Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Environmental Activist Tom Steyer to be Honored at Chabot Space & Science

Evening Will Recognize Champions of Science Spees, Rogers, PG&E, Cohen

At the Starlight Gala on September 21, Starlight Gala will honor Tom Steyer, as well as present the annual Champion of Science Awards in four categories. Now in its third year, Chabot’s Champion of Science Awards honor individuals and organizations that have made extraordinary and lasting impacts in science education and support Chabot’s STEM mission. Awards are given in four categories: Foundations, Corporations, Individuals, and Educators. Recipients of the 2013 awards include: The Rogers Family Foundation, Pacific Gas and Electric, the Honorable Richard and Jean Spees, and U.C. Berkeley Professor Ronald C. Cohen.

The Starlight Gala is the premiere fundraising event for the Center.  This year’s theme celebrates inspiration, imagination, and invention. Recognized Bay Area media journalist and eight time Emmy Award winner, Randy Shandobil will emcee the event which raises money for the Center’s STEM education programs.

Chabot’s Executive Director & CEO, Alexander Zwissler said that the event not only raises needed funds to continue important science education initiatives, but also in turn “allows the Center to recognize those who have supported Chabot’s goals of increased science literacy through education and public programming, and whose extraordinary contributions to these goals – through volunteerism, partnership, advocacy, and philanthropy – have made a substantial impact on our community.”

Tom Steyer is the founder and retired co-managing partner of Farallon Capital Management, L.L.C., one of the country’s most successful investment firms. Tom stepped down from Farallon in December 2012 to focus on political activism, in particular on advocating for alternative energy, citing his desire to give back "full time" and to revolve his life around service. He was a featured speaker at the 2012 Democratic National Convention. In 2010, Tom teamed with George Schultz, former Secretary of the Treasury and Secretary of State, to chair the successful No on Proposition 23 campaign, which would have rolled back California’s landmark AB32 environmental laws. Tom and his wife, Kat, are signers of the Giving Pledge, a campaign to encourage individuals over their lifetime to donate their wealth to philanthropic causes.

Champion of Science Foundation awardee, the Rogers Family Foundation was established in 2003 by T. Gary and Kathleen Rogers. The Foundation strives to create high quality educational opportunities for children in Oakland by supporting exceptional schools (traditional public, charter and private) and organizations whose efforts positively impact students along their journey to college or a career of their choice. In addition, the Foundation is leading two city-wide initiatives: Oakland Reads 2020 – an effort to double the number of Oakland third grade students reading at grade level by the year 2020 – and a Blended Learning initiative that is creating more differentiated learning in Oakland classrooms through the integration of technology. For 10 years, the Rogers Family Foundation has generously supported a variety of education programs at the Chabot Space & Science Center

Husband and wife Richard “Dick” and Jean Spees are being honored as long-time supporters of the Center and amongst Chabot’s most important early champions of the current Skyline facility. Between them, they have 50+ years of service to the Oakland/East Bay community. After a long career at Kaiser Aluminum, Dick was elected to the Oakland City Council six times spanning a 24 years in that role. The resonating thread throughout their lives in Oakland has been public service, with an intense fascination with and a deep commitment to, science education. 

Pacific Gas and Electric is being honored for their longstanding philanthropic focus, with a goal to engage, support and improve the neighborhoods where their customers and employees live and work, particularly in education, environment, community vitality and building playgrounds.   The company has supported science education programs at Chabot Space & Science for over 20 years and currently sponsors Chabot’s popular Educator Night, a fall open house event for teachers in the Bay Area.

The Educator award recipient is Ronald C. Cohen, Professor of Chemistry and of Earth and Planetary Sciences at the University of California, Berkeley, and the Director of the Berkeley Atmospheric Science Center. He created and heads U.C. Berkeley’s innovative greenhouse gas monitoring project, BEACON: the Berkeley Atmospheric CO2 Observation Network, a new approach to observing atmospheric gases over an urban area, blanketing interesting locations with a high density network of instruments, with each instrument representing a network “node.” Taken together, the nodes produce an accurate, highly resolved picture of real-time pollutant concentrations. The first node was installed on the roof at Chabot Space & Science, and currently there are 15 nodes installed at 15 elementary, middle and high schools in the East Bay.   


About Chabot Space & Science Center

Chabot Space & Science Center is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit interactive science center whose mission is to inspire and educate students of all ages about Planet Earth and the Universe. Located in the Oakland hills, the Center focuses on the earth, life, physical and astronomical sciences, with a 128-year legacy of serving Bay Area communities through exhibits, public programs, school field trips, science camps, teacher training, teen development programs and community outreach; hosts 50,000 students on school field trips and over 100,000 public visitors each year; and offers over 20,000 sq ft of interactive exhibits on a variety of space and science subjects, a world-class planetarium, giant-screen Megadome movies, school classes on over 30 different science topics, hands-on science activities, state-of-the-art classrooms and labs and publicly-available research-level telescopes.

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