The Malibu Dolphin Charitable Foundation, founded by Malibu Times publishers Karen and Arnold York, provides recognition and support for individuals, organizations and community projects that enhance the lives of Malibu citizens and address the city’s critical challenges.
More than 30 Dolphin recipients were honored Sunday, October 10, during the Dolphin Awards ceremony. The event included 2019 and 2020 recipients who represented a wide range of service to the Malibu community.
Last year’s ceremony was postponed until cancellation due to COVID-19, and this year’s event took place in person with online streaming available.
A brief summary of their actions was shared while the recipients were receiving their awards.
City of Malibu community
Sharon Barovsky introduced the recipients for the 2019 and 2020 community service recipients. Recipients included Christi Hogin, Reva Feldman, Rick Mullen, Skylar Peak, Jefferson Wagner and Craig Sap.
Former City Manager Feldman thanked her city council members for the opportunities over the years.
“This has been an amazing community to serve. When I started at the city [of Malibu] my daughter was 10 years old at Webster and she just got married at 26, so getting close to a generation,” Feldman said. “Thank you to all the city council members for hiring me as city manager and the honor to serve this community.”
Council Member Mullen received the Dolphin Award for public service in 2019.
“I’m very honored to be a part of the community and to be recognized, and I just want to thank Arnold and Karen for doing this because it is really important to see all the unsung heroes in the community,” Mullen said. “So many people give so much of their personal lives to make Malibu a place an honor to serve.”
Peak became known as one of the youngest-ever city council members at the age of 27.
“I think listening to the community is something that is really important,” Peak said. “Thank you to all of those who serve and thank you Malibu.”
Craig Sap joined the ceremony on Zoom.
Community enrichment through the arts
Recipients include Lenny Goldsmith, Scott Hillman and Jodi Plaia.
Karen York said about Goldsmith: “I just want to acknowledge the fact that he no longer lives in Malibu but that has not stopped him from continuing to provide phenomenal entertainment, joy and positive vibes in our community.”
Plaia was recognized for her ongoing dedication as the arts director at Malibu High School for nearly 20 years.
“I am beyond honored to receive this. I have been teaching at Malibu—this is going to be my 20th year—and theatre changed my life,” Plaia said. “So it was time for me to give back and hopefully change the lives of some of the students that I had and even during these COVID times, theatre is alive and well.”
Hillman accepted the award on behalf of the Malibu Film Society.
“It’s really a team effort,” Hillman said. “We have a great group of people who give up their time to make our organization a success.”
The recipients were Michael Smith, Soniya Perl and Didier Beauvoir. Presenter for the category was Malibu representative and school board member Craig Foster.
“All of the Dolphin winners have contributed so much to our community, are seen, and I hope they feel seen, they feel appreciated and understood,” Foster said. “By seeing the members in our community who have changed lives to make Malibu better, they highlight what makes Malibu unique, and hopefully inspire other people to step forward and do amazing things for our community.”
The recipients were Dr. Jill Furgurson, Dr. David Frankel, Dr. Lisa Benya and Sean Penn.
“First of all it’s been an honor and privilege to serve this community, COVID has been a challenge for the whole medical community,” Frankel said speaking for the medical community. “I’m glad to see most of you healthy out here instead of at the clinic, so it’s been a pleasure to serve this community.”
Presented by Bianca Torrence, the recipients were Tiffany Steward, Scott Edens and Gabriel Graham.
“We are so lucky to have three very dedicated and wonderful outreach workers,” Torrence said. “Homelessness is a big problem for any community and we are very happy to have these dedicated outreach workers.”
Woolsey Fire heroes
Presented by Wagner, the recipients were Kris Jennings, Melissa Bermeo, Sasha Rondell and Cynthia Novak.
“They’ve been the boots on the ground, talking to hundreds of fire victims to find out their needs,” Wagner said. “The women work hours a week to get things done, and they’ve all given a terrific amount of their time purely from their hearts and these are the kinds of folks I’m happy to give their Dolphin Awards to.”
Town and Gown Award - Pepperdine University
Recipient Jeff Baker received the award presented by Heidi Bernard. Baker was in London during the ceremony.
“We are pleased to honor him today, he takes great pride in being an active member of the Malibu community as an educator, advocate and father,” Bernard said. “Jeff asked me to share that he is deeply grateful for this honor and he’s so pleased to be a part of this wonderful community.”
Malibu Quality of
Malibu Life Dolphin
Presented by Arnold York, recipient Robert Moreno attended the ceremony through Zoom.
“One of the things that makes a community is the people that have been here and worked here and do things here, and everyone seems to know them—and they seem to know everybody and they’ve maintained friendships,” Arnold York said.
Animal rights activism
Presented by Maggie Luckerath, recipient Geraldine “Gerri” Gilliland received the 2019 Dolphin Award for the category Animal Rights Activism.
Presented by Karen York, recipient Siugen Constanza received the Youth Services Dolphin Award. Constanza thanked Karen Farrer for her guidance to create opportunities for minorities in Malibu.
“I arrived in 1980 and the first city that I arrived at was Malibu. I was only a teen and I wouldn’t even imagine that I would be standing here today. I arrived with no English, I was afraid and scared because I left everything that I knew behind,” Constanza said. “But the great thing about it was when I arrived in Malibu and I went to Malibu schools, I met my husband Freddy, I didn’t know what Malibu was and I was so thankful for the opportunities.”
Harvey Baskin Malibu Business Award
Recipient Doug Burdge received the Harvey Baskin Malibu Business Award for his many community activities, particularly the helping of all through the fire rebuild process.
Youth Dolphin recipients for 2019 and 2020
Presented by Foster the recipients were Andrew Springer, Angel Diaz, Linda Morazan, Abby Jaz and Drake Dejute-Erickson.
“The best part of these kids that we are about to talk about is that they’re really young and there’s so much that they can do for this world and so much that needs being done,” Foster said.
To end off the ceremony, State Senator Henry Stern, who calls Malibu his hometown, spoke, as did Assemblyman Richard Bloom, and both presented certificates.
“You have a social safety net built into Malibu to catch people if they’re falling and it’s people who do that catching, and it takes people like the Yorks to realize those are the most important people in our community,” Stern said. “This is a beautiful culture that we’ve built.”