The Distinguished Service Award, the Council’s highest honor, recognizes an exceptional individual who embodies the intellect, integrity, leadership, and accomplishment that define absolute excellence in the field of philanthropy.
Michele, who began working with Liberty Hill Foundation as a volunteer in 1982, was our executive director from 1989 to 1997 and then transitioned to special projects in 1998. She helped create new grant programs addressing poverty, racial justice, and environmental health. As Director, Common Agenda, she oversees projects relating to Liberty Hill-facilitated alliances of community organizations working on "common agenda" issues including environmental justice and bettering the lives of young men.
Michele serves on the board of the Venice Community Housing Corporation and the steering committee of GREEN LA. Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa appointed her to the Harbor Community Benefit Foundation in 2011. She has served as a senior fellow in the UCLA School of Public Affairs since 2007.
“I deeply appreciate receiving The Council on Foundation’s Distinguished Service award," says Michele. "What is most meaningful to me is that this honor is a validation and celebration of the core ideas I have worked long and hard to champion within philanthropy: investment in community organizing to advance change, not charity; and engaging community leaders and residents as critical partners in foundation decision-making.”
The Distinguished Service Award will be presented to Michele at the Opening Plenary of the Council on Foundation's Annual Conference Sunday, April 29 at 11:30 a.m. at the JW Mariott at L.A. Live. Formed in 1949, the Council on Foundations is a nonprofit membership association of grantmaking foundations and corporations. Council members include more than 1,700 independent, operating, community, public and company-sponsored foundations, and corporate giving programs in the United States and abroad. The Council's mission is to provide the opportunity, leadership, and tools philanthropic organizations need to expand, enhance, and sustain their ability to advance the common good.