Former Los Angeles Laker superstar Derek Fisher, Maria’s Italian Kitchen founder Madelyn Alfano and the autism-animation nonprofit Exceptional Minds are among the honorees at the 21st annual 2018 Stars of the Valley Awards in September.
The awards are sponsored by the Sherman Oaks-based Valley Economic Alliance. The awards ceremony on Sept. 7 will take place at the City of Calabasas Convention Center, 300 Civic Center Way in Calabasas.
Fisher, a five-time NBA champion who played 18 pro seasons, mostly with Los Angeles Lakers, will received the alliance’s Arts and Entertainment Award. Fisher, who once served as president of National Basketball Players Association, most recently worked as head coach for the New York Knicks.
The Business Award will go to Alfano, founder of Maria’s Italian Kitchen, whose company dates back to 1975 with a menu based on Alfano’s mother Luisa’s family recipes.
Education Award recipient Exceptional Minds, a Sherman Oaks nonprofit vocational center and animation studio for young adults on the autism spectrum. Since its 2011 founding, this computer animation studio has been thriving. The end title sequence for “Judy Moody and the Not Bummer Summer” was the first assignment from Exceptional Minds students, who went on to also work on post-production visual effects for a number of Hollywood films, including rotoscoping work for David O. Russell’s “American Hustle,” the end credits of the 2012 crime flick “Lawless” and rotoscoping work for 20th Century Fox’s 2014 summer blockbuster, “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes.”
Humanitarian Award recipient Patrick McClenahan, chief executive of Goodwill Southern California, heads one of the largest nonprofits in Southern California. Prior to coming to Goodwill, McClenahan served as president of the 2015 Special Olympics World Games, the largest sports and humanitarian event in the world, which includes the participation of 6,500 athletes from 164 countries.