Jean Forti Volunteer Service Award

Jean Forti was born in San Mateo, California on May 7, 1963.  She grew up on a beautiful apricot and walnut orchard in San Jose, where she was very active in many community and school activities, including Girl Scouts, summer camp, backpacking, tennis, skiing, horseback riding, and volunteering for local charities.  

She graduated from Santa Clara University with a B.S. in Combined Sciences and crossed the country with two friends in a VW bug to start a new life in the Albany area.  She worked with troubled children at St. Catherine’s and then with seniors at Senior Services of Albany. Jean joined the Hudson Mohawk Sierra Club, only to get lost and meet her future husband Tony.  In 1991 Jean and Tony were married in Los Gatos, California, surrounded by good friends and family, redwood trees and deer (who ate the flowers).  Jean liked to grow things. Jean and Tony spent the next 24 years building up their house in Knox, raising three children, farm animals, gardens and an orchard. Their door and their hearts were always open to anyone who came along.  

Jean was a pillar in her community.  She co-led Girl Scout Troop 1758, helped run the Pony Pals 4-H Club, and organized the BKW Elementary and High School Science Fairs and many PTA after-school programs.  She was also instrumental in the Altamont Library, Knox Youth Council activities and summer camp, the Knox Food Pantry, Meals-on-Wheels, Fox Creek Players, and many other community functions.  

Despite her illness, Jean stayed involved as long as possible.  She brought a feeling of excitement and adventure into everything, always wanting to include everyone and bring any stranger into her circle.  She taught her family and friends how to get the most out of every moment.

The Award

The goal of the Jean Forti Volunteer Service Award is to recognize a graduating senior who most exhibits Jean Forti’s exceptional traits through the demonstration of a consistent pattern of volunteerism.  This will be a one-time award, for one or more students, to be applied toward the recipient’s tuition/books of his/her freshman college year.


  • The applicant must be a graduating BKW senior in good academic standing.

  • The applicant must be pursuing higher education and have been accepted to an accredited two or four year college or university.  The applicant may be living on campus or commuting. The funds that will be awarded MUST SOLELY BE APPLIED toward tuition and/or the purchase of books at the aforementioned college or university.  

  • The applicant must be a service-oriented citizen who has taken the initiative to be involved consistently in volunteer activities, both affiliated with the school and community-based.  The applicant should demonstrate his/her involvement in both self-motivated and formally organized volunteer commitments.