Stronach Prize: 10 years of social engagement

As a senior, Yoram Savion won UC Berkeley’s Stronach Prize in 2008. After he graduated, the prize allowed him to dedicate himself to full-time work with the Youth UpRising Center in East Oakland, as well as San Quentin Prison.

At Youth UpRising, Savion taught 13- to 24-year-olds how to create community-oriented multimedia content and, with the prize, bought high-quality art production equipment for the work. After one video of his collaboration with street dancers in East Oakland went viral, he and a  student launched YAK films, to bring community-focused multimedia to a global audience.

Yoram Savion and Kash Gaines

Stronach Prize recipient Yoram Savion with collaborator Kash Gaines, in Oakland

“Within a year, we were moving to Paris, then New York and working full time for our own company!” Savion says. “Since then… we’ve collaborated with the best street dancers and musicians to create YouTube videos that have generated over 200 million views and over half a million subscribers.”

Seven years later, he’s back in Oakland, still working to reach young people here and around the world. The Stronach Prize, he says, changed his life.

His story is just one among 49 so far — the number of Berkeley students whose lives have been touched by the Judith Lee Stronach Baccalaureate Prize, which celebrates its 10th anniversary this year. More of their stories are told in a new article on the prize website, posted to honor the occasion.

Architecture professor Raymond Lifchez established the prize to honor the achievements of his late wife, Judith Stronach (1943- 2002). Trained in art history, Stronach was a writer, poet, journalist and educator who devoted her time, energy and resources to social causes, including peace and social justice, the environment, the arts, homelessness, and human rights.

Each spring, the prize gives a small number of graduating seniors the opportunity to put their ideas and ideals into action. With awards of up to $25,000, recipients dedicate themselves to going out into the world to work on socially engaged projects of their own design in the year following graduation.

Read more about the prize, Judith Lee Stronach and what recipients have accomplished out in the world.