You've got to admire the balance struck by Donna Dubinsky and Len Shustek, the couple honored as the Philanthropists of the Year on Friday by the Silicon Valley chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals.
Dubinsky -- a driving force behind early PDAs and smartphones and now CEO of Grok -- and Shustek, a computer networking pioneer, are benefactors of both the Peninsula Open Space Trust and the Computer History Museum. The couple has provided the valley with the best way of preserving and celebrating its tech history while also doing much to preserve its natural beauty.
And when you consider that Shustek founded the Computer History Museum, it's refreshing to hear his call for community service goes beyond creating future exhibits for the collection. "If you see a need, go out and meet it," he said. "It's not all about making the next widget."
Meeting needs is what it was all about at the Philanthropy Day lunch, held at the Santa Clara Convention Center. Dubinsky and Shustek led a parade of honorees who do more than their part in making the valley a better place to live.
Other award winners included Elizabeth Dunlevie (Outstanding Volunteer Fundraiser), Mari Ellen Loijens (Outstanding Professional Fundraiser), Sequoia Hospital, 94.5 KBAY-FM, the Leo M. Shortino Family Foundation, the Yahoo Employee Foundation, Archbishop Mitty High School and Palo Alto residents Iris and Hal Korol, who received the Glenn George Heart of Philanthropy Award.
"We're honoring 36 people today," said event Chairwoman Nvisha Mehta, "but I wish we could do this every month."
GREAT COTS!: Deborah Olson, whose great-grandparents founded C.J. Olson Fruit Stand in Sunnyvale more than a century ago, was doing the family proud at Mineta San Jose International Airport on Friday. Olson was at the C.J. Olson retail store in Terminal B inviting travelers to take the "Apricot Challenge," and to sample dried Blenheim apricots and Turkish apricots and vote for their favorite. Her dad, Charlie Olson, still tends to the 10 acres of Blenheims the family grows in Sunnyvale.
Coincidentally, I heard that renowned author and New Age guru Deepak Chopra was elsewhere in the terminal for a book-signing event. I wonder what he would have thought of the apricots.
GOOD SPORTS: Retired Bellarmine College Prep baseball coach Gary Cunningham picked up laughs as well as applause during his speech accepting induction into the San Jose Sports Hall of Fame on Wednesday. Tongue firmly in cheek, he told a story about going to confession at the Catholic boys school in San Jose and beginning in the usual manner with "Forgive me, Father, for I have sinned."
"That's a bit of an understatement," Cunningham recalls being told. "Your coaching cost us the win against Mitty."
Another inductee, Stanford basketball coach Tara VanDerveer, also got in a good line while accepting her honor at SAP Center. Noting that the last time she'd been at the arena was for the Rolling Stones concert, she looked at her plaque and quipped, "Who said you can't get no satisfaction?"
Of course, legendary Stanford and 49ers quarterback Frankie Albert was honored in memoriam, though I'm sure he would have gotten off a zinger here and there. San Jose Earthquakes star Paul Child, the fourth inductee, didn't do a humor routine, but he's English, so you can't always tell with that dry wit. I heard Child did have quite a good time, though, celebrating with former teammates and fans at the Britannia Arms pub the night before the ceremony.
VINTAGE EVENT: The Willow Glen Middle & High School Foundation uncorked a winner with its 12th annual Wine Tasting and Auction on Nov. 3. The fundraiser, held at the Willow Glen Branch Public Library and co-chaired by Tara Kiehle and Christy Schroeder, was attended by more than 300 people and brought in well over the foundation's $50,000 goal. Some of the creative auction items that brought in the big bucks included Hawaiian vacations and a tour of Tesla.