Nancy’s Blog: June 2019
My days and nights are full of meetings…with current and prospective partners, CEOs of both nonprofits and for profits, and past and future board members. Between directing and participating in boards to cultivating new board members, I continue to find full-of-potential partnerships that support San Diego while helping UWSD move our mission forward: aligning partners, leveraging resources, and transforming lives.
An excellent opportunity was presented to me to join the Planning Committee for National Philanthropy Day – our community’s premier event to honor, recognize, and celebrate all who give of their time, treasure, and talent to nonprofit providers. And, to top it all off, I was also asked to chair the committee! I’m looking forward to what this group creates for our November 4th event. So mark your calendars and submit your nominations for people or organizations you want to recognize…
I started my morning as a Director on the Board at 2-1-1 San Diego. I am excited to start my tenure as an official board member even though I have an eight-year history with the project! This organization is providing much-needed connections between those in need and the service providers throughout San Diego & Imperial Counties. The CIE (Community Information Exchange) does even more connecting and monitoring to ensure people are accessing and receiving the services they seek.
I also had a chance to learn more about the work at CoTA (Collaborations – Teachers and Artists) by meeting with Board Chair Dennis Doyle and Operations Manager Kristin Rosevear. Bringing an integrated arts process to classrooms allows students with various learning styles to have equal access to information. Fascinating work. So many times I learn about these amazing projects, and we all wonder how we can scale the model. Much remains to be learned in this work!
Despite running behind, I learned a little bit more about changes needed for stronger governance with the board and the CoC at the Regional Task Force on the Homeless. I’m eager to put these changes into action so we can all address and solve the homeless situation in San Diego County.
Donor and supporters are the best people to be around! I had coffee with Marti Andrews this morning to talk about how she and her husband, UWSD board member Dr. David Andrews, can offer their support. We started to discuss our plans to celebrate the upcoming United Way of San Diego County centennial!
Boy, is this work around the outreach and education for the Census 2020 hard-to-count populations detailed! We are excited to have Michele Silverthorn represent United Way in leading the coalition of over 100 providers to outline the plan and the process for ensuring over 250,000 hard-to-count people complete the census. Although we won’t be doing the actual counting, we will all work to ensure everyone knows the importance of the Census. United Way entered into this work because of our work in Family Stability. The census count will be used to determine how Federal funds are distributed for food, health care and transportation needs.
How many fundraising meetings do you do each month? Today was a really important one for me, but I felt prepared from all the work we have been doing to define our role and clarify our message. Fingers crossed that I convinced him to support our work!
Over 7 years ago, I made a connection between a foundation board member and Sara Griffen CEO of Imperial Valley Food Bank. They were interested in doing something in Imperial County and Sara was exploring her need for a new food bank warehouse, kitchen, and community center. Fast forward 7 years and tonight I attended the celebratory dinner for the huge, brand-new, beautiful Imperial Valley Food Bank! This work to connect community partners and align goals is ingrained in me, and I’m so glad I can now bring this effort to United Way!
One of the innovative projects funded by Alliance Healthcare Foundation was a virtual reality education project in the refugee community to educate about the importance of vaccinations. I caught up with Ahmed Sahid, CEO of Somali Family Service, to learn more about what he has learned so far through this process. How do you see this technology being implemented in the future? I’d love to explore how it could be a substitute for reading to kids!
Recently some nonprofits have moved into the Kearny Mesa area. When I started to look around, there were actually quite a few already or newly here – so I decided to start the Kearny Mesa Nonprofit District CEO breakfast! Today, Michael Hopkins hosted the second of these breakfasts at the Jewish Family Service building. We were able to have a discussion with each other and as a large group. I look forward to the next one and the discussion around topics we all face as CEOs!
United Way is interested in learning what we can bring to the 0-5 space to coordinate providers currently doing this work. The problem is that half of San Diego’s 4-year-olds are not going to pre-K and, therefore, they aren’t ready for Kindergarten. Studies show they aren’t catching up over time, either! What can we do to solve this problem? CEO Rosa Ana Lozada and Carole Steele from Harmonium invited me to their site to learn more about their work in this area – and beyond!
Thanks to Leigh Harris, my assistant, for the connection to Hilda Mwangi at Takeda International. It was great to meet up with her to talk about so many potential connections with United Way. At first, I thought we might be talking about a prospective board member, but it turns out we will be better suited to align their goal for more employee engagement with the community and our goal of providing more opportunities for this to happen. Alicia Quinn, VP of New Business Strategies, is already talking about how to engage employees this summer!
I guess this week is all about potential board members. This morning, board member Rebecca Smith and I met with a prospective candidate to see if we could leverage his expertise with our needs through board membership! Hopefully, he will be on board soon!
It’s exciting to meet leaders in our community who are new to me. I had a great discussion with Toni Giffin, CEO of San Diego Goodwill. They are serving in so many areas beyond their well-known used retail business. Did you know they are also training people for employment? I’m sure we will continue to discuss ways we can partner to leverage our resources and have a bigger impact together!
Alicia Quinn & I met up with Deb Martin, CEO of ElderHelp, to discuss a potential joint grant opportunity. This is exciting to explore because it truly exemplifies our desire to partner with others in the community to leverage resources in order to transform lives! More to follow from this opportunity, I hope!
That evening, I stopped by the San Diego Business Journal event highlighting the CEOs of the Year nominees. I am honored to be recognized as a nominee amongst a group of exceptional CEOs! As always, this was an excellent opportunity to network with friends and meet new people.
That wasn’t my last stop as I was part of a panel for Women United to talk about my experience as a working mom. Joining me on the panel was Elizabeth Schott, CEO of Southern California Accion, and Wendy Hunter, MD at Children’s Primary Care Medical Group. Held at Green Acres, over 50 women joined us to talk about the various stages of child-rearing we represented—from twin 2-year-olds and a 5-year-old to teens and a grown adult. The similarities we faced were the decisions we made along the way to do what we thought was best—from changing from a high stress job, to managing staff expectations around availability, and postponing advancement until it was more practical. We also acknowledged the challenges along the way. The feedback we received was very positive!
Now that we have clarified our role in the community as one to work in partnership with others to align goals, there are many interesting conversations happening about where to get involved. Of course, as we work along the cradle-to-career pathway, children’s issues are top of mind. Today, Ian Gordon, Chief Impact Officer, and I had a great conversation about a broad-based, countywide strategic plan to address children’s issues. As this is a very broad topic, the challenge of bringing together all the organizations serving in this capacity is daunting. The need to ensure we are spending resources in the most effective manner with a long-range vision is imperative though.
That evening, I was invited to join a CEO dinner and roundtable discussion hosted by Moss Adams and Win Engelbrecht. There were many new people for me to meet over an interesting conversation about hiring and retaining talent in a multigenerational workplace. What do you experience? What policies are most impacted for your company? Very interesting topic!
Today was our Day of Action: A day that we give back to the community. We spent the morning at Olivewood Gardens, first learning about the history of both the location and the organization. Then they put us to work – breaking down a fence netting, pulling out the posts, and weeding the overgrown areas. We also potted new plants and cleaned up the garden areas; we cooed over the chickens and some even fed them. Then we were treated to a lunch catered by Kitchens for Good. This was a great way to spend time with our co-workers and feel good about the way we supported Olivewood Gardens. Thanks to Jen Nation, CEO of Olivewood Gardens, for creating a great volunteer opportunity for us!
Aw… this afternoon I joined several others at the Central Library to say goodbye to Jay Hill, now the former CEO of the Library Foundation. After 16 years leading this organization, Jay has decided to step down. Hearing about all he has done to steer the work for the new Central Library as well as building or upgrading several other community libraries was inspiring. I wish Jay all the best in his next endeavor!
Yay! Today was the first day for our new COO – Shannon Gonzalez! Shannon will be responsible for the more administrative operations of our work, including finance, HR, administrative services, and IT. Welcome, Shannon!
I had a great discussion with Councilmember Chris Ward today about how United Way can work with the Regional Taskforce on the Homeless (RTFH) to leverage our expertise around volunteerism. Much is in the works already and joining with the RTFH will be fun and exciting!
After that meeting, I picked up Jim Woods, VP of Corporate Relations, and Alicia Quinn so we could meet with the CEO Greg Hunter, at Hunter Industries. They have a long history of supporting United Way and I wanted to provide an update on what we have been doing since our Community Breakfast in May. Scotty Lombardi also joined us, and he’s very interested in the work we’re doing in the North County. We were also able to talk about some of our new business strategies that will roll out in the new fiscal year. It’s important for us to be able to leverage resources to meet community need throughout our county!
I ended my day by meeting up with Nancy Jamison. As the former CEO of San Diego Grantmakers, Nancy continues to have her pulse on what’s happening in our county. I believe we solved some of the problems of the world, and now I have the responsibility to act on what I know!
On my way in to work, I stopped by the open house for newly named Nonprofit Solutions (formerly Nonprofit Management Solutions). Congratulations to Lenore Lowe, Executive Director, for both the new location and the new name! Although it isn’t significantly different, they are now known as Nonprofit Solutions and will continue to provide much-needed educational sessions and training, as well as our community access to the online Foundation Directory!
Many thanks to Jabez LeBret, Chief of Schools at Sisu Academy, for the connection to Debleena Biswas. We met today and had a wonderful conversation about communication strategies, children issues, and long-term planning.
What a nice way to end my day by meeting up with Oliver Welty, a long-time friend and professional colleague. We had an opportunity to talk about the work the Welty Group provided United Way last year about fundraising strategies and revenue development. Great insights and items for me to continue to think about as we evolve our philanthropic marketplace— a way to provide choices for people to give back to the community through time, talent, and treasure.
What fun! I got to observe a recording of the “A Way with Words” radio show. Even as we were listening to Grant & Martha record the show, those of us observing engaged in some of our own discussions. Someone asked about the phrase “dressed like Mrs. Astor’s pet horse” and a 9-year-old asked about the difference between immigrate and emigrate, and did you know R dissimulation exists? I was invited because of an upcoming community leadership award I will be receiving at their “Word for Word” gala in September.
As the chair of the planning committee for National Philanthropy Day, I held our second meeting this morning to continue to shape the day. Please save Monday, November 4, 2019, for NPD at the Town and Country Resort. All the nominations are in, and winners will be selected by the Honorary Committee. Even after our second meeting, the day is already shaping up. It will be our opportunity, as a community, to recognize the amazing people and organizations/companies who support nonprofit work throughout San Diego County.
Wow – Rosa Ana Lozada connected me with Dr. Jeff Rowe, of the ChildTrauma Academy, to talk about the children’s collaborative meeting in San Diego. I learned so much from him about what is happening in our county. Not only are many issues being addressed, but there are also many not being addressed. They all impact our children, and many of them impact their ability to be successful along the learning and education pathway from cradle to career. I would love to find a way for United Way to be a part of a collaborative addressing these issues in some capacity because it is imperative for children’s future as well as the future of our community.
Later in the afternoon, Alicia Quinn & I met with staff at Tablecloth to learn more about what they are doing to enhance the use of data and the ability to collaborate around data and data visualization. Many thanks, Chief Technology Officer Kelly Abbott, Chief Impact Officer Nelli Garton, and intern Lindsay for showing us what you have created and the discussion around what we might do together.
Last but certainly not least, I stopped by to see what was happening with Emerging Leaders at the Loma Club. Awesome job, Senior Development Executive Alli Temnick, for putting this together and hosting the many emerging leaders who stopped by. This group also visits many area businesses to learn about their work and the leadership issues they face. Two of this year’s highlight events, among others, were hosted by Southwest Airlines and the Airport Authority.