Kudos to Bread & Roses Board Chair Jim Kennedy and Volunteer Performer Mark Hummel for being this year's Bread & Roses nominees for the 21st Annual Heart of Marin Awards.
Jim was nominated by Executive Director Cassandra Flipper for Excellence in Board Leadership and Mark was nominated by Program Director Carolyn Gauthier for Volunteer of the Year.
Nominee Jim Kennedy
Cassandra Flipper noted that during the past year Jim Kennedy, chair of the Bread & Roses Board of Directors, has gone above and beyond the call of duty in numerous ways.Despite his responsibilities as a senior executive at the Bank of the West, he attended a three-day conference with Cassandra to explore the process of change in the nonprofit sector.Together they learned about initiatives undertaken by other nonprofit organizations in an attempt to begin thinking about other approaches to our mission. After the conference Jim led the board and senior staff in a six-month process of strategic thinking.
Since 2005, Jim has been instrumental in obtaining grants, sponsorships and matching gifts for Bread & Roses from the Bank of the West. He has served on the board since 2009 and as board chair for the last two years. This year has been a banner year in terms of Jim’s personal giving (through generous Appeal and Live Auction donations), setting an example for other board members, and for the funds he has raised from the Bank to sponsor both the Spring and Fall benefit events.
He also nominated Bread & Roses for the Bank’s 4th annual Philanthropy Awards. Of the 300+ nominees from the Bank’s 19-state service area, B&R was one of three finalists in the Community Impact category winning a grant of $10,000. We were also presented with a well-crafted two-minute professionally produced video underwritten by the Bank. Click here to see the video.
Jim consistently demonstrates his collaborative spirit by his outstanding communication with staff and other board members to explore new ideas and express concerns. He always accentuates the positiveeven when he is urging change and critical thinking. He shows up at meetings and at special events. He attends our regular institutional shows from time to time to stay in touch with our fundamental work for hidden audiences. He is also a devoted participant at our annual volunteer appreciation event where he engages our performers in discussions about their work for Bread & Roses and their personal artistic pursuits. Last but not least, he effectively engages our donors at fundraising events.
Nominee Mark Hummel
In her nomination for renowned harmonica player Mark Hummel as Volunteer of the Year, Carolyn Gauthier notes that he is a dedicated professional musician who has chosen to give back to the community through his work with Bread & Roses. Through his generosity many people have been inspired and uplifted.
His talent and his connections in the world of "The Blues" run deep. As a harmonica ace, Mark has been in bands with many of the best musicians in the country including Boz Scaggs, John Mayall, Huey Lewis, James Cotton, John Hammond, Charlie Musselwhite and more. Not only does he share his time and talent with Bread & Roses, he also brings in many other fantastic musicians to be part of our volunteer cadre.
Bread & Roses presents 600 free performances a year to those who are isolated from society and often do not have access to live entertainment. These shows are made possible by the gifts of volunteers who believe that the power of music should be accessible to all. Over 29,000 of our neighbors in need receive hope and healing through live music annually in 124 facilities in the Bay Area. The volunteer performers are very special, big-hearted people who generously share their gifts.
Mark Hummel has been sharing his talents with institutionalized audiences for five years. He and his friends perform on a regular basis in many different facilities that are served by Bread & Roses including adult rehabilitation centers, senior day cares and convalescent homes, homeless shelters and facilities for the developmentally disabled. The Blues is a genre of music that is felt deeply and appreciated by a wide variety of people transcending age, gender and ethnic differences. Whether it is Memphis, Mississippi Delta or Chicago style, the Blues are easily recognized as a true American art form. Many of the people that Bread & Roses serve are of ethnic minority, do not have English as their first language and/or have experienced hard times. This music is a great equalizer which brings joy, comfort and big smiles to those from varied cultural backgrounds.
In addition to performing for hundreds of isolated individuals this year, Mark Hummel presented a workshop in San Quentin for inmates wanting to learn how to play the harp. He was able to get a donation of 20 new harmonicas from the manufacturer so that each of the men was able to keep the instrument and practice. The impact this made was immense, as the men are still playing, learning and enjoying these instruments.
Mark is an asset in so many ways. In October he put together an amazing lineup of musicians to perform at a benefit concert for Bread & Roses to raise funds for ongoing programs. Supporters bought tickets to hear Bay Area legends Ron Thompson and Nick Gravenites along with other blues musicians. Many new supporters were also introduced to the work and mission of Bread & Roses. He has consistently played at a variety of benefits through the years.
Mark is also a wonderful spokesperson for the organization in the media and beyond. This fall he agreed to let one of his institutional shows be filmed by Bank of the West (see link above). In his video testimonial, he speaks of how the healing power of music helped in his own recovery from substance abuse. His openness in articulating his personal journey was especially poignant as he shared his story with others in rehab. From all the ways Mark Hummel has supported Bread & Roses, we were proud to nominate him for the Volunteer of the Year Award at the Heart of Marin. He is a great example of the way that all of our volunteer performers are winners every day as they perform for institutional audiences where people need music most.
Contributed By Cassandra Flipper for Jim Kennedy and Carolyn Gauthier for Mark Hummel.
Photo composit by Lauren Arrow.
Left side: Jim Kennedy at Bread & Roses Spring Benefit, 2013. Photo by Ken Friedman, Courtesy of Bread & Roses.
Right side: Mark Hummel. Photo Courtesy of MarkHummel.com 2014