TOFA-NY at 4: The year’s best, brightest and boldest

tofa class useBy Cristina DC Pastor

New York’s Commissioner for Small Business Services Maria Torres-Springer, bestselling author Gina Apostol, and transgender model-turned-activist Geena Rocero are among the 40 nominees to this year’s search for The Outstanding Filipino Americans in New York (TOFA-NY).

Now on its fourth year, TOFA-NY was created to give recognition to organizations and individuals who have raised the profile of Filipino Americans through their exemplary and dedicated performance in public service, the private sector, the arts and social justice advocacies. In the words of Consul General Mario de Leon Jr., “A shortlist of the best and most committed.”

The winners will be determined via Facebook voting. They will be honored on October 25 at the storied Carnegie Hall in a ceremony bringing to a close the community’s celebration of Filipino American Heritage Month.

As in previous awarding years, Consul General De Leon Jr. and philanthropist Loida Nicolas Lewis will deliver inspirational messages. They will be joined by retired Army Gen. Tony Taguba, AARP’s Community Ambassador; and Jason Tengco, Senior Advisor at the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders.

“Through the innovative use of social networking platforms,” said De Leon in his 2011 keynote speech, “the public and the people whose lives were touched, inspired and affected by our honorees have the final say on who would make the list of the Outstanding Filipinos in New York.”

The nominees for 2014 are:

Arts & Culture
Kinding Sindaw
Society of Philippine American Artists
Teresa Rodriguez

Business & Entrepreneurship
Pete & Shirley Domingo
Dennis Josue
Gary Reloj

Community Service & Advocacy
Ryan Letada
Rommel del Rosario
Roger Santos

Courage of Conviction
Nancy Bulalacao
Geena Rocero

Education, Research & Technology
Emelyn de la Pena
Lemuel Sison
Michael Vea

Broadway Barkada
Deep Foundation
Jhett Tolentino

Fashion & Style
Ryan Jordan
Elle Madrona
Danica Magpantay

Food & Restaurants
Liza de Guia
Joel Javier
Papa’s Kitchen

Health Care
Nemcy Cavite Duran RN
Randolf Palmaira
Corge Reyes

LGBT Advocacy
RJ Mendoza-Nadal
Jenab-i Pareja
Marin Watts

Media & Publishing
Gina Apostol
Ritz Mazon Craves
Tina Pamintuan

Public Service & Politics
Ludi Hughes
R Sonny Sampayan
Maria Torres-Springer

Senior Welfare & Advocacy
Filipino American Senior Citizens Association Queens NYC
Juliet Payabyab
PAGASA Social Foundation Inc.

Youth & Sports
Frenie Acoba
Jonathan de Castro
Team Takbo

Heritage Awards will be awarded to five individuals and organizations whose skills, competence, professionalism, and talent helped elevate the profile of Filipino Americans throughout the Tri-State.

This year’s Heritage Award recipients are Oscar Award-winning songwriter Bobby Lopez, CEO Josie Natori of The Natori Company, Dean of Academic Affairs at Columbia Journalism School Sheila Coronel, Fiesta in America business and cultural trade exposition, and the Philippine Medical Association of America.

The people behind TOFA-NY are multimedia professionals and entrepreneurs, with Elton Lugay as founding chair, Sally Nunez as co-producer, co-founder Cristina DC Pastor (Nominations) and Oliver Oliveros (Publicity).

Here is the link to vote:

Previous winners can be found here.

Gov. Cuomo: Empire State is ‘privileged’ to honor outstanding Filipinos

TOFA-NY at 2: One ‘enchanting evening’

TOFA-NY: Honoring the community’s ‘brightest and most committed’

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