Maribel Garcia Community Spirit Award

We're doing a different kind of award for 2020 because - well - it's been a different kind of year. In response to the struggles and losses of the COVID pandemic, the efforts and courage surrounding Black Lives Matter, our altered isolated living states these days, we're offering a "we-believe-in-you" support grant to help kickstart and/or fuel proposed projects. We're looking specifically for community work that's aimed at answering the needs, lessening the pain, bringing joy, and empowering the actions of those affected by -and working to combat- our current challenges.

About the Award

The Maribel Garcia Community Spirit Award for Remarkable Contributions to the Spirit of Humanity is given each year to a Cornell student for making a remarkable, creative specific contribution to the spirit of humanity.

This annual award honors the memory of dearly missed Cornell alum Maribel Garcia '95, a vital friend and always a creative, inspiring and energetic member or her community. Maribel died tragically in a car accident in 1997, and we hope to honor her name and build a legacy of giving by rewarding one student each year for a "remarkable contribution to the spirit of humanity." We believe creative, innovative contributions to the immediate community can spread outward and upward to make the world more unified, healthy, and happy for all humanity. It is with this spirit that we present the Maribel Garcia Award to one Cornell student each year, undergraduate or graduate.

Your application is due Thursday, October 15, 2020. If you have any questions about the application process, please email

The award will be bestowed at the PSC's year-end awards event on TBA.

Consider contributing to the Maribel Garcia Community Spirit Award so that we can conitnue to support those who have creatively sereved their community! Click here to donate!

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Past Awardees

  • Jacquelyn Richards, 2019 - President of the Black Graduate & Professional Student Association, an organization that address the needs and concerns of graduate and professional students
  • Kelley Mark, 2018 - Founded Knit with Care, a therapeutic knitting group that centers around mindfulness an is open to the Cornell and Ithaca community
  • Lena Ransohoff, 2017- President of Cornell's Sober House, which is a safe space for Cornellians to support each other in recovering from substance abuse
  • Shiwani Bisht, 2016 - Organized "More Than a Survivor: More than a Story" to increase awarness of sexual solicitation 
  • Owen Lee-Park, 2015 - Revived and expanded Writer's Bloc magazine to publish the creative work of inmates at Auburn Prison
  • Martin Jose Zorrilla, 2014 - Created The Intag Project with Cornellians and residents in Ecuador to work towards sustainable globalization
  • Joanna Smith, 2013 - Founded The Parent Project, empowering parents to educate themselves and beat the cycle of poverty
  • Kaitlin Hardy, 2012 - Expanded education and awareness about epilepsy through publication of a children's book
  • Dean Oliver, 2011 - President of Men of Color Council, striving to raise college graduation rates and strengthen critical life skills
  • Sara Furguson, 2010 - Created Disabilities Service Team, matching able Cornellians to fellow students living with disabilities
  • Joran Sequeira, 2009 - Vibrant member of the Cornell Elderly Partnership, winner of Greatest Generation Grant
  • Jessica Houle, 2008 - Empowered youth in local trailer parks through the OURS and YOURS community programs
  • Ding Kong, 2007 - Created cooking classes for low-income kids in Ithaca to learn about nutrition and pass it on to their families