In an inspiring evening honoring individuals and organizations that are advancing the quality of life on the Central Coast, the 2010 Community Impact Awards were issued December 2 at a formal banquet and ceremony at the Monarch Club in Nipomo.

Awards Director Jon Fugler, Janet Jeffery (Hospice Partners), Lisa Ray, Mary Verdin (Verdin Marketing), Diane Blakeslee Brocato, Senator Sam Blakeslee (who presented State Senate proclamations).

The four honorees are:

Hospice Partners of the Central Coast

Outstanding Non Profit Organization of the Year

Lisa Rosemarie Ray

Outstanding Volunteer of the Year

Diane Blakeslee Brocato

Outstanding Philanthropist of the Year

Verdin Marketing InkOutstanding Business of the Year

In addition to receiving their awards, each recipient was also presented with a State Senate proclamation from Senator Sam Blakeslee, recognizing them for their unique contributions to our community.

Video features on each of the winners will be posted soon on the Community Impact Awards website at For more information, please contact coordinator Erin Kidwell at 805-541-4343.





Hospice Partners of the Central Coast was formed in 1998 to provide care for patients and families from as far north as Bradley to as far south as Lompoc and Santa Ynez.

Their goal is to provide terminally ill patients a means to achieve what they need most as they reach the end of their life: freedom from pain, emotional and spiritual support and the ability to control the direction of their own care.

Hospice Partners of the Central Coast is State-licensed, and sees more than 1,000 patients a year, accounting for about 50% of the deaths in the area which are related to natural causes. But the care goes beyond the patients, as they help families to adjust to and cope with the physical, emotional and spiritual challenges of a terminal illness.

Their team includes physicians, registered nurses, medical social workers, home health aides, dieticians, bereavement counselors, therapists (physical, occupational, speech) spiritual counselors and therapeutic musicians. When you add the fully trained volunteers, you have a team that provides comprehensive care at this most fragile time of life.

In a recent survey of the families it has served, 100% reported that the patient was always treated with respect and 100% reported that they would recommend Hospice Partners to others. In addition, 100% of physicians surveyed reported that their patients and families were satisfied with Hospice Partners services.



Helping low income and homeless families in San Luis Obispo County is an arena in which Lisa Rosemarie Ray leads by example. Beginning by helping one family in need, it is now estimated that more than 2,000 people have received assistance.

It all started in the summer of 2009, when Lisa heard of a single parent who was struggling financially and could not afford school clothes or backpacks for her children. Lisa went through her own children’s good used clothing, then purchased more clothes and backpacks for the family in need.

“After this experience, Lisa wondered how great the need was for used clothing and shoes and whether a program existed to meet this need in South County,” said Mary Squellati, Site Coordinator for the Nipomo Family Resource Center. When she found that there was not a program, Lisa jumped in as a volunteer with the Family Resource Centers in Nipomo, Oceano and Arroyo Grande.

This was the beginning of what has become an ongoing campaign for Lisa, and she converted the lower level of her home for the collection of clothing, household items, toys, Christmas gifts, Thanksgiving dinners, school supplies, backpacks and other items.

Lisa works closely with many other agencies, volunteering on committees and for events and distributing items of need. These agencies include the SLO County Women’s Assistance League, Five Cities Homeless Coalition, Oceano School Wellness Committee, the Oceano Boys and Girls Club, Department of Social Services in Arroyo Grande, St. Patrick’s Outreach Program, Sierra Vista’s mothers and newborn babies in need program, CAPSLO Homeless Services in Grover Beach, and others.

Her work become such a passion for Lisa that she has formed a non profit organization, Lisa Ray’s Donation Group, to better meet the needs of low-income families, children and the homeless.



When it comes to pouring her financial resources into the community, Diane Blakeslee Brocato is one who gives generously and continually. Her legacy of philanthropy extends back more than five decades, supporting the arts and other local efforts to advance the quality of life on the Central Coast.

But Diane’s philanthropic leadership extends beyond giving her financial resources. Over the years, she has taken Board and other leadership roles with the San Luis Obispo Museum of Art, the Cuesta College Foundation, Pacific Repertory Opera (now Opera San Luis Obispo), Festival Mozaic, the Red Cross and Rotary.

“It would be very difficult to estimate the financial level of her philanthropy over the years,” said Karen Kile, Director of the San Luis Obispo Museum of Art. “That isn’t what’s important to Diane. She gives what she can as often as she can.”

A pioneer who steps up to take the lead in charitable efforts, Diane gave the bulk of the funds to start the International Choral Festival, which has become a world-class event at the Performing Arts Center at Cal Poly. She also made a substantial donation to renovate the Cuesta College Auditorium, now known as the Blakeslee Auditorium, keeping that historic facility in service for students and community organizations. In another pioneering effort, Diane provided the seed money for the Arne Nyback Curatorial Endowment for the San Luis Obispo Art Center.

She has also donated grand pianos to three local churches over the years, combining her faith and her love for music.



Verdin Marketing Ink is exemplary in its commitment to the community. From its support of the business community, non profit sector and community causes, the company has made it a priority to invest in the Central Coast and its people.

The company’s president, Mary Verdin, has made it a priority for two decades to be an influential force in advancing the quality of life in our community. She served on the San Luis Obispo Chamber of Commerce Board for five years, is an 11-year member of Rotary, and consistently donates her company’s professional services to a variety of non profits on the Central Coast.

Since the company’s founding in 2003, before Verdin Marketing Ink had even one paying client, the company established an “Adopt-a-Non Profit” program. Knowing how critical it is to “give back,” the company dedicated one full day of work each month to a selected non profit in need. Since then, this generosity has expanded to include a broader range of services to a growing list of non profits, totaling over $250,000 in time and talent. Beneficiaries include People’s Self Help Housing, SLO County Food Bank, San Luis Obispo Children’s Museum, the Poetic Justice Project and several more.

The company’s employees also take volunteer leadership and service roles in local organizations, such as the Food Bank, Literacy Council Miller’s Equestrian Sanctuary, Hospice, Festival Mozaic, the Symphony, Botanical gardens, Family Care Network, Woods Humane Society, local elementary schools, 12-step recovery programs and senior communities.

The leading core value of Verdin Marketing Ink is “integrity,” which is evidenced by the company’s reputation among its clients and in the industry, as well as the community at large.

In 2010, the company received 11 awards, including six ADDYs from the Advertising Federation of America.