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United Way of Greater Houston Project Blueprint Honors Astronaut Dr. Bernard Harris, Jr. With Commitment to Leadership Award

United Way of Greater Houston Project Blueprint will honor Astronaut Dr. Bernard Harris, Jr. with the Commitment to Leadership Award, which recognizes civic engagement and commitment to diversity. Dr. Harris, the first African-American to walk in space, is a role model and mentor for philanthropic, educational and business leaders representing diverse communities.

“When United Way of Greater Houston Project Blueprint was created in the mid-1980s, it was with the vision of creating and molding nonprofit, volunteer leaders reflective of our changing community,” said Anna Babin, president and CEO, United Way of Greater Houston.  “Not only does Dr. Harris embody the spirit of the Commitment to Leadership award, he is a true pioneer in every sense of the word.”

Motivated by his personal credo, “I can achieve, if I believe and conceive my dream,” Dr. Harris impacts the lives of more than 10,000 K-12 students each year. In addition to being an astronaut, medical doctor, scientist, venture capitalist, author, entrepreneur and philanthropist, Dr. Harris leads The Harris Foundation, a nonprofit organization providing underserved youth with the opportunity to pursue careers in math, science and technology.

United Way of Greater Houston Project Blueprint is a leadership development program that prepares professionals from Houston’s ethnic communities to assume leadership roles as nonprofit board and committee members. The Commitment to Leadership Award presentation is a cornerstone of the annual United Way of Greater Houston Project Blueprint graduation, marking completion of a comprehensive curriculum that addresses all aspects of board governance. United Way of Greater Houston Project Blueprint alumni are in high demand as nonprofit organizations seek leadership volunteers who reflect Houston’s rich cultural tapestry.

The Commitment to Leadership Award was named in honor of Dr. Dorothy Caram who helped create United Way of Greater Houston Project Blueprint in response to the growing need for boards to engage Houston’s multicultural community. A role model and mentor to many of Houston’s diverse leaders, Dr. Caram has enriched countless lives through her commitment to community service.

Members of United Way of Greater Houston Project Blueprint Class XXIX will be actively recruited by area nonprofits seeking candidates who are well prepared to assume the roles and responsibilities inherent in board governance.

United Way of Greater Houston Project Blueprint Class XXIX graduates include:

Heath Butler, Administaff

Michele Cardenas Cowart, Leadership Houston

Stacey Crawford, Harris County Department of Education

Shani A. Dennis, City of Houston – Legal Department

Linda M. Dunson, NAACP Houston Branch

Amanda K. Edwards, Vinson & Elkins LLP

Dona C. Edwards, Schlumberger

Daniel M. Elustondo, Shell Exploration & Production Company

Onedia N. Gage, Houston ISD

Lisset Almaguer Garza, Shell Energy North America

Elizabeth Bazan Hawkins, Targa Resources, Inc.

Enjuelle Livingston, Deloitte Financial Advisory Services

Steven Lopez, Hewlett-Packard

Kimberly J. Milton, United States Space Alliance, LLC

Tracy Nicole Naylor, Shell Trading US Company

Srinivas Puppala, MFR, P.C.

Folashade Shomade, Deloitte Tax LLP

Deyanira Silva, Houston Volunteer Lawyers Program

Jarvis P. Thomas, Harris County Hospital District

Jaime Vasquez, Chamberlain, Hrdlicka, White, Williams & Martin

Veronica Leal Vasquez, Perdue, Brandon, Fielder, Collins, & Mott

Usha Vasu, Spectra Energy

Daniel Velasco, Houston Texans

Devaron Yates, First Investors Corporation

E. Faye York, United States Space Alliance, LLC

Richard Y. Yuen, ConocoPhillips

About United Way of Greater Houston
For 87 years, the United Way of Greater Houston has been the social service safety net for the Houston Area. United Way is a leader and trusted partner in improving lives, tackling key community social issues, and making a lasting difference. The organization touches one of every two lives in the Bay Area, Fort Bend, Harris, Montgomery and Waller counties. The United Way focuses on strengthening our community by developing children and youth to their full potential, creating strong families and safe neighborhoods, sustaining senior independence, and rebuilding people’s lives in times of crisis. The United Way of Greater Houston is the best way to make the biggest difference in our community.

CONTACT: Ed Davis
United Way of Greater Houston
OFFICE: 713.685.2497
CELL: 281.743.1274
EMAIL: eddavis@unitedwayhouston.org

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