“The future is now,” PG&E’s Ezra Garrett told attendees and Diversity Scholarship recipients at the César Chávez Commemoration event at John F. Kennedy University on Monday (March 31).
From left, JFK University President Charles Powell, Anthony Chávez and PG&E’s Ezra Garrett at the César Chávez Commemoration event. (Photos by Nicole Liebelt.)
“Lead today,” he said.
PG&E conducts its business in ways to create opportunities, said Garrett, vice president of community relations and the company’s chief sustainability officer. He’s also the executive director for the PG&E Corporation Foundation and a board member of the Latino Community Foundation.
“That’s why last year,” he said, “we spent more than $500,000 with Hispanic-American businesses.”
The event featured Anthony Chávez, grandson of César Chávez, who is a Coro Fellows intern at JFK University assisting with their 2014 initiative to become a Hispanic Serving Institution.
The Chávez Commemoration honored the elder Chávez’ birthday – he was born on March 31, 1927 — and came on the heels of the release of a major motion picture about his life, “Cesar Chavez,” which opened in theaters this month.
At the event, JFK University’s President, Dr. Charles “Mac” Powell, announced his personal “launch donation” of $30,000 in Diversity Scholarship funds specifically for Hispanic students. Garrett then made a surprise announcement that PG&E would match Powell’s donation with a $30,000 gift to the University’s Diversity Scholarship program.
Garrett’s announcement prompted a standing ovation from the crowd of about 100 people.
“The future is in public and private partnerships … PG&E recognizes that their clients are diverse and that the faces of their customers are changing,” said Anthony Chavez. “My grandfather would say that ‘the end of all education should be service to others.’ By providing this kind of scholarship, PG&E is helping to further the legacy of my grandfather.”
Other speakers included Johnny Huang, president of Contra Costa’s Hispanic Chamber of Commerce; Capt. Graciela Tiscareno-Sato, 2014 White House Champion of Change for Women Veteran Leaders; and Assemblyman Jim Frazier, who represents the 11th District.
Seven diverse JFK University students were honored at the event, each receiving scholarships of $5,000 to continue their studies for this coming year.