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Lawyers Club established the Community Service Award in 1985 to honor a Lawyers Club member whose local community activities have served to improve the status of women and to promote equality.


2021 Jonah a. toleno

For Jonah A. Toleno, community service extends far beyond her involvement in numerous organizations; it is something she embraces throughout her professional and personal life. Lawyers Club is delighted to recognize Toleno’s abundant contributions to the San Diego community with its annual Community Service Award. Toleno’s passion for community service stems from her own life experiences, starting from her childhood. When she was two years old, her family immigrated to the United States from the Philippines. As a child, she saw her family actively contribute to their community. She also recognizes the help she received from numerous individuals throughout her career. Further, she understands the importance of being a leader and a role model in the community and at home for her two children.

Toleno is an active leader in Lawyers Club. From 2017 to 2019 she served as a co-chair to the Diverse Women’s Committee. Toleno enjoys working with other women of diverse backgrounds and experiences, as well as addressing various issues women face in the legal community – including career development equity, discrimination, and sexual harassment. She co-chaired the Bench Bar Committee from 2019 to 2020. Since 2019, she has also served as chair and co-chair for the Judicial Appointments Endorsements Committee (JAEC). Toleno especially cherishes her role in these committees. Co-chairing JAEC is a particularly a humbling experience, which she takes very seriously, as it allows Lawyers Club to potentially and directly impact who should be sitting in the most influential seats within our legal community.

Toleno has been actively involved in the Filipino-American Lawyers of San Diego (FALSD) for nearly a decade and served as president for the organization from 2015 to 2017. Toleno was instrumental in establishing FALSD as the inaugural affiliate of the National Filipino American Lawyers Association (NFALA).  During her presidency collaborating to be of service to the community was important to Toleno. An example of FALSD’s many joint bar efforts and Toleno’s dedication to serving her community, the FALSD collaborated with the Tom Homann LGBT Law Association and Urban Street Angels to create and distribute packages for people experiencing homelessness in San Diego during her presidency. Toleno also helped create the Pathway to the Bench speaker series with the assistance of her co-board members during this time. The series continues to this day and is geared towards attorneys, law students, college and high school students to inspire them and demonstrate that becoming a judge is within their grasp. Toleno additionally serves on FALSD Awards and Endorsements Committee and co-hosts a podcast with two other NFALA women attorneys, called “In the Pocket.”  Toleno worked with the San Diego County Bar Association on its anti-bullying initiative. As part of the initiative, she spent time speaking to elementary school students about her experiences being bullied growing up and challenges she faced trying to fit in at school.  

As a FALSD board member and separately, Toleno has volunteered her time at Rady’s Children Hospital. FALSD works with local organizations to prepare a toy drive that benefits the Friends of Scott Foundation, which supports child cancer patients and their families. The foundation distributes the toys to Rady Children’s Hospital at its holiday party. The Toleno family (including her two children) have informally volunteered at Rady Children’s Hospital providing crafts, baked goods, toys, and gift cards.

Toleno regularly mentors students and new attorneys and tirelessly works to grow and enhance the San Diego community. She also works with financial firms and advisors to help them provide financial literacy to women in areas ranging from personal finances to starting and running a business.  

In 2018, the San Diego County Bar Association acknowledged Toleno’s contributions to the community by honoring her with the Community Service Award for Commitment to Diversity. Toleno was recognized in 2018 as an Inspirational Women Honoree by San Diego Woman Magazine.

For Toleno, “community service is not an extracurricular activity that she engages in from time to time, but something that is seamlessly woven into her life.” She “finds it extremely rewarding and believes service to others balances the challenges in her professional life. She is ever grateful to her husband, Doug, their two children, Danielle and Christian, and her family for their tireless support and love, and to her firm, Shustak Reynolds & Partners for providing her a platform for excellent client experiences, leadership, and community service.”


Past Recipients

2020 Hon. Tamila E. Ipema
2019 Rupa Singh
2018 Johanna Schiavoni
2017 Hon. Yvonne E. Campos
2016 Jerrilyn Malana
2015 Danielle Hickman
2014 Jodi Cleesattle
2013 Tracy Skaddan
2012 Center for Community Solutions
2011 Michele Macosky
2010 Elizabeth Balfour
2009 Erika Hiramatsu
2008 Hon. Rachel Cano
2007 Sheree L. Swetin (Individual)
2007 Casa Cornelia (Organization)
2006 Karin Dougan Vogel
2005 Rosemary Johnston
2004 Alliance for African Assistance
2003 San Diego Volunteer Lawyer Program
2001 Planned Parenthood of San Diego and Riverside Counties

2001 Olivia Puentes-Reynolds
2000 Roel Construction Company
1999 David M. Priver, M.D.
1998 Women's History Reclamation Project
1997 Judy Forman
1996 Greta Glavis and Betty Santohigashi
1995 Women's Resource Center
1994 Josephine Von Herzen, M.D.
1993 Ashley E. Phillips
1992 Abby Silverman
1991 Virginia Nelson
1990 Kate Yavenditti
1989 Ellen Geis
1988 Martin Kruming
1987 Hon. Judith McConnell
1986 Ashley Walker Hooper
1985 Sister Sally Furay


Previously, the Community Service Award could be awarded to an individual or organization. Beginning December, 2014, the Board of Directors voted to limit this award to Lawyers Club members.


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