Carlos Santana and his wife Deborah, in recognition of their ongoing work with The Milagro Foundation, which they founded in 1998, will be honored with UCLA's Cesar E. Chavez Spirit Award. The "Cesar E. Chavez: A Legacy of Leadership" dinner and special ceremony took place at the Westwood campus' Faculty Center on March 28 to coincide with the anniversary of Chavez's birthday on the 31st. Students from UCLA's ethnomusicology department provided the evening's entertainment, with the main benefactor being Carlos' music label, Arista Records. Proceeds from the gala will benefit the Cesar E. Chavez Scholarships, designed to fund students pursuing degrees in Chicana/o studies who have also demonstrated a commitment to public service.
The prestigious Cesar E. Chavez Spirit Award, named in honor of the late civil rights champion and passionate United Farm Workers labor leader, was established in 2000 to pay tribute to individuals embodying Chavez's goals, principles, humanitarian vision and ideal of service to others. The award's first recipient was veteran actor, activist and "The West Wing" star Martin Sheen. On being asked to accept the second annual Spirit Award, Carlos Santana said "Deborah and I are deeply moved to be receiving this honor, especially in the name of the great Cesar Chavez. We are forever committed to helping youth around the world, and will continue to reach out to young people in need with the Milagro Foundation."
The Milagro Foundation was established by the Santanas to serve the needs of at-risk and disadvantaged youth through a broad spectrum of educational, arts and health programs. The Foundation supports grass roots, community-based, tax-exempt organizations in the San Francisco Bay area, throughout the United States, and in countries touched by the music of Santana. In under three years, The Milagro Foundation has bestowed grants to over one hundred worthy groups throughout the world working on behalf of young people -- for more information, visit www.milagrofoundation.org. Carlos and Deborah Santana's philanthropic work has also supported many other charitable causes over the years, including Rights of Indigenous Peoples, Blues for El Salvador, Tijuana Orphans, and San Francisco Earthquake Relief.