The Carl & Roberta 
Deutsch Foundation

2016 Awardees

Centinela Youth Services (CYS) strengthens families and communities by empowering youth to resolve conflicts and overcome obstacles through mediation in order to become successful students and contributing adults.

Volunteer: Denise Yusuff

Denise has been volunteering with CYS since 2014. Inspired by the mission of CYS, Denise completed the Community Volunteer Mediator training all in record time, and she consistently conducts at least two mediations every month. In addition to her impressive skills as a mediator, Denise offers something that can often be overlooked, but within the challenging neighborhoods that CYS youth grow up in, is a highly prized attribute: undeviating consistency. Her reliability makes Denise a stand out as a mediator for youth and families who have previously demonstrated or experienced a lack of consistency and follow-through in their efforts to navigate the courts, or to resolve entrenched conflicts.


Foothill Unity Center helps neighbors in crisis attain self-sufficiency by partnering with the community and using their resources wisely to provide vital support services with love and dignity.

Volunteer: Janet Wall

In the five years since Janet Wall retired and joined Foothill Unity Center, Inc. as a volunteer, her efforts and involvement have positively impacted the organization in every department and throughout the community they serve. She is the prime example of a volunteer who goes above and beyond. From co-chairing and serving on committees for major events, to helping build the organization’s future by serving on the Strategic Plan Committee, volunteer recruitment and community education, fundraising, helping upgrade outdated data systems, and keeping whomever she is with positive, Janet embodies the true spirit of volunteerism.


human-I-T transforms unwanted or unusable technology and educational tools for the millions in need. Rather than recycle electronic good, human-I-T refurbishes and donates devices, as well as, provides internet access and vocational training to bridge the digital divide.

Volunteer: Brandon Smith

Amongst nearly 100 volunteers that serve human-I-T each year, Brandon Smith stands apart as our nominee for the Halo Award. He works full-time and unpaid as an Account Executive—the first position of its kind. As an Account Executive, he is responsible for donor outreach. Brandon built the system for outreach entirely from scratch. He analyzed how human-I-T engaged with its donors and wrote tailored copy for every stage of the donation process. He streamlined the thousands of phone and email interactions we have each year. By laying this groundwork, Brandon has significantly cut down the amount of time between first contact with donors and handing refurbished technology off to clients.


Lake Avenue Community Foundation (LACF) unleashes the potential of children, youth, and families in vulnerable communities by providing the tools necessary to thrive academically, emotionally, economically, and spiritually.

Volunteer: Tonie Neuwirth

Tonie Neuwirth began volunteering at Lake Avenue Community Foundation in June of 2002, one year after LACF was founded. She was introduced to LACF while volunteering with another organization that used the same space. With her background in system analysis and IT, LACF had a need for her skill set and she began volunteering as the Data Coordinator. Tonie helped develop the system for managing information about donors and now handles the donor database, donor reports and monthly acknowledgements, as well as miscellaneous administrative tasks. She has also helped in transitioning donor information to Salesforce.


Public Counsel protects the rights of disadvantaged children; fosters economic justice by providing under-served communities with access to quality legal representation; and represents immigrants who have been the victims of crime and persecution.

Volunteer: Paula Bennett

As a Spanish-speaking child of immigrant parents, Paula has offered her services as an attorney with Public Counsel’s Immigrants’ Rights Project. Since 2014, Paula has volunteered approximately 1,000 hours per year, providing time-intensive representation to 12 asylum seekers from Central America and Africa, and functioning virtually as a free, half-time attorney on Public Counsel’s immigration team. She has won permanent protection in this country for 7 clients, mostly unaccompanied children from Central America.


Strength United is dedicated to ending violence, empowering families and developing leaders.

Volunteer: Cibele Souza

Since 2013 Cibele has assisted clients in creating abuse free environments and families. In doing so, Cibele had to find methodologies to navigate the mistrust of families and systems that can be less than supportive and confusing, thereby causing a lack of understanding of the impacts trauma can have on individual’s capabilities. From the beginning to present, Cibele has brought unrivaled energy to her volunteerism at the center. Her integrity, passion, and advocacy to right wrongs, create an equal playing field, speak when others cannot find their voice, connect to and transform pain and suffering is astounding.