The Frances McClelland Institute celebrated Southern Arizona community leaders with the 2022 Vision Awards.
Originally inaugurated in 2009, the FMI Vision Awards celebrate community leaders in Southern Arizona who are working towards improving the well-being of children, youth, families, and community. Frances McClelland, for whom the awards are named, was revered for her generosity and tireless advocacy for children, youth and families and the annual FMI Vision Awards serve as a way to commemorate her legacy by recognizing the same resilience and passion in the emerging leaders of our community today.
These awards commend leaders in four categories: the Frances McClelland Vision Award, the Richard Elias Legacy Award, the Frances McClelland Spirit Organizational Award, and the latest addition, The Frances McClelland Youth Vision Award.
“The Vision Awards are an opportunity to recognize the amazing work being done throughout the community in order to make Southern Arizona a better place,” said Melissa Barnett, Director of the Frances McClelland Institute. “Our most important mission is to build meaningful partnerships and collaborations with people across the community,” said Barnett.
FMI’s mission continues to grow and in the future the institute hopes to provide more meaningful job opportunities for graduates and undergraduates in applied research, and build fundamental collaborative research projects that can impact the livelihood and wellness of all Arizona families. With those founding values, FMI will be able to spread its wealth of knowledge and resources more effectively across all of Southern Arizona and beyond.
Top sponsors for this year’s Vision Awards are Vantage West Credit Union, Jewish Family and Children’s Services of Southern Arizona, Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona, PNC Bank, Arizona Complete Health, and Albertsons, Safeway and Vons – Southwest Division.
The Frances McClelland Vision Award | E. Liane Hernandez
E. Liane Hernandez is a staff member of the YWCA Southern Arizona in Tucson, AZ. She is a convener and works to create space for individuals and organizations to do the work of inclusive community building. Trained at University of Arizona and Pima Community College as an art historian, chef, and cultural anthropologist, she is a student of the questions of what community is, who gets to participate, when, and how.
A member of the Tucson nonprofit arts community for many years, she has served as staff as well as on boards, committees, grant review panels, and was a founder of Raices Taller 222. She currently Co-Chairs the Bond Oversight Commission. She is a member of Cohort 14 of the Lodestar American Express Leadership Academy. Formerly, Liane served with Tucson Meet Yourself Festival as the City of Gastronomy Culture Kitchen Coordinator, was a 2016 Fellow of the Tucson Voices OpEd Project, a Commissioner with the Pima Tucson Women’s Commission, and part of the Latino Graduate Training Seminar on Qualitative Methodology at the Smithsonian Institute. She was recognized as the Adelita Del Año by Las Adelitas PAC in 2015.
The Richard Elías Legacy Award | Maria Vianney Valdez-Cardenas
Maria Vianney Valdez-Cardenas worked for the University of Arizona Chicano Hispano Students Affairs, City of Tucson Parks and Recreation as a Recreation Assistant, Arizona State Program Coordinator for Project Ayuda (on the job training program for 50+ Senior Citizens), Community Family Liaison and Folklorico Group instructor at Tucson Unified School District Mission View Elementary, Primavera Foundation as a Resources Specialist for Rapid Rehousing programs for the homeless population in Tucson, and lastly, she worked at U.S. Census Bureau in June 2019 as a Partnership Specialist for Arizona State Local Governments and Hispanic organizations till September 2021.
In 2017 Valdez-Cardenas opened her own Business as a Paralegal Document Services of Arizona helping families with legal documents. She has been an advocate for the Pima County and Tucson community for 25+ years and builds relationships through community engagement. She has been part of several nonprofit organizations and board of directors, holding a seat on the executive board for LULAC as the State Treasurer. She is currently the City of Tucson Ward 5 appointee for Pima County Tucson Women’s Commission and the Treasurer for Citizen Diplomacy Alliance for International Visitors with US Department of State, Las Vistas Neighborhood Association President as well as the Founder and Executive Director of United Hearts of Arizona/Corazones Unidos de Arizona. Throughout her career, Valdez-Cardenas had the opportunity to see the need for basic services for low-income families. In 2014, She founded her own non-profit organization to improve the lives of children and families in Arizona by providing resources that will help them to be prepared for personal lives, professional accomplishments, and responsible citizenship. She provides work and support to cities and towns in Southern Arizona by establishing community partnerships and engagement.
The Frances McClelland Youth Vision Award | Daniel Trujillo
Daniel Trujillo, a 15 year-old Tucson, Arizona native, has spent much of his youth passionately advocating for the safety and well-being of those most marginalized, especially transgender youth. Advocating in his local community, across the state and the country, he has held a deep commitment to supporting his community and friends since the age of 9. His dedication to building an equitable community where the next generation can thrive has included participating in advocacy across the country, including to the White House. Daniel continues to communicate regularly with those writing federal policy.
The Frances McClelland Spirit Organizational Award | Youth on Their Own
Youth On Their Own’s mission is to support the high school graduation and continued success of youth experiencing homelessness. They strive to eliminate barriers to education and empower Southern Arizona’s housing insecure youth to stay in school by providing financial assistance, basic human needs, guidance, and more. Through this unique combination of financial, material, and motivational support, YOTO helps youth experiencing homelessness stay in school and achieve their dreams of high school graduation. Since its founding in 1986, YOTO has served tens of thousands of local children and youth. This year alone, they expect to enroll approximately 1,500 young people in their program. Moreover, with a high school graduation rate of 84% for YOTO-enrolled youth, we know the YOTO program works!
To see pictures of the event, please visit FMI's website.