In Harmony with Hope Awards Honor Social Entrepreneurs for Inspirational Success Amidst Tough Times

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Elfenworks presents $25,000 each to founders of innovative programs making change in marginalized communities.

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Each honoree has shown profound achievement with programs that help vulnerable individuals overcome daunting barriers and lead happier, healthier lives.

The Elfenworks Foundation (, an organization that works for hope in America by fostering creative and technology solutions that advance change, will honor three entrepreneurs who are reshaping communities in lasting and positive ways at the 6th Annual In Harmony with Hope Awards. The awards ceremony will take place at Kohl Mansion in Burlingame, CA, on Thursday, October 4th, 2012, and will honor the accomplishments of visionary change makers who are providing inspiration and hope when inequality is at record levels and the battered U.S. economy is still struggling to correct itself. For the second year, Wells Fargo has contributed $10,000 in support of the program.

“We’re thrilled with this year’s winners, true American heroes with real solutions to some of America’s most difficult problems,” said Dr. Lauren Speeth, Elfenworks Founder and CEO. “Each honoree has shown profound achievement with programs that help vulnerable individuals overcome daunting barriers and lead happier, healthier lives.”

Beyond the financial reward, the In Harmony with Hope Awards gathering will enhance the winners’ networks so they can continue to bring compassionate vision into action.

The In Harmony with Hope Award alumni include visionaries like Rosalynn Carter, Paul Farmer and Will Allen, and this year’s honorees carry on that legacy of tackling problems facing America’s disenfranchised communities.

The theme this year is “Hope Alights”—in tribute to the hope that manifests when people light the path to a different future.

The 2012 In Harmony with Hope Award winners are:

Rafael Alvarez, Founder, CEO, Genesys Works (, Houston, TX
In 2002, former business executive Rafael Alvarez created Genesys Works to build a pathway out of poverty. The program includes a summer intensive workshop in communication skills and technical training to high school students. Throughout the school year, these newly trained workers are placed into large Fortune 500 corporations to practice on-the-job training. The program is rapidly expanding across the country; it is currently in Houston, Chicago and the Twin Cities.

“The In Harmony with Hope Award celebrates individuals who are bringing hope to the United States,” commented Rafael Alvarez. “Our success stories tell it all: more than 95% of our graduates go on to college and more than 70% persist in their college career. We are thrilled Elfenworks is recognizing Genesys Works’ accomplishments and the students who succeed in our program.”

Maurice Lim Miller, Founder, President & CEO, Family Independence Initiative (, Oakland, CA
Maurice Lim Miller founded the Family Independence Initiative (FII) in 2000 to innovate new approaches for social and economic mobility using age-old strengths of self-determination, mutuality and choice. Over the last decade FII has demonstrated that investing in people’s strengths and initiative delivers more powerful, sustainable, and cost-effective outcomes for low-income families. At the heart of their efforts are strategies that increase the control and choice that low income people hold in their lives and reinforce community and reward initiative.

“By honoring FII's work, the In Harmony with Hope Award helps spread the message that low-income families may be broke but they are not broken,” said Maurice Lim Miller. “When families are trusted with resources and given the space and support to work together to solve their own problems—rather than taking direction from professionals—they have an immeasurable ability to transform their lives.”

Gary Oppenheimer, Founder, Executive Director,, Newfoundland, NJ
Gary Oppenheimer is the creator of, a nationwide organization that connects, educates and empowers home gardeners to share their freshly harvested excess produce with a local food pantry. Those small pantries are helping feed the 50 million Americans who don’t always know where their next meal will come from. The idea earned Oppenheimer recognition as a “CNN Hero” on Larry King Live. Since its inception in 2009, more than 5,400 pantries have been enrolled on

“The Elfenworks In Harmony with Hope Award is recognition of the innovative technology solution for hunger and nutrition,” stated Gary Oppenheimer. “Our vision for 'No Food Left Behind' is to have America's 40+ million home gardeners become heroes in their own community, ultimately changing both the health and the wealth of the nation.”

For more information on the 2012 In Harmony with Hope Award winners, visit

About Elfenworks “In Harmony with Hope”: Elfenworks is leading the way to a better America, one good thought at a time. Working on behalf of our country’s marginalized citizens, Elfenworks identifies issues that aren’t being effectively addressed, creates change in new and different ways by bringing our unique skill-set to bear, and amplifies project successes through storytelling.

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