The six recipients of this year's Avenidas Lifetimes of Achievement award all grew up in different states, attended different schools and followed different career paths, yet their stories share a common thread: All of them have left indelible marks in their communities through decades of volunteer work and other groundbreaking accomplishments.
From as far back as the 1960s, Peter Carpenter, Jane Shaw Carpenter, Anne Warner Cribbs, Loretta Green, Karen Ross and Roger Smith have given their time and energy to improve the lives of those in their communities and beyond.
From creating life-changing drugs to launching annual city traditions to serving as the voice of the community, they all saw a need — or more than one — in their neighborhoods and broader community and dedicated their efforts to bring about positive change.
These individuals are often described as risk-takers who are unafraid to fail in their quest to make the community a more welcoming place to live.
These volunteers have served on — and in many cases have helped launch — community boards, sports leagues, educational foundations and nonprofits. All have made an impact on the world not just through their long resumes, but their incredible selflessness and kindness.
To honor them, the senior-serving nonprofit Avenidas and the Palo Alto Weekly will host a special garden party at a local home on Sunday, May 21, from 3-5 p.m. Tickets for this public event are $125, with proceeds benefiting Avenidas' programs for older adults throughout the area. For tickets and more information, visit avenidas.org. Those who cannot attend, can make a gift in honor of one of this year's honorees.
Read on for profiles of each honoree:
This couple's revolutionary work changed the pharmaceuticals industry
Peter Carpenter and Jane Shaw Carpenter have made significant contributions to the greater community through their pharmaceutical research and philanthropy work. That motion sickness patch people wear behind their ears is the invention of Jane Shaw Carpenter. And that informed consent form for patients that is now standard with many pharmaceuticals was a model developed by Peter Carpenter for the distribution of intrauterine devices.
Former Olympian launched country's first female basketball league
For Anne Warner Cribbs, everything comes down to one goal: Get to the finish line. Her identity as an Olympic swimmer and athlete shapes the lens with which she views most of her projects. Cribbs, a graduate of Stanford University, won a gold medal at the 1959 Pan American Games and competed on the relay team that won a gold medal at the Rome Olympics in 1960. Over the decades, Cribbs' contributions to Palo Alto and the greater community has extended well-beyond the Olympic pool. She's been the driving force working behind the scenes to create many community traditions that residents now enjoy.
Raised in the segregated South, this journalist became 'the voice' of early Silicon Valley
For decades, Loretta Green was the voice of the community, writing human-interest columns that reflected the pulse of the Midpeninsula while working as a journalist, using her unique perspective as a wife, mother and Black female who grew up in segregation. Her contributions to Palo Alto, however go well beyond her career as a writer.
Her love of cooking and science became the recipe for helping cardiac patients recover
Karen Ross admits she likes to read nutrition journals for fun. While a bit unconventional, her reading list might not be as unusual as one thinks: Ross has spent much of her life educating cardiac patients on heart-healthy eating.
Former bank founder who shook up tech lending now helps victims navigate the court system
For five decades, Roger Smith has been making Palo Alto a better place. He has worked as founding president and CEO of a major bank, created multiple nonprofits, run for city council and volunteered to support numerous causes. Through his nonprofit Mothers Against Murder, he helps families of murder victims navigate the justice system and also get compensated for funeral and burial expenses.