The Tall Tree Awards are given to individuals and organizations that have shown exceptional civic contributions and service to the community. The event is sponsored by the Palo Alto Chamber of Commerce and the Palo Alto Weekly, a Chamber Leader’s Circle Member. From time to time, a special one-time award is given to a person or business that has made an impact upon the community that is noteworthy. Nominations are submitted by the general public once a year and awarded in four categories.
The 39th annual event, sponsored by the Palo Alto Chamber of Commerce and the Palo Alto Weekly, is honored to recognize our 4 Award Winners.
Allan and Mary Seid are receiving the award for Outstanding Citizen Volunteer.
For more than 50 years, the longtime Palo Altans have devoted themselves to social causes and fighting injustice.
"The Seids have repeatedly stepped up when their community has called upon them to do so, and Palo Alto would not be what it is today without them," Santa Clara County Supervisor Joe Simitian wrote in a letter supporting their nomination.
Together, the Seids co-founded Asian Americans for Community Involvement in 1973 to advocate for Asian-Americans and other minorities living in Santa Clara County. The organization assists non-English-speaking immigrants with health care, legal and government services.
Shashank Joshi is receiving the award for Outstanding Professional.
Joshi has gone beyond his role as associate professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Stanford University to assist troubled youth in the Palo Alto area. As a suicide-prevention expert, he played a central role in the community response to the mental health crises apparent among high school students in Palo Alto in 2009 after a cluster of suicides.
Joshi is a founding member of Project Safety Net, formed to prevent teenage suicide and promote youth well-being. The organization aims to develop and implement an effective, comprehensive community-based mental health plan with strategies that together provide a "safety net."
Ada's Café is receiving the award for Outstanding Nonprofit.
Since 2012, the nonprofit has empowered people with disabilities through work opportunities, changing the face of retail out of a small, inviting coffee shop next to the Mitchell Park Library and in the commercial kitchen in Mountain View, where all the food is made with organic ingredients.
Kathleen Foley-Hughes, a longtime Palo Altan and mother of four, founded the nonprofit that began with catering gigs and expanded to a café open seven days a week.
Ada's has hired more than 50 adults with developmental disabilities and has integrated students from several local schools into its summer intern program.
SAP is receiving the award for Outstanding Business.
Tech giant SAP is known worldwide as a leader in enterprise application software, but locally, the company's Stanford Research Park campus is recognized for its community partnerships, sustainability efforts and dedication to workplace diversity.
SAP is among the 229 companies recognized by Best Workplaces for Commuters. In Palo Alto, SAP provides employees transit subsidies, commuter shuttles and carpool matching and free ride-share access.
As a zero-waste campus, SAP runs off of 99 percent renewable energy credits, has installed more than 650 solar panels, and on average, saves 3.1 million gallons of water at its data canters annually.
As a partner of the Foundation for a College Education in East Palo Alto, many SAP employees have mentored students through various programs. Employees also have worked with the foundation through SAP Social Sabbatical, a pro bono volunteer program where employees are given a six-week leave to provide their expertise toward helping nonprofits solve challenges.