David Levinson, who founded Big Sunday as a Mitzvah Day at Temple Israel of Hollywood in Los Angeles and grew it into a nonprofit organization that attracted 50,000 volunteers of all ages for a weekend of giving back in May has been named by Governor Schwarzenegger and Maria Shriver as the inaugural Nonprofit Leader of the Year as part of the 2009 National Conference on Volunteering and Service.
Levinson’s philosophy that everybody can give grew from a 200-person day of volunteering at 19 sites in 1999, the first year, to include participation from synagogues, churches, mosques, public schools, neighborhood groups and individuals of all stripes to work together to build and renovate homes, rehab apartments, wash dogs, spruce up school yards, entertain the elderly and much more. More than 500 sites benefited on the weekend of May 2-3,2009, from Solvang to San Diego.
The state of California received more than 100 nominations for the 2009 award, according to California’s Secretary of Service and Volunteering, Karen Baker.
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