The Southeast Fresno Community Economic Development Association (SEFCEDA) gave Fresno Pacific University President Joseph Jones more than he expected when the group honored him at an annual luncheon.

Jones, Ph.D., thought he was only being asked to speak at the Eighth Annual Trailblazers for Prosperity Awards Luncheon November 6, 2019, in the Industrial Education Building at the Fresno Fairgrounds, so he was surprised to be among those honored with the association’s Trailblazers for Prosperity Awards.

“I always look forward to and enjoy chances to tell the story of Fresno Pacific University and the possibilities it offers people in our community,” Jones said. “This became an extra special day when I was honored to accept this award on behalf of the university.”

Also named Community Trailblazers were Yvonne Romero, retired Fresno Bee staff member; Adrian Alvarez Sr., Sergeant with the Fresno Police Department; and Robert Pao Ly, retired Fresno County Department of Social Services staff member. Patricia Brown, Brown & Associates, won the Community Legacy & Lifetime Achievement Award. The Leadership & Cultural Excellence Award was given posthumously to Theresa R. Perez, Ed.D.

Jose Leon Barraza is president and CEO of SEFCEDA, and Itzi Robles chairs the board. The mission of the organization is “to improve the quality of life of southeast Fresno and promote economic prosperity by expanding opportunities in education, recreation, employment, housing and entrepreneurship for healthy neighborhoods.”

The SEFCEDA Board is made up of southeast Fresno residents, economic and community development specialists, financial advisors, educators, attorneys, grant writers and other professionals “committed to using their experience and skills to make a positive impact on this community,” according to its website. Priorities include workforce development and the creation of a regional park and soccer complex. More at

PHOTO: Joseph Jones, Ph.D., stands third from right with other award winners.


Wayne Steffen
Associate Director of Publications and Media Relations