1,000 acres in the Los Altos Hills and turned it into Hidden Villa, leaving the land, the farm and all they were used for in a trust to the local community when they died.

After establishing Hidden Villa, the couple used the grounds and facilities to start one of the country’s first interracial summer camp programs, which continues to this day. They were also instrumental in founding the Peninsula School; they took in and supported many displaced Japanese-Americans interned during World War II and African-Americans who needed support; farmworkers leader Cesar Chavez met with them and discussed La Huelga, the first major strike that put the plight of field workers into national headlines. And the Duvenecks were very vocal in spreading the word about AIDS when the disease was first identified, educating people that it was not a disease merely carried by homosexual males.

In short, the Duvenecks touched the lives of many people, and they inspired generations of others to do the same.

The proceeds from the sale of tickets to the dinner will enable Hidden Villa to offer $350,000 in scholarships and partnership support for its programs, including the a 66-year-old, multicultural summer camp; an experimental, environmental education program for schoolchildren; community programs exploring environmental and social issues; internship programs in agriculture and environmental education; a community-supported agriculture program; and the country’s oldest, continuously operating hostel.

Audrey Rust, past executive director of Peninsula Open Space Trust, will serve as the master of ceremonies at this year’s dinner.

"All of our honorees and our emcee exemplify this generous and compassionate spirit and work to make the world a better place," Overington said.

Tickets for the event are sold out, but for more information about Hidden Villa and the event, visit hiddenvilla.org.

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