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San Diego small business owners awarded for community heroism

December 19, 2019
Times of San Diego
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San Diego Community Newspaper Group

San Diego County’s growing community of small businesses recently gathered in North Park to celebrate local business owners going beyond their bottom line to invest in the livelihood of their employees and the health of their community.

Assembly member Todd Gloria and Council member Chris Ward joined Business For Good San Diego, the nonprofit uniting small business owners to drive policy that improves communities, at its annual celebration to introduce the five awardees.

According to Business For Good, the awards recognize outstanding social responsibility within the business community and demonstrate the role that local business owners play in making San Diego County a more equitable and sustainable place.

“Tonight, we celebrate the contributions of some dynamic business owners who have committed to changing the narrative about the voice of business in San Diego,” says Mikey Knab, Business For Good board chair and director of operations of Ponce’s Restaurant in Kensington and Del Sur. “These heroes have given their time and leveraged their reputations to support the long term health of their employees and their communities.”

The 2019 Business For Good Annual Awards went to the following:

•Housing and Homelessness Hero Award: Brad Keiller, owner of Nomad Donuts (North Park). Keiler showed his employees, customers, and community how businesses can treat all people with dignity when he stood up for a homeless man outside his store in response to a negative Yelp review.

• High Road Employer Award: Jay Buys, owner of Visceral (Hillcrest). Buys demonstrated his commitment to his employees by covering 100 percent of their healthcare, matching California-state parental leave, supporting 40 hours of volunteer time, and matching charitable donations made by his team.

• Immigration Advocate Award: Lindsay LaShell, owner of Diamond + Branch Marketing Group (North Park). LaShell’s digital marketing agency created the Welcoming San Diego website to support the city of San Diego’s initiative to advance the civic, social, and economic integration of immigrants and refugees.

• Environmental Champion Award: Dr. Cindy J. Lin, CEO, and co-founder of HOVE Social Good Intelligence (San Diego). Lin’s innovative approach to data and design empowered her company to measure the tangible impact of local efforts to improve public health and create a more sustainable environment.

• Environmental Champion Award: Michael Torti, vice president of C&M Motors, Inc. (National City). Torti exemplified the role businesses play in creating a more sustainable home by advocating for the city of San Diego’s single-use plastics ordinance and expanding the Ocean Friendly Restaurant program, which he co-created in 2014.