Four local women were honored at a valley-wide awards lunch and scholarship fundraiser Tuesday.
Helene Galen, Lisa Houston, Kim Waltrip and Lynn Moriarty were recognized for their community leadership, public service and entrepreneurship at Women Leaders Forum of the Coachella Valley's first "Women Who Rule!" Awards Luncheon and Scholarship Fundraiser.
KESQ News Channel 3's Karen Devine and CBS Local 2's Brooke Beare were emcees at the event at Agua Caliente Casino in Rancho Mirage.
All proceeds are going to college scholarships for members of the group's Young Women Leaders Mentoring Program, with a match of up to $50,000 from Pathways to Success, a division of the Coachella Valley Economic Partnership, according to event spokeswoman Amy Blaisdell.
Philanthropist Helene Galen received the Mary T. Roche Community Leadership Award. Galen has donated millions of dollars over the years to local nonprofits, including the Barbara Sinatra Children's Center at Eisenhower Medical Center, the McCallum Theatre, the Palm Springs Art Museum and the newly established Palm Springs Art Museum in Palm Desert, dubbed "The Galen."
Lisa Houston, CEO of FIND Food Bank in Indio, received the Jackie Lee Houston Heart of Gold Award. The award is named after her mother-in-law, a community leader and philanthropist. FIND leads a network of more than 90 nonprofits that feed local residents. Houston and FIND Food Bank partnered this year with the Young Women Leaders Mentoring Program for a community service day.
Film producer Kim Waltrip received the Desert Visionary Award. Waltrip is vice chair of Palm Springs-based Kim and Jim Productions and has produced several widely released films. Waltrip is "a creative visionary dedicated to assisting local leaders develop film friendly incentive programs that will spur production here in the Coachella Valley," Blaisdell said.
Women Leaders Forum founder Mary Roche presented a special "Award of Accomplishment" to Lynn Moriarty, who recently retired as executive director of Shelter from Storm, a women's shelter in Palm Desert.
At the awards luncheon Galen surprise everyone by donating $10,000 to the scholarship fund, that set off a fundraising frenzy ending at over $80,000 dollars raised at Tuesday's event.