Legacy of Leadership Awards

Legacy of Leadership Awards

Recognizing Legacy and Innovation in Philanthropy

The Legacy of Leadership Awards recognizes Philanthropy Southwest Foundation members and individuals from across the Southwest region, in celebration of their spirit of leadership, legacy, and innovation. Award candidates were reviewed, and recipients were selected by the Legacy of Leadership Awards Committee, a PSW volunteer committee.
Nominations are now being taken for this year's Legacy of Leadership Awards and the winners will be recognized at this year’s Annual Conference during the Celebration of Philanthropy closing dinner.



2023 Award Recipients

Pillar of Philanthropy Award Groundbreaker Award Trailblazer Award

Awarded to a Philanthropy Southwest individual foundation member who understands the value of collaboration & has shown long-term commitment to the philanthropic sector

Awarded to a Philanthropy Southwest individual foundation member focusing on innovation and excellence during their career

Awarded to a Philanthropy Southwest individual foundation member staff or trustee who has provided a strong voice for philanthropy



Pillar of Philanthropy Award Recipient - Bruce Esterline, Meadows Foundation


Philanthropy award. With his holistic approach to grantmaking and commitment to collaboration across the sector, Esterline has played an integral role in shaping positive change across Texas over the span of four decades. 

Prior to his retirement in 2023, Bruce Esterline served as Senior Vice President for Strategic Initiatives and Grants at The Meadows Foundation and has had a forty-year career in the government and nonprofit sectors. After ten years in state government and creating and managing statewide nonprofit organizations, he joined The Meadows Foundation's Grants Department as one of its first Program Officers in 1983.

Through strategic and thoughtful grantmaking, the Meadows Foundation has catalyzed transformative projects in mental health, education, and the environment. Esterline’s legacy, particularly around mental health and creating the Meadows Mental Health Policy Institute, stretches across the entire state of Texas.

Exemplifying servant leadership, Esterline is known for his steadfast commitment and profound passion for this work. In every aspect, he consistently brings together colleagues to work towards shared goals. 

Esterline’s exceptional contributions to the sector, his colleagues, and the people of Texas make him a deserving recipient of Philanthropy Southwest’s Pillar of Philanthropy award. His work has not only channeled resources into deserving programs but has also fostered an ecosystem that encourages new ideas and partnerships, resulting in a cascade of positive outcomes that extend far beyond individual projects. 



Groundbreaker Award Recipient - Matt Carpenter, El Pomar Foundation


PSW is thrilled to name Matt Carpenter from the El Pomar Foundation as the recipient of the 2023 Groundbreaker Award. Carpenter serves as the Chief Operating Officer and Corporate Secretary for the El Pomar Foundation. He joined El Pomar in 199 as a participant in the Fellowship program and now oversees grant and program operations, which allocate more than $22 million annually to support Colorado-based organizations.

A leader in Colorado for more than 25 years, Carpenter has made significant contributions to the state and region. He has served on numerous boards including the Colorado Springs Chamber and Economic Development Corporation, Peak Vista Community Health Centers, The Classical Academy, and the YMCA of the Pikes Peak Region. He currently serves on the boards of Cheyenne Mountain Zoo, Colorado Springs Sports Corporation and Empty Stocking Fund Advisory Board.

Carpenter has demonstrated an exceptional level of engagement with PSW; his volunteer leadership has quite literally transformed the organization. He has been actively involved in various aspects of PSW's work for over a decade, serving on multiple task forces, the Executive Committee, and holding leadership positions on the Board of Directors. Notably, he played a crucial role in overseeing the nationwide search that led to the appointment of PSW's current President and CEO.

Carpenter’s outstanding character and inspirational nature make him highly deserving of the Groundbreaker Award.



Trailblazer Award Recipient - Yvonne "Bonnie" Gonzalez, Knapp Community Care Foundation

The winner of the 2023 Trailblazer Award is Yvonne "Bonnie" Gonzalez of the Knapp Community Care Foundation. As the founding CEO of the Knapp Community Care Foundation, Gonzalez worked tirelessly to build relationships with local non-profits. During her tenure, the foundation invested more than $47 million in grant funding for programs and operational support for 41 organizations. 

Through Gonzalez’s commitment to strategic partnerships and extensive networking skills, she has created many new partnerships for local non-profits and attracted many outside investors to the Rio Grande Valley, resulting in millions of dollars being invested in the local economy. And her forward-thinking style of leadership forged a board commitment to mission-related impact investing.

Before Gonzalez became CEO of the Knapp Community Care Foundation, she led Workforce Solutions, Lower Rio as CEO for 10 years. Under her direction, Workforce Solutions was named the “Top Performing Workforce Board in the State of Texas” and received state and national recognition. 

Prior to that, Gonzalez was the founding CEO of the Rio Grande Valley Empowerment Zone Corporation. During her eight-year tenure, she led an initiative that leveraged $414M in state, federal, and private investment to the original $40M federal investment.

In June 2023, Gonzalez retired from KCCF after a decade of service, but not without leaving her mark in philanthropy, education, healthcare, and community development.



2022 Legacy of Leadership Award Winners:

Pillar of Philanthropy Award Recipient - Lenny Krasnow, M.B. and Edna Zale Foundation, Dallas, TX

Groundbreaker Award Recipient - Virginia G. Piper Charitable Trust, Phoenix, AZ

Trailblazer Award Recipient - Judy C. Quisenberry, Valley Baptist Legacy Foundation, Harlingen, TX


2021 Legacy of Leadership Award Winners:

Pillar of Philanthropy Award Recipient - Christian Keesee, Kirkpatrick Family Fund, Oklahoma City, OK

Groundbreaker Award Recipient - Episcopal Health Foundation, Houston, TX

Trailblazer Award Recipient - Antoinette Malveaux, Casey Family Programs, Seattle, WA



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