July 5, 2019
Follow along with United Way of San Diego County's President & CEO Nancy L. Sasaki as she puts into action our message of Align, Leverage, Transform.
May 1: It takes a village, indeed. Many moving parts were put into place to make our breakfast a sell-out on May 1. So many highlights to recall and people to thank! As planned, we rolled out our new messaging to clarify the role of United Way: United Way of San Diego County, in partnership with others, aligns goals, leverages resources and expertise to resolve inequities and transform the lives of children, young adults and families. The dynamic Dr. Pedro Noguera on educational equity and the community’s essential role; our charming emcee, KUSI’s anchor/reporter Elizabeth Alvarez, going live; and all of our wonderful community partners, supporters, and friends. Thank you to everyone, including our all-hands-on-deck hard-working UWSD staff, for making this such a successful event.
May 2: Opportunity Impact with San Diego Workforce Partnership – great to see how youth can thrive and be productive members of our community! Congratulations, Peter Callstrom & Andy Hall for a great summit.
That evening I stopped by the Monarch School Raise Up for Children event. Another place where the kids will absolutely amaze you! The younger ones greeted guests as they arrived; others shared their robotics work along with sports activities. A young boy in the kitchen talked about nutrition while making the fruit skewers. It’s easy to forget they are homeless, but it shouldn’t be. Congratulations to Erin Spiewak for a wonderful event and for continuing to make a safe learning environment for these kids, who will now be able to forge a different future because of what they learn and do at the Monarch School.
Continuing to support the work that supports kids, I also attended the Eat. Drink. Read. event hosted by Jose L. Cruz at the Council on Literacy. In order to transform the lives of children, literacy is a key component.
May 3: Following up from the breakfast, I had an interview with LaTanya West from Voice & Viewpoint. Clearly, the inequities children and young adults experience on the education and learning pathway must be addressed by aligning community goals and leveraging resources to work with our partner organizations.
May 4: The invitation said cocktail attire, but I was the only one in an evening gown! Oh well, to be able to support the Miramar College Scholarship Foundation was worth the fashion faux pas! Obviously, surrounding students with the support they need from cradle to career is critical to their success. Students in community college can thrive when they have the support of the college as well as the community!
May 6: Since our Community Breakfast coincided with the United Way Worldwide’s annual meeting, I was able to get the latest and greatest from our Regional Rep, Bill Kitson. Along the same lines as what we’re doing, the Worldwide community is launching a modern United Way! Community, Equity, Solutions, Experiences, Best in Class, and Leveraging resources! Bill has been a great resource for me in my long tenure of 7 months…
May 7: Talk about equity and diversity—thanks to Dan Hom for the invitation to celebrate Asian Heritage Month at the University Club. As we work on the CountMe 2020 census campaign, it will be imperative that our partner organizations reach all of our rich diverse communities in San Diego & Imperial Counties. Connecting with the leaders in our community will bring important alignment of goals, starting now and going through 2020!
May 8: Although I was on the search committee for San Diego Grantmakers, it was great to be able to spend some time to get to know the new CEO, Debbie McKeon, today. It’s hard to believe I was once on the path of feeling overwhelmed with all the information I was learning during my first month. Fortunately, Debbie comes in with a lot of experience and now she can spend her time learning about San Diego. We were able to talk about what the future could hold and how we could partner to align the interests of her membership with the goals of the community we are working with! Welcome to San Diego, Debbie!
That evening, Ian Gordon, Chief Impact Officer, Jim Woods, VP of Corporate Relations, and I joined Event Chair (Barrio Logan College Institute) and VP of New Business Development (UWSD) Alicia Quinn at their event. Excellent food and company as well as the welcome by Rafael & Angie Castellano. Once again, we heard about the success of a young adult who was nurtured and supported along her education pathway and into a successful future.
May 9: One of the fun things we do internally is to hold a Meet & Greet for new employees, even those who are temporary for the summer. Today, we welcomed Na’eema Johnson and David Lee. It’s an opportunity to grill them – well, ask questions – and learn about their history and the journey that brought them to United Way. Welcome to UWSD!
May 10: I started the morning with the CEO get-together hosted by Betsy Brennan, CEO, Downtown San Diego Partnership and Rip Rippetoe, CEO, San Diego Convention Center. Thanks to Peter Callstrom for their conference room at San Diego Workforce Partnership. This was an excellent way to learn about the planning process for transit with Council President Georgette Gomez and SANDAG’s Hasan Ikhrata. This group gets together to talk about the issues we are facing at a macro level. I look forward to talking about the census work we are doing along withSANDAG at a future meeting!
May 10: David Mulvaney attended our community breakfast on May 1st= and invited me to the Doris Howell Foundation luncheon. David’s father, Jim Mulvaney, was very involved with United Way at the local, US & International levels! The foundation provides scholarships to university students who are doing research around women’s health.
That evening, I attended the Fostering Futures Gala, hosted by Jeff Weimann, CEO. With a focus on children age 0-5, Angels Foster Family Network connects children in the foster care system with loving adults, many of whom go on to adopt the foster children they care for. United Way is learning more and more about the education enrichment activities for children in the age group to ensure they are kindergarten ready.
May 11: I attended the 50th anniversary gala for the Chicano Federation at the US Grant. Congratulations to Nancy Maldonado, CEO, for a fun evening. The Chicano Federation is dedicated to creating impactful changes in the day-to-day lives of San Diego families who want to create a safe, stable life for themselves and opportunities for their children. They have programs for infants and toddlers (in the home) and preschool, but they don’t stop there! They also manage 9 apartment complexes as well as child nutrition through their daycare home network.
Due to a bit of a miscommunication, I wound up at the central processing plant for the US mail in San Diego County! I did have an opportunity to mingle with the union workers who had volunteered to help process the hundreds of pounds of food collected during the day for the “Stamp out Hunger” Mail Carriers Food Drive with the U.S. postal service. We can’t thank the volunteers enough for their participation as well as the postal workers who pick up the food, all the way to the people in our community who donate food for this cause. This is an example of how we leverage resources to transform lives in San Diego County!
May 14: The UPAC Leadership Awards Dinner is a great gala celebrating various leaders in our community. I was especially impressed with William Alvarez, who was recognized for his role with the young entrepreneurs group. His ability to recognize his own growth and contribution was refreshing as was the sincere thanks he gave to those who helped him along his path. We look forward to the opportunity to partner with these organizations to ensure more young people, like William, are given a chance to connect to meaningful work as they transition to either college or career.
May 16: I stopped by the AFP (Association of Fundraising Professionals) reception where they were hosting Mike Geiger, CEO of AFP. It was great to catch up with people I haven’t seen in a while and learn more about what they are doing. Everything from capital campaigns to fundraising challenges were topics of conversation!
For dinner, I got to share a meal with Vince Hall, CEO of Feeding San Diego. I’ve worked with Vince for many years and enjoy talking with him about the problems in the world! My last question was to know what his biggest challenge is these days. With recent legislation that will fine food sources for throwing out food, his challenge is to find places that will take the food they pick up. Even organizations that aren’t food distribution sites may be working with people in need of food. If you want to learn more about what it would take for your site to participate give Vince a call (I hope that’s okay, Vince!).
May 17: It was an early morning celebration at the LGBT Center’s Harvey Milk Breakfast. I don’t think I’ve heard Nicole Murray-Ramirez be so funny, nor Cara Dessert, CEO, be more passionate. The flags of “justice” were reminders of the multitude of areas where we need to improve – whether it is reproductive health justice, racial justice, LGBT justice, economic justice, immigrant justice, or environmental justice. It is the inequities in these areas that also impact children, young adults, and families.
I left the breakfast to attend the launch of the End Childhood Poverty Bus Tour to Sacramento. The event was held at Castle High School and several students attended. Much of the work of United Way and our partners is in an effort to end childhood poverty by strengthening access to education and learning from cradle to career. It was great to see such strong community support for this initiative.
For lunch, I visited Eli Lilly to support our staff in thanking the employees at Eli Lilly for their hugely successful campaign! Not only did we have increased giving, but we also gained 23 new donors. Congratulations to Stacey Carrillo who manages this campaign and to VP of Corporate Relations, Jim Woods, who coordinates all of our campaign efforts.
May 18: One of our summer achievement partners is Traveling Stories. Their fundraising event was at Second Chance Brewery with a silent and live auction. The fun part was the story tent for the kids where volunteers and Traveling Stories staff read books. I invited some of my friends to learn more about Traveling Stories and enjoyed talking with many of their supporters!
May 19: VP, New Business Development, Alicia Quinn & I attended the reception for Fuel Ed at the beautiful home of Brian & Suzanne Marcus and co-hosted with Rachel Zahn. Megan Marcus started Fuel Ed because of what she learned about brain development and learning. Teaching teachers how to manage their triggers and to understand their relationships with the children has shown improvements in attendance and achievement scores. Dr. Lou Cozolino was also insightful about the importance of this work and was able to talk about neuroscience in a way that we could all understand! We also heard from a teacher who has been through the Fuel Ed program talk about, not only the change in herself but, the change in her relationships with the kids and their parents.
May 20-23: Nothing like jury duty to open up your schedule… This week, I was instructed to call in each night. There was no way to commit to meetings except for those that were internal. It’s definitely important to serve your civic duty, but calling in each night was pretty rough on my scheduling!
May 23: In partnership with San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce Foundation, United Way, SDG&E, and the City of San Diego supported a study on Millennials in the Workplace. Led by Sean Karafin, VP of Public Policy & Economic Research, the study found that “millennial employees … want purpose, supportive supervisors who provide development opportunities, and affordable places to live.” Millennials now represent the largest segment of the workforce and businesses are wise to build a workforce culture that supports their interests. Our VP of Corporate Relations Jim Woods also answered questions from the media regarding workplace culture and employee engagement.
That evening, I had a chance to meet the Bank of America Student Leaders who will be interning throughout the summer. Juan, Rosario, Nisha, & Alondra will intern with Community HousingWorks and take a one-week trip to Washington, D.C. to meet with congressional and other leaders while there. Julian Parra, Mia Spano, & Mary Noor with Bank of America welcomed the group.
May 24: A huge thank you goes to Michele Silverthorn, who is leading the United Way coalition CountMe 2020. This incredible group of over 100 community partners will be working to ensure those who are “hard to count” are educated and informed of the importance of completing the census in 2020. More than 250,000 people are considered hard to count in San Diego & Imperial Counties. As a part of our efforts in family stability, we recognize that an accurate census count will be necessary to determine federal funding allocations for programs like SNAP, Medicaid, Medicare, and transportation. Today, I talked with the group about United Way’s role in aligning goals and leveraging resources and their expertise to ensure we can adequately address some of the inequities impacting children, young adults, and families.
May 30: Every quarter, the Regional Taskforce on the Homeless (RTFH) holds an Intergovernmental roundtable. At this meeting, RTFH leadership highlighted the findings of the recent Point in Time Count (“We All Count”). More than 1,500 volunteers spread out across the county to count the homeless. They found 3,626 homeless living on the streets and 4,476 in shelters. 10% are veterans, 36% have a disability, 12% are under the age of 24, and 3% have at least one child. During this meeting, it was emphasized that this only represents what can be done at that point in time. It underrepresents the actual count because of the count guidelines from HUD (Housing & Urban Development). More information about the true count will follow later this year.