UCSC professor honored as 'civic entrepreneur'

Manuel Pastor, a professor of Latin American and Latino studies at the University of California, Santa Cruz, has been named the volunteer Civic Entrepreneur of the Year by the California Center for Regional Leadership.

Pastor, director of UCSC's Center for Justice, Tolerance, and Community, is a leader of the movement to forge regional solutions to societal problems. His book, Regions That Work: How Cities and Suburbs Can Grow Together, coauthored with Peter Dreier, Eugene Grigsby, and Marta Lopez-Garza, is a pioneering work in the field.

A widely recognized scholar of Latin American and U.S. urban issues, Pastor is also a dedicated community activist and an effective policy adviser. He has done extensive "solution-oriented research" in Los Angeles, studying community organizing and economic development in the city's poor neighborhoods.

Pastor has collaborated with Communities for a Better Environment to study and strategize for environmental justice in low-income communities of color. He has also teamed up with San Jose-based Working Partnerships USA, a labor-supported think tank that does research on the changing economy, to compare aspects of Silicon Valley's "new economy" to the "old" rust-belt economy of metropolitan Milwaukee. He serves on the Advisory Council of the Public Policy Institute of California and served as a board member of the Silicon Valley Civic Action Network.

"His dedication and effectiveness as a community activist working in the poor neighborhoods of Los Angeles and elsewhere around the state is well-known and admired by civic entrepreneurs all over California," said the announcement. The award was presented in January.

The California Center for Regional Leadership (CCRL) is a San Francisco-based statewide nonprofit organization established to support and promote innovative regional solutions to major economic, environmental, and societal challenges. The group also presented a professional Civic Entrepreneur of the Year Award to Carol Whiteside, founder and president of the Great Valley Center, a nonprofit organization committed to building support for California's Central Valley. The awards are sponsored by the Morgan Family Foundation.