The Community Foundation
San Luis Obispo County

Award Named in Local Health Advocate's Honor

About Isabel P. Ruiz

"She is a true humanitarian." The Tribune, June 4, 2007

Isabel P. Ruiz came to America in 1973 as a medical doctor (OB/GYN) trained in her native Peru. She was described as a leader, an instrument of change and a tremendously caring individual committed to advocacy and community. She worked tirelessly as an advocate for local women and for the Latino community. Her philosophy was always to "be the bridge" whenever opportunities arose to help an individual become more self sufficient.

In her professional life in San Luis Obispo County, Ruiz was the director of EOC Health Services, clinic manager of Community Health Centers, and a social worker for the County Health Dept. She also supported many organizations in a volunteer capacity, including the boards of the French Hospital Medical Center, the American Cancer Society and the Oceano Community Center. She was an active member of the Latino Outreach Council, a leader in her church and in her community. In 2001, Ruiz was given the Cuesta College Women of Distinction Award for Progress for Women. Mrs. Ruiz passed away in July 2009.

Isabel P. Ruiz Humanitarian Award

The Isabel P. Ruiz Humanitarian Award annually recognizes and rewards a local individual for outstanding efforts in advocacy and caring for local people in San Luis Obispo County. This award is also designed to highlight and encourage those who follow in Mrs. Ruiz's footsteps to remain committed to community organizing and advocacy to improve the lives of everyone in San Luis Obispo County.

For more information about the Isabel P. Ruiz Humanitarian Award, contact Janice Fong Wolf, Director of Grants and Programs at (805)543-2323 or 

2013 Award Recipient William Castellanos


The award was presented to William by David Ruiz, Isabel's son, and Napoleon Ruiz, Isabel's husband.

The Community Foundation presented the 7th Annual Isabel P. Ruiz Humanitarian Award to Community Action Partnership's (CAPSLO) Director of the Child, Youth, and Family Services Division on October 22, 2013. The award was presented at San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisor's meeting.

Castellanos supervises CAPSLO’s Regional Head Start, Early Head Start, Migrant and Seasonal Head Start, State Child Development, and Child Care Resource Connection programs. His efforts have helped thousands of children and low-income families by ensuring that high quality childcare and education are being offered through the programs, along with initiating programs that teach fathers parenting and communications skills.

“We all must remember that our Head Start children who are born to the poorest families have the same potential to succeed as those born to the richest families,” said Castellanos, who has dedicated his life’s work to serving children and families in San Luis Obispo County for nearly four decades.

Castellanos passion for helping our community extends beyond the children and families to the teachers who implement CAPSLO’s programs. His mentoring and advocating skills are responsible for 239 Head Start teachers achieving a higher level of education.



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