The Houston Texans Campeón de la Comunidad Award presented by Miller Lite honors an outstanding leader in the Latino community who is making a positive impact on the city of Houston through service and dedication to a local nonprofit. The winner will receive a $20,000 grant in their honor to the nonprofit of their choice. Two runners up will each receive donations in their name of $2,500 each.
2020 Campeón de la Comunidad Award
On October 8, the Texans and Miller Lite hosted a virtual reception in honor of the 2020 Campeón de la Comunidad Award winner, Maria Aguirre, the director of community initiatives at Avenue. Two finalists, Mia Garcia of Combined Arms and Joe Gonzales of Zoey's Angels, were also recognized for their outstanding contributions to the community.
The Texans and Miller Lite donated $20,000 in honor of Maria to Avenue, a nonprofit that focuses on building affordable homes and provides programs that support working families in the Greater Northside. The Texans and Miller Lite made an additional donation of $2,500 to Combined Arms and Zoey's Angels in honor of Garcia and Gonzales. Texans president Jamey Rootes and J.Frank Hernandez of Miller Lite joined the virtual reception to congratulate Maria, Mia and Joe for all they have done to make Houston the amazing city that it is.
Director of Community Initiatives, Avenue
Maria is motivated by a deep desire to serve others and help build a more equitable world. She has moved countries 15 times and has humanitarian experience in Mexico, Colombia, and Kenya. She has worked in oil and gas where she was taught project management and the great differences between the private and non-profit worlds. Her current work at Avenue is centered around teaching "poder" meaning "power" but also "the power to" in communities that have often felt powerless. She graduated from Baylor University second in her Major: International Relations, and was recognized for her dedicated community work in the Waco area. From her nomination, "When people in the community have a need, they reach out to Maria for help. They call her for help with rent resources, food, quinceañeras, house repairs, medical bills, and everything in between. People in the Greater Northside know that Maria will work tirelessly on and off the clock to help them with their needs. And when she isn't helping families with their pressing problems, she is working diligently to make the community safer, more beautiful, and more welcoming for everyone who lives there."
Texas Veterans Network Director, Combined Arms
Mia Garcia's service to our country and our community started 20 years ago when she raised her right hand to serve in the Marine Corps. Mia is a native Houstonian and proudly represented our great city as a highly decorated Marine Sergeant. After completing 10 years of service in the Marine Corps, Mia continued her service back home in Houston where she developed innovative military career transition programs to engage Houston-based employers seeking to recruit veterans and match them with those veterans seeking gainful employment. In her career with NextOp and Combined Arms, Mia has directly contributed to placing over 3,000 veterans into high-paying industry careers.
Founding Board member and Past Vice President, Zoey's Angels
Joe is a native Houstonian who retired from an oil and gas career after 32 years of service. Over his career, Joe's volunteer activities included Houston Hispanic Forum, his church, helping repair the homes of inner city, low-income senior citizens, serving on boards and committees and many years mentoring middle- and high-school students in Houston ISD. Joe has always believed to whom much is given much is required and that was reflected in not only his life of community service but in how he raised his children. Joe and his wife Raquel have 6 children (4 by birth, 2 by marriage) and 8 surviving grandchildren. While still participating in varied volunteer activity, Joe's greater focus is serving on the Board of Directors of Zoey's Angels, a non-profit founded by his family in 2012 in memory of his granddaughter who earned her angel wings after a valiant battle with liver cancer. Zoey's Angels serves families who suffer the tragic loss of their infant child to disease or illness. Joe is the primary contact for Spanish-speaking families receiving Zoey's Angels' support. To date, Zoey's Angels has provided $285,000 to families. We are grateful for Joe's contributions to so many families.
Congratulations to the amazing leaders who were nominated in 2020. Thank you for all you've done to make Houston a better place!
2020 Nominees: Marie Arcos, Andrea Caracostis, Edward Carrizales, Rosendo Castillo, Carlos De Aldecoa, France Castañeda Dyess, Alex Garcia, Ilsa Garcia, Laurie Garcia, Roy Garcia, Phyllis Laurenzo-Mandola, Lexie Lumiere, Rosalinda Martinez, Ivette Mayo, Daisy Mendoza, Alexander Obregon, Claudia Ortega-Hogue, Mesias Pedroza, Jose Rivera, Carlos Rodriguez, Consuelo Rodriguez, Margaret Rodriguez, Shirley Ronquillo, Jacob Salas, Angelita Sampaio, Joellen Snow and Daniel Villanueva.
2019 Campeón de la Comunidad Award
On September 25, the Texans and Miller Lite hosted a reception in the Champions Club at NRG Stadium to recognize the winner of the 2019Campeón de la Comunidad Award, Sonia Corrales, Chief Program Officer, Houston Area Women's Center. Two finalists, Andy Canales, Executive Director of Latinos for Education, and Claudia Aguirre, President and CEO, BakerRipley, were also recognized for their work in the community.
The Houston Area Women's Center received a $20,000 grant in honor of Ms. Corrales's leadership and commitment to the community. Ms. Corrales was recognized in an on-field ceremony during the Texans versus Panthers game on September 29 with Texans President Jamey Rootes and MillerCoors General Manager Mike Lowe. Sonia was also the 2019 Houston Texans recipient of the NFL Hispanic Heritage Leadership Award and an additional $2,000 grant was made in her name to the Houston Area Women's Center.
On October 15, the Texans and Miller Lite visited the Houston Area Women's Center for a special community event in Sonia's honor. HAWC staff and residents received gifts and prizes from Miller Lite and the Houston Texans as well as a visit from Texans Player Buddy Howell, Houston Texans Cheerleaders and TORO. They ate ice cream took photos and played games to celebrate Sonia and the $20,000 grant. HAWC shelter staff even received a special surprise Miller Lite and the Houston Texans – a year's supply of coffee!
In order to recognize the 2019 Campeón de la Comunidad finalists, a donation of $2,500 was also awarded to Latinos for Education in honor Mr. Canales and to BakerRipley in honor of Ms. Aguirre from the Texans and Miller Lite.
Chief Program Officer, Houston Area Women's Center
Sonia Corrales has dedicated her life to anti-violence work. As a leading expert in our community, she has received numerous awards and honors. Sonia possesses a never-give-up attitude, standing up and being a strong voice for survivors during her 27-year career at HAWC. She is a wife and a mother of two daughters. A beloved leader, she mentors countless staff, particularly Hispanic women, and shows that accomplishing professional aspirations are possible. Sonia started her professional journey in the trenches as an advocate, so her awareness and compassion are inspiring.
Executive Director, Latinos for Education
Andy Canales is the Greater Houston Executive Director at Latinos for Education, an education non-profit organization focused on developing and placing Latino talent in the education sector. In this role, Andy works with a wide range of nonprofits to increase Latino leadership in their organizations. In just one year, Andy worked with a number of community leaders and nonprofit organizations to launch two Latino leadership programs focused on training Latino leaders to serve on education nonprofit boards and advance into senior education roles.
President & CEO, BakerRipley
As President and CEO of BakerRipley, Claudia Aguirre leads an internationally renowned community development organization that has transformed neighborhoods for 112 years. As one of the largest nonprofits in the country, BakerRipley serves 600,000 people specializing in immigration, education, workforce development, community engagement, and health and wellness programs. Claudia leads a team of 1,600 staff at 67 locations across the Houston region. Her experience of immigrating from Mexico at the age of eight helped her to pursue her dreams and ignited a passion to help others pursue theirs.
PAST LEADERSHIP AWARD WINNERS
Chief Program Officer, Houston Area Women's Center
Carlos Valdez, Jr
CEO Las Palapas Hausman and YMCA of Greater Houston Board Chair & Volunteer
President & GM, NBCUniversal/Telemundo, Houston Independent School District Volunteer
Senior Vice President of H-E-B, Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Houston Volunteer
Founder, Cordua Restaurants, Casa de Esperanza Board Member and Volunteer
Alex Lopez Negrete
President & CEO, Lopez Negrete Communications, Baker-Ripley Charter School
Former President & CEO, AVANCE, Inc.
Dr. Laura Murillo
President & CEO, Houston Hispanic Chamber of Commerce
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