Jean McNeil Wyner received the Santa Monica Chamber of Commerce’s Volunteer of the Year Award during the recent 3rd Annual Nonprofit Festival.
Wyner, Physician and Community Liaison for Santa Monica-UCLA Medical Center, has been committed to community service in Santa Monica for the past 22 years and has received numerous awards. She has been active in many organizations, including the Santa Monica Chamber of Commerce, Santa Monica College Advisory Board, Santa Monica Family YMCA, Santa Monica Convention and Visitors Bureau, Santa Monica Historical Society Museum, and the WISE Senior Service Board of Directors. After being honored, she told the Mirror that the award is “perpetual” and she “will be presenting it to a new Volunteer of the Year every year.”
Over 40 nonprofits – most based within Santa Monica’s city limits – participated in the festival this year, many returning from the previous two years. Former City Manager Susan McCarthy, who was helping to staff the Santa Monica Conservancy table, said this type of outreach is a great way to inform the “casual passerby about what’s out there.” The Conservancy educates and advocates for the preservation of Santa Monica’s architectural and cultural treasures.
Jennifer Conroy from KidSave pointed out that the festival was an “opportunity to reach out to the community and build awareness about the work we do,” which is to work with children in foster care.
Westside Food Bank Volunteer Coordinator Allison Griffith mentioned that participating in the festival has given her agency not only a chance to recruit volunteers and receive donations but also the ability to connect with those who need assistance.
The Community Corporation of Santa Monica, which builds affordable housing throughout the City, has participated all three years. CCSM’s representative, Susan Love Loughmiller, noted that by having the event on the Promenade it is able “to draw a good mix of people who are interested in housing.” She also noted that there was “more interest this year than before.”
Other activities included on the beautiful March 8 day were a fashion show presented by the American Cancer Society Discovery Shop, a performance by the Church of Scientology’s “Kids on Stage,” and a performance by Soka Gokkai International’s Mary Beth Abella.
The Santa Monica Chamber of Commerce, Santa Monica Place, Los Angeles Orthopaedic Hospital, Kinecta Federal Credit Union, The Fairmont Miramar Hotel, and Time Warner Cable all sponsored the festival.