CCEJ’s 44th Annual Food & Beverage Industries Humanitarian Awards Dinner was held at the Hilton Anaheim on September 5, 2018.  More than 360 guests attended to honor Mary Crocker (Alta Dena Dairy), Bob Paul (Navigator Sales & Marketing) and Valerie Jabbar (formerly of Ralphs, now with Kroger).

The Food & Beverage Industries play a key role in helping CCEJ sustain and grow programs which combat prejudice and discrimination in our communities.  This year’s honorees were able to visit Building Bridges programs and see first-hand the impact of the industries’ support for CCEJ’s youth programs.

Watch this year’s program video here.

CCEJ’s work with youth was featured throughout the evening.  During a discussion of personal values, four youth leaders from CCEJ’s Building Bridges for Youth Program shared their thoughts on CCEJ’s values of respect, justice, community, and transformation.  F&B Industry leader Dave Dimond and his daughter Lexi shared the impact of CCEJ’s programs for their family (video link here).  Three outstanding youth leaders from CCEJ’s Building Bridges served as presenters for the awardees and shared their personal reflections on meeting each honoree.

The honorees were recognized for their many contributions to their industry and communities through acts of service and leadership.  In their speeches, they also shared how they personally connected with CCEJ’s work.

Mary Crocker – speech link here

“When you get to camp and see what it does for these kids, you leave knowing the camp made a difference in the student’s life.  The challenges that children face every day in their schools are overwhelming.  The bullying and cyberbullying can crush a child’s self-confidence and keep them from achieving their goals in life.  This has to stop.  The CCEJ Building Bridges Camp help kids come together from different races, religions, genders and come together as one to make their communities and schools better places to live in and survive in.  CCEJ is the voice of change for our youth.”

Valerie Jabbar (Ken Boatner of Ralphs accepted on her behalf) – speech link here

“I want to thank the members of the Food & Beverage Industries – you help make the important work of the CCEJ possible.  We at Ralphs are great admirers of the work the CCEJ is doing to promote tolerance and understanding.  We share CCEJ’s vision of a prejudice-free society, and I especially admire the work the CCEJ is doing with young people to help them reach their full potential regardless of background or economic situation.”

Bob Paul – speech link here

“CCEJ is very much geared towards success through attitude and inspiration.  They have a volunteer team of teenagers and staff and they take 600 teens every year up to their camps.  And when they do, they break out into smaller groups to…figure out ways to deal with bias, meanness, bigotry, racism and violence.  I was in a group and a young man began to cry, saying, “Thank you so much everybody, I really feel accepted.  I feel so happy.”  That’s something that CCEJ did with all the attendees – they really connected with that person.”

Enjoy more photos of the event at this link.

We are so grateful to all of our sponsors, who contributed more than $217,000 at the dinner, as well as the guests who raised $16,500 for our Light the Way Campaign, which supports youth to attend CCEJ’s Building Bridges Camp.

If you were unable to attend the event, but you want to support CCEJ’s efforts to build a better world, donate at this link or call 562-435-8184. Your contribution is fully tax-deductible and will help more young people have the transformative experience of Building Bridges!


Alta Dena Certified Dairy & Got Milk
Bristol Farms & Lazy Acres
Pepsi Beverages & Frito Lay
Ralphs Grocery Co.
Smart & Final
Southern Glazer’s Wine and Spirits
Stater Bros. Charities
Bimbo Bakeries USA
Certified Federal Credit Union
DPI Specialty Foods
Gallo Wine Co.
Kellogg Company
Perimeter Sales and Merchandising
the Performance Group & Monster Energy Co.
Anheuser Busch
Barilla America
Firestone Walker Brewing Co.
Gelson’s Markets
Keurig Dr Pepper
Milton’s Baking Co.
Mission Foods
Navigator Sales & Marketing
Northgate Gonzalez Markets
Young’s Market Company
Zacky Farms
Zevia & Swell Ice Cream


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Gene Lentzner Nomination Application

Nomination Application

Please make sure to tell us about your nominee in your 1-2 pages by including the following:

1) Significant contributions to the Greater Los Angeles or Long Beach Community in the area of social justice/human relations
2) How they promote respect and justice among all people regardless of differences in race, religion, ethnicity, ability, sexual orientation, gender or gender identity
3) How they demonstrate commitment to social justice and human relations by way of service (if it’s at work, then above and beyond their paid scope of work)
4) Ways they foster inter-group, inter-faith cooperation
5) How they are connected to the Greater Los Angeles or Long Beach area