A community leader who has focused her career on helping the poor and working class has been named the San Luis Obispo Chamber of Commerce’s 2017 Citizen of the Year.
Anita Robinson, founder of Mission Community Bank, received the honor for her role with “multiple organizations that have filled critical needs in the community and tirelessly advocated for many worthy causes,” Chamber of Commerce spokeswoman Molly Kern said in a statement.
She received the award Saturday night in front of more than 560 attendees at the chamber’s annual dinner gala.
Robinson has contributed to a number of causes, including boosting affordable housing, inspiring minority women in business, and coordinating regional economic forecasting.
“She is an extraordinarily accomplished and an incredible community leader who has not forgotten her humble roots,” Dave Cox, executive vice president and general manager of Barnett Cox & Associates, said in a statement. “She’s focused on helping those in disadvantaged positions get ahead in life, working quietly and without fanfare.”
Robinson is the founder and president of the nonprofit Mission Community Services Corp., which has helped launch 165 small businesses, create more than 500 new jobs and generate more than $26 million in the local economy. Through that work, Robinson has focused in particular on aiding low- to moderate-income minority women to become self-sustaining business owners.
Additionally, Robinson is the founding chairperson of the Housing Trust Fund, which has provided more than $18 million in loans to build nearly 700 affordable housing units.
And she served as the founding board member of the Central Coast Economic Forecast, following time on the UCSB Economic Forecast Project for San Luis Obispo.
Robinson has served on numerous boards of directors, including the Community Action Partnership of San Luis Obispo, Cuesta College Foundation, Chamber of Commerce and California Bankers Association, which she chaired in 2007, as well as on the Community Cabinet for Cal Poly’s Orfalea College of Business and the Sierra Vista Hospital Governing Board.