No fooling, the Cesar Chavez breakfast presented by the Bomberos de San Diego was a great opportunity to learn more about their volunteer work in the community. The most recent was to beautify Cesar Chavez Elementary. Thanks to SDG&E for the invitation and Warren Ruiz.
Later that morning, I participated in the press conference to announce the work of Census 2020 and theCountMe2020 Coalition. United Way was awarded the contract from the State to do education and outreach to the hard-to-count populations throughout San Diego and Imperial Counties. The census information is used to determine federal funding allocations such as SNAP (food stamps) and Medicare, which are important to our family stability work. We will align the more than 100+ community partners to ensure we are leveraging the underfunded resources to determine the most complete and accurate count possible. Many thanks to Supervisor Nathan Fletcher for kicking off the press conference and for his support for this project.
What a great way to start my morning meeting with Rosa Ana Lozada, Executive Director, Harmonium. She is promoting wellbeing and self-sufficiency in children, young adults, and families. Her dedication—not only to her organization but to the betterment of our community—was evident in our discussion. I also learned more about the existing collaboration of organizations exploring opportunities to transform systems.
I got to catch up with Donnie Dee, CEO, Rescue Mission, and learn about the broad range of services they are offering. It was a great chance to recall my first experiences at Rescue Mission as they opened their Children’s Center to provide educational opportunities for the children of the homeless who were there for the day. I can only imagine that this early trauma will impact their ability to be ready for kindergarten, but thankfully they the Children’s Center to prepare them.
That evening I participated in a learning discussion with the ACLU and the Museum of Manabout Race, Equity, and Privilege. This is such an important topic that can bring up many memories, experiences, and emotions. We will not be able to fully address inequities in our community without holding such open and honest conversations.
Along with other community leaders, I was asked to participate on Bank of America’s Student Leaders Selection Committee. We read applications from area Juniors and Seniors that confirmed my hope for the future leaders from San Diego. It was a hard decision, but I look forward to watching these young people learn and grow during this experience!
This afternoon I met with Dorothy Zirkle and staff from Santana High School. I was surprised to have a conversation with them about the ongoing traumatic effects this community has endured after experiencing a school shooting in 2001. As a close-knit community, the kids in junior high are the kids of the survivors of that horrific tragedy. The question we pondered was whether the annual commemoration of the shooting was re-traumatizing not only the parents but also the community overall. Feedback from the junior high kids shows some fear of going to Santana High. Have other incidences of such magnitude had the same experience years later?
Oh my, 6:00 a.m. is really early to be on camera ready and talking! This morning, San Diego Unified School District Superintendent, Cindy Marten, and I were at KUSI studios to talk about Saturday’s event with free pre-school registration and free tax preparation for Earned Income Tax Credits. Many people don’t know about either, and many are missing out on federal and state tax refunds!
Busy day— I stopped by Chollas Mead ElementarySchoolto see how the event was going. By the time I left, over 100 people had stopped by to learn about free pre-school and to have their taxes done to determine if they were eligible for Earned Income Tax Credits. Feeding San Diego provided fruit and potatoes, and many enjoyed other refreshments as well.
That evening, I attended the reception for Home Start to show our support for the housing they provide, especially for single moms and their kids. I left just in time to make the dinner for the National Conflict Resolution Center, hosted by Bank of America’s Mia Spano. Bank of America has been a long-time supporter of United Way with grants and workplace giving opportunities.
Ian Gordon, Chief Impact Officer, and I attended the ASUGSV Summit in San Diego. It was our first time attending this meeting, and from my perspective, I was really impressed. ASUGSV stands for Arizona State University Global Silicon Valley. Although there was a heavy emphasis on higher education, there was also a new (apparently) interest in early childhood learning. My favorite Sesame Street character – Elmo – was there. (I must admit: it’s a close race with Ernie!) They talked about how much has changed and how much has stayed the same on Sesame Street in the 50 years since it started. One of my favorite discussion panels was with Andre Agassi. Not only because I loved watching him play tennis, but also because of his journey and his role in opening his education academies. One interesting thing he said (among many) was that he isn’t a proponent of charter schools … just the 15% that outperform their public school counterparts.
A fun event to watch the March Madness finals with Insperity at Ballast Point this evening. It was a great way to network with other businesses and nonprofits while Insperity staff also raise funds to distribute to their nonprofit partners.
Working with community partners on family stability, I stopped by the Feeding San Diego event in Encinitas. Their “Pairing with a Purpose” event raises funds for the food that is distributed to those facing food insecurity. Over 420,000 people in our community are unsure where their next meal will come from. Leveraging our resources is what it will take to make a difference!
I’ve had the opportunity to work with Jeff Wiemann for many years. As the CEO at Angels Foster Family Network, he has a singular focus on the foster children from 0–5 years of age. We caught up today so I could learn more about the work happening in our community for this age group. He gave me homework: Reading materials to bring me up-to-speed. So much collaboration is already happening in this area, yet still, I see some needs where United Way could align goals and leverage resources!
I ended the day at the San Diego Zoo (no, it wasn’t to say goodbye to the pandas, although I was secretly hoping I could! Instead, the San Diego Zoo commissioned Blair Search Partners to conduct a compensation survey of the largest nonprofit organizations. The focus was on the CEO and fundraising positions. Presented by Trevor Blair, Principal & Founder, and Liliane Lendvai, Director, the findings have already been used to adjust compensation in line with the market. It was also great to have such a discussion with other like-sized organizations.
Lots of meetings today, but one I’ve never been to was Casa Cornelia. I’ve heard a lot about their work with asylum seekers, and they have certainly risen to the top of the news! I was impressed with the work they are doing, the problems they overcome, and the special circumstances that impact those seeking asylum in our country. My concern is definitely with the children, who have experienced unfathomable trauma, and who will end up in our education system without having that trauma addressed. The children’s ability to learn and thrive is greatly impacted. We must come together to align our strategies to serve these children, young adults, and families.
With the theme of Buzz Lightyear – To Infinity & Beyond – all staff at United Way of San Diego County spent most of the day testing and practicing our new messages, learning about new business strategies, bonding/team building, and hearing firsthand about the breakfast presentation and volunteer opportunities!
Alicia Quinn, VP of New Business Strategies, and I also went to hear about Innovation City at the Third Thirsty Impact Thursday gathering. The San Diego Impact Investors Network brings impact investors together to learn about innovative programs in our community. As we look at new business strategies for United Way, we always want to be in the loop with what’s happening!
Alicia Quinn and I visited at San Diego Oasisin the Grossmont Shopping Center. Once again, I was amazed at the number of programs they are providing for older adults – not only in La Mesa but throughout the County! Alicia & I jumped in on a dance class, but quickly realized we would gain more by talking through potential partnerships with CEO, Simone Valanciute, and VP External Relations, Jolyn Parker. Currently, they have 700+ volunteers, who they have trained to be tutors, working with students to build confidence and success in school!
I also met with Prabha Singh to learn more about her search for the right place that utilizes her strengths and experience. It was impressive to hear how well connected she is and the variety of programs she has worked with, especially in the HIV area. I hope some of my suggestions will be helpful!
I ended the day with Ian Gordon, Chief Impact Officer, at Community Housing Worksin National City. Their 201 units at Paradise Creek are offering not only housing but also learning programs for kids who aren’t at grade level, health and wellness activities, plus education experiences for the older adults. I told them about the programs offered bySan Diego Oasis and – who knows? – maybe there’s a partnership in the making!
Congratulations to 211/CIE San Diego for hosting an amazing summit this week. I was invited to participate as a panel moderator on the topic of Mobilizing a Community for Transformational Change. Panel participants included 211 staff Tanissha Harrell and Roxanne Suarez as well as Kenneth Robinson, Cecelia Johnson-Powell from United Way of the Mid-South (Memphis) and Alisa Haushalter from theShelby County Health Department (Memphis). The conversation focused on what it takes to foster person-centered care across a community and service delivery ecosystem.
What an honor! I was asked to emcee a short program at the CIE Summit this evening! I got to welcome the guests who had come to the conference from 35 different states! I also introduced Supervisor Greg Cox, a longtime champion of 211, and Councilmember Chris Ward, also a champion for 211! Finally, I introduced CEO John Ohanian who closed out the brief program. After the reception, Jim Woods, VP of Resource Development, Alicia Quinn, VP of New Business Strategies, and I met up with our colleagues from United Way of St. Louis. We took the opportunity to learn more about some of their new business strategies, and how they implemented them at their organization.