Nancy’s Blog: March 2019

four individuals smiling at a baseball game


Mar 1

Today we celebrated Read Across America Day in celebration of Dr. Seuss’s birthday! I was at Edison Elementary School and tagged along with Xiomara Arroyo from Wells Fargo while she read to the students. The book she read was about sharks and she asked the kids about their favorite shark at the end of the book!

That evening I caught up with Nancy Jamison, former CEO at San Diego Grantmakers. Although she is enjoying her retirement for now, I will be excited to see where she lands next. Her insights and invaluable perspective on the role of philanthropy will always be important to our community.

Mar 2

Congratulations to Nancy Maldonado on her appointment as the CEO of the Chicano Federation! Many thanks to hosts Mario and Linda Sierra for opening their home and to Chicano Federation board chairTed Martinez, and his wife, Lidia Martinez, Community Affairs & Grassroots Manager at Southwest Airlines, for their leadership. I’m looking forward to finding ways to partner with Chicano Federation, especially around early childhood success.

Mar 4

We celebrated Employee Appreciation Day one workday late. Pizza and board games livened up the party! I work with the best staff. They are hardworking and very dedicated to our mission!

Although I’ve been asked to meet with someone exploring the nonprofit area, it was a first to be asked to be shadowed! Diana Grant-DavieDepartment Assistant in the Offices of Strengths and Vocation at Point Loma Nazarene University, accompanied me to two of my meetings today. One was a conference call with United Way Worldwide talking about next steps after CEO Brian Gallagher’s visit to the border. The second meeting was to talk about the upcoming breakfast and some of the strategies we are considering. I hope it was useful for her!

I closed the day having happy hour with Don Stump, CEO, North County Lifeline. As we’re looking to bring our work and strengths to all areas of the county, I wanted to get Don’s feedback on what’s going on in education in his area. We’ve ended our relationship with the Vista Partnership for Children as Vista Unified School District begins to coordinate more of those activities.

Mar 5

Jim WoodsVP Resource Development, and I headed north to meet with GEICO leadership this morning. As a real all-time first, we were turned away because the road was blocked due to a gas leak! Come to find out that the gas leak was at GEICO! Timing is everything and we will reschedule…

But we were successful in meeting with Manuel Rodriguez, Market President; Rockette Ewell, Community Development Manager Southern CA; and Jennifer RoaneDistrict Manager at US Bank. Their workplace campaign reaches 100 of their staff, so we explored ways of reaching even more and bringing in some employee volunteer/employee engagement options as well. I’m really looking forward to our upcoming campaigns!

Mar 6

Oh so fun to meet up with Ginny Merrifield, to get her feedback on our salon strategy, and learn more about her insights to the work at United Way. I’ve been working with Ginny since her days at the Gary & Mary West Foundation and my days at Alliance Healthcare Foundation. Once again, we find ourselves in a place where we have mutual and overlapping ideas of how we can have a greater impact!

I also met up with Andrea Yoder Clark, Senior Director, Marketing Analytics, Bridgepoint Education, to get more insights into what she’s doing and how we can use data to drive decisions. Ian Gordon, Chief Impact Officer and I are exploring ways we can either expand our data capabilities or work with our community to connect with data resources.

Mar 7

I just recently joined the board at 211 San Diego, though I’ve been connected to the work of 211 since 2011. Did you know that in most United Ways, 211 is an internal program? Some years ago, we separated company, but it still makes a lot of sense for us to be working together. Thanks Jon Grissom, Board ChairJohn Ohanian, CEO, and Bill York, EVP, for the orientation today!

Mar 8

Jim Woods, VP Resource Development and I met with Brian Newman, Regional Vice President for Enterprise, this morning. We explored ways to introduce more of the district staff to the benefits of United Way as well as ways to encourage giving.

Mar 11

My first meeting with the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce Execs Connect! Definitely an impressive group of leaders meeting over dinner to learn about some of the issues we are all facing. Tonight’s guest speaker was Mayor Kevin Faulconer. I had the opportunity to network with many business leaders, many of whom know about the work of United Way. Many thanks to Rana Sampson, Community Relations Ambassador at Union Bank, for shepherding me through my first meeting! Did you know the mayor likes to sail?

Mar 12

Jim Woods, VP of Resource Development and I met with Chris Henn at the Wawanesa offices this morning. Their services focus on California and especially Southern CA! They have a very active campaign with United Way and we explored ways to do more with them and their employees!

Mar 13

When a United Way colleague in South Dakota asked me to talk with his daughter about working in the nonprofit field in San Diego, it was my pleasure to help. I met with Betsy Powell today who is looking to transfer her education in kinesiology into the world of nonprofits! Of course, I thought of all the great organizations creating active lifestyles for the people they’re working with. Our whole community benefits when we’re able to keep talent in our region!

Mar 14

This morning I presented before our Emerging Leaders group to talk about our work with the brand assessment survey, messaging, and shaping a direction for the organization into the future. I tailored the presentation to talk about how I was creating and thinking about the work that needed to be done from a leadership perspective. Hopefully, I imparted some useful tools for them to use in their leadership positions!

Mar 15

Ian Gordon, Chief Impact Officer and I had lunch with Nancy Gannon HornbergerCEO, SAY San Diego. I have been in this role for six months now and I am still learning about our partnerships in the community. I’m learning many positives and also some lessons about how we can be strong partners with community organizations. SAY San Diego has been our partner since the beginning of the Partnership for Children and more recently with the Census 2020 work. Thank you SAY San Diego!

I also met with Executive Coach David Highly who is looking to give back to the nonprofit community, especially in organizations working with children. Thank you, Pat Libby, for sending David my way! I hope I was able to give him some good leads for pro bono executive coaching…

This afternoon we celebrated St. Patrick’s Day in the office. All week the Employee Action Team hid a leprechaun in the office, and staff were encouraged to take a selfie with the leprechaun. Your selfie was your entry for a prize drawing at the celebration. Thank you to Mitchell for leading the effort!

Mar 18

I caught up with Jose Cruz, CEO, San Diego Council on Literacy, this afternoon at his office in Mission Valley. The work he is doing envisioning literacy for all is directly related to the work United Way is doing in partnership with other organizations.

Mar 20

Back when I was with the Foundation, I was looking for a SME (small-medium enterprise) on foster children that was not conflicted with one of the applicants. I was connected to a woman named Sarah Pauter! Sarah, the CEO of Phenomenal Families, and a real dynamite leader in our community. We had a chance to grab some lunch today and talk about foster care and her passion for making the system work for the children and youth it is trying to serve. I look forward to seeing what she creates for herself and the results of her tireless enthusiasm for making a difference!

Many thanks to Paul Johnson, Union Bank, for the invitation to join his table at the Kyoto Prize ceremony. I was so impressed with the innovation and accomplishments of those receiving the awards. The young people who were given scholarships were just as impressive! Most had started a nonprofit, many had created products that were innovative, less costly to make and more transportable, as well as exploring complex issues and asking provocative, in-depth questions!

Mar 21

This morning I hosted a “Kearny Mesa Nonprofit District” breakfast! As I’m new to this area in my role, and as others have moved into the area, I thought it would be fun to meet each other. Many thanks to Michael Hopkins, Jewish Family ServiceDan Chavez, San Diego Health ConnectTeresa Stivers LiongWalden Family ServicesAdama Dyoniziak, Champions for Health; Beth SirullJewish Community FoundationEd Quinlan, CHIPDeb Martin, ElderHelpSean Mahoney, American Red Cross; Stephanie Ortega, COO, Promises2Kids; and me!

Mar 22

Mel & Linda Katz are community connectors extraordinaire! Today they hosted a table at the Las Manitas Breakfast focused on the Ceasar Chavez Service Clubs and the Chavinistas work in many schools around the county. Once again, I was impressed with the talents and strengths of these young people!

Mar 25

Many years ago, I used to work with Tad Parzen when he was starting the City Heights Partnership for Children. It’s funny how some people come back into your life after years pass by. It was great to tell Tad about all the things I am doing at United Way in my new role. Getting his insights is always welcome as well.

Mar 26

I attended my first meeting of the Count Me 2020 coalition today with Michele Silverthornleading the collaborative. It was great to see so many familiar faces in the group and to meet so many new people. Michele confirmed the contract award to the coalition to do the outreach needed to ensure the hard-to-count populations are included in the 2020 census. There was also great input from the community as it becomes more and more clear that we are all committed to doing this work, but the dollars still fall short. That said, this is the first time the State has allocated money just for the education and outreach effort! Working groups were also established, and more will be coming back to the full coalition. If you want to get involved, please email Michele at .

Mar 27

I missed the opportunity to join the #WomenUnited group at the Women Who Wine on Wednesday get-together! If you don’t want to miss out on all the wonderful activities of Women United, make sure you join here.

Mar 28

A few months ago, I met Haney HongCEO, San Diego County Taxpayers Association, at a meeting. We agreed to get together and today was the day! It was good to learn more about what the Taxpayers Association is doing and how they have changed over the years. I’m starting to hear about more and more organizations that are re-evaluating their role, re-positioning themselves in the community, and clarifying their messages. The more I talk with them, the more I learn about the continuum and pathway we each follow to do this work! Are you on this pathway, too?

Many thanks to California Bank & Trust and especially Jacob Richards for the invitation to Opening Day with the Padres! I was hoping to see a hit by Manny Machado, but I will definitely settle for a WIN!

After the game, I changed and headed over to the Educational Cultural Center to hear Senator Toni Atkins and others talk about the priorities in the State budget. I’m definitely keeping my eye on the strategies that will be developing in the budget regarding early childhood education and career pathways!

Mar 29

Congratulations to Laura Kohn, San Diego Workforce Partnership, for bringing together the coalition addressing career pathways and childcare needs with Third Sector. Much more to come from this group as they outline the areas of greatest need and the strategies to address them.

More congratulations are in order for my former colleague, Nancy Jamison, who was honored today as a Girl Scouts “Cool Woman”! Nancy has been an impressive leader and visionary in our community as she led San Diego Grantmakers. It was also impressive to hear from the Girl Scouts about their goals and activities. Creating pathways for young people to learn from cradle to career needs to be as smooth and efficient as possible!

group of women pose for a picture by a table at an event