Festive send for a non-profit lawyer from Silicon Valley


It is difficult to imagine the kind of goodwill that must be generated during his career to earn the praise and admiration that reign over him. Patricia Gardner last Friday at the Mexican Heritage Plaza in San Jose. Gardner retired as CEO of the Silicon Valley Nonprofit Council at the end of the year, after 18 years, and it would be a real challenge for anyone to play his role as a supporter of group of dedicated workers from the valley.

Dozens of friends, colleagues and family members attended the event, appropriately named "Gratitude with Attitude". Participants included elected representatives from the United States. Zoe Lofgren and members of San Jose City Council Raul Peralez and Magdalena Carrasco to non-profit organizations such as the Poncho Guevara and the Silicon Valley Bicycle Coalition Shiloh Ballard.

His future projects involve consulting non-profit organizations and working with some on their strategic plans. And the Silicon Valley Council of Nonprofits has begun talks with his successor this week with the policy director of the SCVN. Wendy Ho serving as interim CEO.

Gardner, known for composing farewell odes to fellow starters, received a poetic gift from the VMC Foundation CEO. Chris Wilderwho recited several rhymes that opened like this:

"Patricia, Patrica, we will miss you, and we thank you for everything you did; With two decades of your life, your motto just rings: "Everyone wins" and we won. "

DOING A CASE FOR CHILDREN: Former CEO of Health Trust Fred Ferrer has a new role as CEO of Child Advocates, CASA of Silicon Valley, replacing the executive director of the organization, Karen Scussel. She retired after 17 years at the agency, including six at the helm. Child Advocates trains and provides attorneys appointed by the court with special advocates.

"At the beginning of my career, I realized that I had a great affinity for working with children and in low-income communities," said Ferrer, president and senior advisor of Manzanita Solutions, a national consulting firm for family-oriented non-profit organizations and government agencies. "I see a direct alignment with the mission of the Child Advocate to serve vulnerable children and youth in the court system of dependency, and I look forward to developing the
agency to serve more young people in host family. "

THE FOUNDER LIVES ON THE FESTIVAL: Blues music is at the heart of the pain and the loss, and that's what the San Jose Fountain Blues & Brews fans feel after the loss of Ted Gehrke, who founded the event in 1981 and died last weekend after a brief illness. He brought stars such as John Lee Hooker, Bo Diddley and Etta James to San Jose, while providing a scene for local talent such as J.C. Smith, Maxx Cabello and Ron Thompson.

More than once in the last three decades or so, the festival – which began on the campus of the state of San Jose – seemed to be going away, but Gehrke was striving to keep it in check. life. A non-profit board of directors was formed, grants were obtained and the Fountain Blues festival continued. And Gehrke's spirit will certainly live as long as this festival continues.

Plans for a memorial are in preparation, but the 38th Annual San Jose Fountain Blues & Brews Festival is already scheduled for June 22 in Plaza de Cesar. The headliners include Charlie Musselwhite, Elvin Bishop's Big Fun Trio and Lady Bianca. Go to www.fountainblues.com for more details or to donate to Gehrke's memory.