December 17, 2018
The holidays happen every year, and yet I’m never quite prepared for the number of events and activities I want to attend. The good news: They’re all festive and fun, a chance to catch up with colleagues and partners. Unfortunately, there’s only one of me and many more of them!
1000 Lights Lantern Festival at Chollas Lake Park. In the Japanese tradition, the lantern festival symbolizes joy, celebration, good fortune and longevity; the lanterns also serve as protectors from evil. I’ve never participated before, but it seemed like a good idea, given my new position, the direction of United Way, and the upcoming holiday season for giving thanks.
As a planning committee member, I couldn’t wait for National Philanthropy Day! Close to 1000 people attended the luncheon to celebrate those who give back to the community with their time, talents, or treasures. United Way sponsored a table, where we had two—count ‘em, two!—past awardees: Malin Burnham and Betsy McClendon. Also at our table were Richard Pattenaude, Professor Emeritus, Ashford University & United Way board chair; Scott McClendon; Reid Carr, CEO, Red Door Interactive; Ed Quinlan, CEO, CHIP; United Way staff: Lisa Kalal, VP of Development; Ian Gordon, Chief Impact Officer; and myself. Honorees were: Outstanding Philanthropist, Trudy Bronner; Outstanding Development Professional, William (Bill) Littlejohn; Outstanding Philanthropic Business/Corporation, Nordson Corporation; Outstanding Grant-making Organization, Latina Giving Circle; Outstanding Organizational Volunteer, Chiho Sullivan; Outstanding Fundraising Volunteer, Knox Williams; and Outstanding Youth/Student Volunteer, Sana Moezzi. Congratulations to all!
Today I caught up with Dixie Newman, CEO, The Rose Foundation, to learn about the work they’re doing around childhood trauma. Dixie and I have known each other for over two decades and have always looked for ways to partner in our work.
This evening marked the first CEO reception for some of our Tocqueville Society members, my fellow board members at San Diego Grantmakers, and the Regional Taskforce on the Homeless. Thanks, to Kitchens for Good catering staff for the food and support throughout the event. We conducted our community assessment survey, heard from board chair Richard Pattenaude, and I began to outline some of my vision. Much more to follow on this vision!
This morning was the Workforce Frontiers Symposium hosted by Workforce Partnerships’ CEO, Peter Callstrom. Excellent presentations on innovation in workforce development, especially around workforce and homelessness, affordable ways to structure student loan repayments, Pay for Success, and much more. Congratulations Peter & Workforce Partnership!
Tonight I’ll attend the MAAC Soiree at The Sandbox, hosted by CEO, Arnulfo Manriquez. Their five pillars focus on Education, Housing, Economic Development, Health, and Advocacy.
Today I had lunch with Laura Kohn, Director of Center for Local Income Mobility (CLIMB), at San Diego Workforce Partnership. So much of what’s going on with her work could dovetail with United Way’s efforts in education. I’m hoping we can make the potential a reality in the future!
I also met with Jake Segal, VP of Advisory Services at Social Finance. Innovation in project funding – and especially the impact of those projects – can have huge ramifications.
In the evening, I headed downtown for the e3 Civic High annual event. I met Dr. Helen Griffith at the Central Library fundraiser and was curious to discover more about what contributes to their success! I learned that e3 Civic High personalizes the educational experience for young people, helping to ensure they are on track for graduation and college prep.
Continuing my personal interest in health, I participated in the Champions for Health Sunset 5K. Congratulations to Adama Dyoniziak, CEO, for a successful event that included a fun band and several booths stuffed with healthy foods and information!
It was great to catch up with Miyoko Oshima, President, Vesper Society, about her work in Imperial County, where they were involved with the education system. I’m always eager to learn about my colleagues’ success stories
I had the pleasure of touring United Way’s Unions United office with Ian Gordon, Chief Impact Officer. Many thanks to Ruby Featherly, Program Technician, for showing us the food distribution area and explaining the differences in funding and storing. Next up is our Annual Food & Toy Distribution on Saturday, December 15 (Imperial County) and Tuesday, December 18 (San Diego).
Today I had lunch with Tad Parzen, CEO, Parzen Civic Solutions, whom I have known for many years. Keep an eye out for his work around civic engagement with a focus on getting to action!
It was my first time witnessing United Way staff in action at a workplace campaign launch. Thanks, Roger Ball, President at Rick Engineering, for hosting a great event!
Today, Ian Gordon, Chief Impact Officer, and I met with Paul Gothold, Superintendent, at the San Diego County Office of Education. Learning about Paul’s work in equity was impressive and illuminating. I hope we find common areas on which to work in the coming New Year!
What a wonderful celebration this afternoon! Our internal employee giving campaign–One Family, One Voice, One Mission–was a huge success! We exceeded our goal and had 100% participation. Now, that’s dedication! As a bonus, our VP of Resource Development, Jim Woods, took on the Hot Ones Challenge… He was quite the trooper, answering challenge questions while taking bites of increasingly hotter and hotter chicken wings.
In the past, I have worked with Andrea Yoder Clark, Senior Director, Marketing Analytics, Bridgepoint Education, to understand what data is telling us. More and more organizations are finding the analysis of data to be an important part of their story. Over coffee, Andrea and I talked about what data is saying about children being ready for learning – at all levels. Who knows? We may find a way to work together again in the future!
We are also getting deep into our discussions about the United Way breakfast on Wednesday, May 1, 2019! We’ll be giving feedback about our recent Community Listening survey and launching our message. What role might a mosaic be playing in our plans? You’ll have to join us to find out!
Thanksgiving plans are starting now! My daughter and son-in-law are in town, and the turkey has been defrosting! I also got my flu shot finally – have you?
Our office hosted Pete Manzo, President & CEO, United Ways of California, and Bill Kitson, Director, US Western Region, United Way Worldwide, today. I wanted to learn more about our relationship with their offices and what their priorities are for local United Ways. We are lucky to be able to set our priorities based on community need while using their resources and expertise to be the best we can be!
I really love exploring opportunities with potential community partners! Today, Tia Anzellotti, VP, Partnerships, and I met with Sidd Vivek, Director of Strategic Partnership, and Leane Marchese, Director of Youth Development, at the YMCA. We’ll be following up with them in the New Year to talk more about how we can work together!
Meanwhile, Ian Gordon, VP, Community Impact, and I met with Sandy McBrayer, CEO, The Children’s Initiative. I always learn so much from a discussion with Sandy! Her use of data to determine ways to distribute funds to the most-needed areas was very insightful.
Matt D’Arrigo, Director, Clare Rose Foundation, Creative Youth Development Initiative (CYDI), and I met for breakfast at the same place where he told me he was leaving ARTS! It’s great to be working with him again and uncovering potential ways to work together. His CYDI network recently launched, and I’m curious to learn how he’s bringing groups together to achieve their goals.
What a bittersweet but awesome way to say thanks to someone who has made an incredible difference in the philanthropic community. I am proud to have worked with Nancy Jamison, CEO, San Diego Grantmakers, for the last 7 years as an officemate, board member, and most importantly, a friend. Set up as “This is Your Life” (complete with her actual office setup on stage), people talked about Nancy’s many contributions to the San Diego community. It will be so much fun to see what she does in 2019!
I had a meet and greet with Councilmember Chris Ward, District 3, this afternoon. I’ve had the pleasure of working with him on the RTFH board and will continue to do so in my role as United Way’s President & CEO. We talked about the homeless work ahead as well as United Way’s focus on education. Chris is a great partner for United Way and our work!
My fail for the month! I really wanted to attend the Emerging Leaders Happy Hour tonight at The Rabbit Hole, but it was raining so hard, I wimped out! I drove around for a parking spot and after several attempts – with no luck – I decided to head home. I owe y’all one!