We are a volunteer group of local
homeowners and residents of the Sunnyhills neighborhood
who are actively working to improve our neighborhood,
and thus the city of Milpitas, through positive
activities and programs.
History of the Sunnyhills Neighborhood Association (SNA) (Click here for a more detailed
Sunnyhills was the first planned racially-integrated
community in the United States in 1956, arranged by a
Union co-op of the United Auto Workers. Today,
Sunnyhills still has one of the highest levels of
integration of any neighborhood.
In 1992, Bob Pecot, Carmen Montano, and Jim Alexander
founded the organization as the Sunnyhills Improvement
Committee to address neglected areas of the Sunnyhills
neighborhood. Its original goals included cleaning up
vacant lots, working with the city on street repair, and
developing the Hetch-Hetchy right-of-way into a linear
park. That last item was at the top of Bob's list
because the right-of-way was filling with vagrants,
weeds, and dumped refuse.
As the committee's number of participants, scope of
issues, and influence grew, a more formal structure
became appropriate. Thus, the creation of the Sunnyhills
Improvement Association in 1994. The original board of
the S.I A. was Bob Pecot, president; Carmen Montano,
vice-president; Neil Mackenzie, treasurer; Jane
Alexander, secretary; Jim Alexander, member at large;
and Doretha Randolph member at large. Under Bob Pecot's
leadership the organization grew and, after achieving
some of its original goals, expanded its list of goals.
Progress continued despite losing key members due to job
transfers and attrition, including founding member Jim
Alexander, who moved to Colorado due to a job
reassignment. In 1993 S.I.A. was dealt a severe blow
when Bob Pecot died of a heart attack.
Upon Bob Pecot's death, Carmen Montano took over as the
second president of the S.I.A. Through energetic
efforts, Carmen expanded the organization's membership
and increased its visibility in the neighborhood. During
her tenure, she made sure the S.I.A had presence at all
city events. She also launched the first "Make
Sunnyhills Shine Day." That day, over forty S.I.A.
members swept through the neighborhood cleaning trash
from vacant lots and covering all graffiti in the area.
In 1994, Carmen married and moved to Monterey where her
new husband worked.
Early in 1994, Ron Dittmer, who was vice-president
under Carmen Montano, was elected the third president of
the S.I.A. by unanimous vote. He nurtured an
organization rocked by the departure of many key leaders
and activists. Under his guidance, S.I.A. kept the
Hetch-Hetchy project alive and got speakers to many
meetings. In February of 1996, S.I.A. was shocked when
Ron Dittmer unexpectedly submitted his letter of
resignation by mail.
Neil Mackenzie, then treasurer of the S.I.A., took over
as interim president until elections could be held. In
August of 1996 Neil Mackenzie was elected as the fourth
president of S.I.A by unanimous vote. Betty Roberts was
elected secretary; Bob Roberts treasurer; Simira Phan,
youth advisor; and Doretha Randolph member at large. Our
VP spot was left open.
Neil nurtured SNA to become a strong, vibrant community
devoted to a livable neighborhood and city. Under his
guidance, S.I.A. as a corporation was officially
dissolved in 1998 and re-incorporated under the name
"Sunnyhills Neighborhood Improvement Association". Due
to a lack of records and continuity, in late 1996 we
started the process to dissolve the Sunnyhills
Improvement Association with this note to the Secretary
of State: "Over the past two years, the Sunnyhills
Improvement Association (of which I am a Board member),
nearly died. The leadership was in disarray. Membership
fell off. Obligations were overlooked. One of those
obligation was the annual filing required of
corporations. The new leadership decided it was easier
to start over than try to repair the damage.
Fundamentally different bylaws have been drafted. New
officers have been elected."
On August 27, 1998, the Sunnyhills Neighborhood
Improvement Association was incorporated as a California
Public Benefit Corporation with California Corporation
Number 2119575. (The "Improvement" part is there because
Carmen Montano wanted to commemorate efforts of SNA's
predecessor, Sunnyhills Improvement Association.) On
August 19, 1999, the Sunnyhills Neighborhood Improvement
Association (1421 Yellowstone Ave, Milpitas, CA
95035-6913) was granted an Advance Ruling granting
501(c)(3) status by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).
SNA's taxpayer Id. number (EIN) is 77-0493926. The
Association's 501(c)(3) status enabled it to solicit and
secure grant funding in excess of $30,000 between 1998
and 2004. Much of the equipment for an activist
organization was purchased: tables, chairs, coffee pots,
pop-up shade gazebos, etc. A group of committed
volunteers grew to deliver SNA's newsletter to 2000
Neil was a rare leader in that he could, and often did,
do it all. Although he would always praise the support
and assistance he got, he was the driving force. In the
area of attracting backup leadership to SNA, however,
Neil wasn't so successful. So, when he got terminal
stomach cancer in 2004, members of the Association came
together to reconstitute the organization using a team
leadership model. Bill Ferguson was invited to be
president. When he accepted, many other members
volunteered for various other Board roles; at election
time, 9 Board members were approved, the largest number
in the history of Sunnyhills.
Under Neil's guidance, SNA achieved a long list of
accomplishments and awards including:
- creation of the Bob Pecot linear Park along the
- Garnered over $35,000 in grants
- Music in the Park
- Milpitas Community Breakfast
- Sunnyhills Times newsletter
- Become An Artist Day
- International Potluck
- Tree Planting in conjunction with City of Milpitas
- Transportation Summit
- Astronomy Nights
- In addition to the specific programs highlighted
above, SNA members also participate in the City's
anti-graffiti campaign, weed abatement, tree
plantings, youth services, Restorative Justice Program
and in advocating for the community.
Become a member!
Annual dues are only $20/year and
tax-deductible due to an IRS non-profit status
letter. To use PayPal, click Donate below
to send your contribution.
or print our
and mail a check to
SNA, 1421 Yellowstone Ave, Milpitas, CA 95035-6913
Pursuant to Article 12, section 1 of
the corporation's Bylaws, rights of members shall
1) Notice of all regular, special, and annual
meetings, plus notice of any committee meetings in
which they have expressed interest.
2) Copies of any newsletters or other publications
of the organization, plus requested copies of any
other documents of the organization.
3) The right to vote at all general meetings and
the right to vote on any sub-committees that they
4) The right to offer motions germane to the group
and have those motions given a fair hearing before
the assembled membership.
Neighborhood Association, 1421 Yellowstone Ave,
Milpitas, CA 95035-6913, 408-262-0420, info@SunnyhillsNeighborhood.org