NovatoSpirit

Welcome to NovatoSpirit!  We are a 501c3 nonprofit providing athletic scholarships to children with financial needs. Our mission is to give kids a healthy way to improve their physical and mental health through their own efforts.  Our nonprofit’s registered name is KarmaSpirit—evoking the idea that good efforts yield positive results—but we do business as NovatoSpirit to reflect the community we serve in Novato, Marin County, California. 

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Marian Huntington - NOVATOSPIRIT Founder, President and Executive Director

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Marian founded KarmaSpirit, dba NovatoSpirit, in 2005. She's been praised for her work in effectively helping impoverished children improve their health. In 2017-18, she was recognized for her work helping families in poverty by several Marin leaders, who nominated her for the Marin Women's Hall of Fame.  She received a Marin Founders Award in 2015, and was nominated from 2016-18 for the Leaders of the North Bay Awards, spotlighting those who contribute to the prosperity and quality of life in Sonoma, Marin, and Napa counties. For 13 years, she’s been nominated for “Achievement in Nonprofit Excellence” and for the “Lifetime Achievement Award in 2018” at the Heart of Marin Awards, which honors notable nonprofits in the county. Additionally, she’s been nominated for the “Volunteer Family Award” by APPLE Family Works; the Bay Citizen’s “Citizen of Tomorrow” Award; The Beryl H. Buck Award for Achievement in Marin County; and the California Governor’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports “Spotlight Award.” California Senator Mark Leno has also commended her work. Marian is interested in promoting community peace and equity, and she's honored to be a participant of the Marin Interfaith Council, and has been an active in the Novato Police Department's Community Academies.

Marian and NovatoSpirit have been highlighted on television, radio, and in San Francisco Bay Area newspapers. To see the TV show, please go to https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2Sp19lZAqc4  In 2016-18, Marian was interviewed by radio host Susan Santiago on KWMR, Marin’s radio station. Newspapers, such as The Marin Independent Journal, Novato Advance and the Novato Patch have also published stories about NovatoSpirit. She's the author of several books, and the most recent, Movement and Mentorship: Healing Kids through Sports, is available on Amazon in English, Spanish and French.

Previously, she was an investigative news reporter for the Pulitzer-Prize-winning newspaper Point Reyes Light in rural western Marin County. While at The Light she won three first-prize awards from the California Newspaper Publishers Association (CNPA) for investigative reporting, spot-news reporting, and public service. Additionally, she was an Assistant Professor of Journalism at Sonoma State University, where she taught students how to write accurately and ethically for the news media.

Charlie Dresow - board member

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Charlie Dresow is a lifelong Marin County resident, only leaving to attend Pitzer College and the McGeorge School of Law. Charlie currently lives in Novato with his wife and two children. While at Pitzer College, Charlie was a four year letterman for the football team and a four year starter on the rugby team, finishing as rugby team captain his senior year. After college Charlie continued to play rugby and coached football at the youth and high-school level. He strongly believes that every child in our community should have the same opportunities to participate in sport as he did. Charlie has personally seen friends and youth benefit from the opportunities presented by sport. The truth is that youth who participate in sport learn skills that help them succeed in life and become leaders our community. 

Professionally Charlie is an attorney who has maintained a criminal defense practice based in Marin County since 2008. He carries on the legacy of his paternal grandfather, a career public defender in San Francisco, from the 1930s through the early 1960s, his father, who practiced criminal defense throughout California for over 40 years and his maternal grandfather who served as a Supreme Court Judge in Ulster County, New York.

Charlie is currently the President of the Board of Directors of Alternate Defenders Incorporated, the local conflict defenders service and is President elect of the Marin County Bar Association for 2018 with his Presidency of the organization to commence in 2019. He also serves on the executive committee of the Richard Sangster Inn of Court for Marin, Sonoma and Napa Counties.

Mari Avedano- Board Member

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Mari Avedano is a local Novato resident. She is a dedicated, experienced community volunteer who actively volunteers her time with several Marin non-profits, including North Marin Community Services, Gilead House, Novato Museums Association, and Novato Senior Citizens Club.

She is currently on the Board of Soroptimist International of Novato and the Schurig Center for Brain Injury Recovery. Ms. Avedano recently completed the Leadership Novato Program and was class valedictorian.

She also brings with her professional experience in administration, human resources, marketing, and information technology with companies such as Fair Isaac, Technology Partners, and Maier Siebel Baber.

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