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The Friends of Human Relations of Santa Clara County (formerly known as The Friends of the Human Relations Commission) is a nonprofit organization (501c 3) founded in 1985 by Jim McEntee to support the Human Relations Commission (HRC) and Office of Human Relations. 

History of the Friends

For over fifteen years, the Friends Board , led by Jim McEntee, raised funds for the HRC, served as the fiscal agent for the Office of Human Relations and participated in programs that enhanced the goals and objectives of the HRC and OHR.  Friends also served as the main organizer of the annual Human Relations Awards Banquet event.  Throughout these years, the stellar efforts of longtime volunteers such as Deb Bogart, Pearl Caldwell, Lou Gray, Marguerite Owens, T.J. Owens, Marilyn Schlueter, Betty Sellars, Larry Sheahan, Judy Shropshire, Tony Sykes, Marion Tibbits and Elise D. Wilson helped the HRC & OHR better meet the needs of the county community. 

With Jim McEntee’s sudden passing in September 2004, a group of community members most active in supporting the mission of OHR, established the Jim McEntee Legacy Committee (JMLC) under the leadership of Gertrude Welch and Ann McEntee.  Members of the JMLC included: Samina Faheem, Richard Hobbs, Jim Jam, Richard Konda, Rosana Madrigal, Terry McCaffery, Ann McEntee, Fariba Nejat, Andrea Villaseñor-Perry, Judy Rickard, Anne Rosenzweig, Marion Tibbits, Ellen Turner, Gil Villagran and Joe Zenk.  (A number of members involved with the Legacy Committee also joined the Friends Board at the same time.)

The late Gertrude Welch served as Co-Chair of the Jim McEntee Legacy Committee (JMLC) with Ann McEntee from its inception and was instrumental in leading the work until her death in March 2007.  The Legacy Committee and the Friends Board truly appreciated Gertrude’s stellar leadership and peaceful spirit.

With the completion of the Jim McEntee Legacy Art Project in May 2010, the Legacy Committee merged with the Friends of Human Relations.

Friends of Human Relations Today

Today the Friends continue to serve as fiscal agent for the OHR and focus on continuing the vision of Jim McEntee.

With Ann McEntee serving as President of the Board, Friends of Human Relations oversees the Jim McEntee Legacy Art Project, the Jim McEntee Legacy Scholarship awards each year, and future work in support of the McEntee Academy in the Alum Rock Unified School District.  Friends also serves as the fiscal agent for the Insitute for Nonviolence and nominates an annual recipient of the James P. McEntee Lifetime Achievement Award.

Other members of the Friends Board include: Andrea Villaseñor-Perry, Secretary, Anne Rosenzweig, Fariba Nejat, Richard Konda, Terry McCaffery, Richard Hobbs, Samina Faheem, and Rev. Gerry Sakamoto.

James P. McEntee Sr. Lifetime Achievement Award

In 2004, following the death of  Jim McEntee, the JMLC established the James P. McEntee, Sr. Lifetime Achievement Award to be given at the annual Human Relations Awards event each year.  The award was created to honor an outstanding individual from the county community whose life honored the spirit of Jim McEntee by living a life dedicated to peace, human rights and social justice. Click here to learn about previous Lifetime Achievement Award winners.

James P. McEntee Sr. Lifetime Achievement Award

This award has been presented annually since 2004. Award winners have included Rigo Chacon, Gertrude Welch, Richard Konda, Florene Poyadue, Wiggsy Siverstsen, Fr. Bill Lenininger, Elisa M. Alvarado, Blanca Alvarado, Arturo Gomez, and Judge Cordell. Read more.

Make a Donation

The Firiends of Human Relations/Jim McEntee Legacy Committee projects rely on generous support from the community. Please make a donation by clicking on the link below. Thank you for your support!

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