SAN MATEO, CA – January 30, 2017 – The San Mateo Area Chamber of Commerce will honor philanthropist Polly Hoover Taylor with its first annual Pioneer Award at the San Mateo Business Awards dinner on Thursday, February 16, 2017.  The Chamber’s Pioneer Award recognizes pioneering women who have made a significant impact on the San Mateo area community.  Ms. Taylor has dedicated herself to environmental education for San Mateo’s children for more than five decades through her work to establish and nurture CuriOdyssey at Coyote Point.  Throughout decades of change, Ms. Taylor has been a constant guiding presence at CuriOdyssey.

Ms. Taylor graduated from Burlingame High School and Stanford University.  Her charitable activities include the American Red Cross, Girl Scouts and PTA.  Ms. Taylor had the vision and perseverance to join and create the early science and wildlife center for children in San Mateo County.  In 1959, as a Coyote Point Auxiliary Member, she volunteered and cared for the museum’s animals.  With the Auxiliary’s fundraising organization, Taylor was a force in transforming the San Mateo County Junior Museum into Coyote Point Museum, which later became CuriOdyssey.

Ms. Taylor served on the museum’s Board of Directors, as a docent for the Environmental Hall, and chaired several Decorators’ Show Houses to raise funds for the museum, two of which were held at the Bing Crosby home.  She and her late husband, Ted Taylor, celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary at CuriOdyssey to raise funds for the museum, and she recently donated the sculpture of two bears in San Mateo Central Park by sculptor, Albert Guibara, in honor of her husband and son, Denny.  Ms. Taylor’s love for the museum and deep commitment to philanthropy influenced her daughter, Kathryn “Kat” Taylor to follow in her mother’s footsteps in co-chairing the capital Campaign for CuriOdyssey.

Kat Taylor works in service of restoring social justice and environmental well-being. Kat is active in a variety of social enterprises, public benefit and philanthropic ventures on the West Coast. Currently, she serves as Co-Founder and Co-CEO of Beneficial State Bank, a Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) whose mission is to bring beneficial banking to low-income communities in an economically and environmentally sustainable manner. Beneficial State Bank is the result of a merger between OneCalifornia Bank, which Kat and her husband, Tom Steyer, founded in Oakland, CA, and ShoreBank Pacific, with offices in California, Oregon and Washington. The bank’s revolutionary ownership mandates that any distributed profit be invested in the low-income communities it serves and environment upon which we all depend.

Kat is also a Founding Director of TomKat Ranch Educational Foundation (TKREF), dedicated to inspiring a sustainable food system through ranching, training, tours, research, and school food and garden programs. TKREF owns the social enterprise LeftCoast GrassFed, raising humanely cattle and other livestock for the benefit of people and the planet. Kat serves and has served on many non-profit boards including the Harvard Board of Overseers, Ecotrust, Good Samaritan Family Resource Center, ProPublica, CuriOdyssey, Insight Prison Project, KQED and Yerba Buena Center for the Arts. She graduated from Harvard College and earned a JD/MBA from Stanford University. Tom Steyer, Kat’s climate/energy activist husband, and she have four grown children, each pursuing their own wild and precious life.

About CuriOdyssey
CuriOdyssey is a serious science playground where more than 100,000 kids each year observe wild animals and experiment with real scientific phenomena.  As a science and wildlife center, CuriOdyssey helps children acquire the tools to deeply understand the changing world.  CuriOdyssey is dedicated to giving more kids the superpower of science and believes that kids learn about science and animals best out in the world and not behind a desk or a screen. CuriOdyssey is located at Coyote Point Recreation Area in San Mateo.  For more information, visit

About San Mateo Area Chamber of Commerce
The San Mateo Area Chamber of Commerce is the voice of business on the mid-San Francisco Peninsula.  Founded in 1939, the San Mateo Area Chamber of Commerce represents hundreds of member businesses employing more than 20,000 workers.  The Chamber works for a stable economy and a vital community in the San Mateo area, offering its members business and networking opportunities, education and visibility within the community.  The San Mateo Area chamber of Commerce is celebrating over 70 years as San Mateo’s leading business organization.


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