It was a busy month! Between campaign season kickoffs and visits from United Ways of California and United Way Worldwide, October was a whirlwind of many ways to unite the way! On top of that, as Planning Committee Chair for National Philanthropy Day—you’ll hear about that next month—I was amazed to learn of all the great efforts going on to give back to our community. This is another reason why we align partners and leverage shared resources to transform lives. In the season of giving thanks, giving back feels good!
This is our campaign season and the day started with one of our newest campaign partners – Wawanesa! Last year, they entered the charts in the top 25! Wawanesa staff – Chris Henn, President of US Operations; John Erickson, VP of Product Management; and Laura Gropen, Communications Manager (current campaign coordinator) – all gave inspiring talks about giving back and the Wawanesa commitment to United Way. Leo Morales, Marketing Manager, the previous coordinator, received many thanks for launching such a successful campaign last year. Carlee Chatman, UWSD Corporate Social Responsibility Manager, talked about United Way’s work and how we align with partners across the County. I added additional words of encouragement and support for the leaders who will be encouraging their staff to participate.
At lunch, I caught up with Veronica de la Rosa, Executive VP of Operations at San Ysidro Health. Everyone has so much going on, but I am hopeful we can find an intersection between their work in the community and our work around Education and Family Stability. What ideas do you have?
Did you know several nonprofit organizations are located in the Kearny Mesa area? We have formed a group called the Kearny Mesa Nonprofit District, and about every other month we get together to share our work, updates, and topics of the day. This morning, we met at SAY San Diego and were hosted by CEO Nancy Gannon Hornberger. We also had a chance to visit their new workplace daycare center! This great idea will meet a huge need for working families. I wish it were so easy to set that up and provide such an amazing option for people at work and in the community.
I also had a chance to meet up with Dr. Kathleen Lang, VP Regional Operations, California Health & Wellness. I first started working with Kathleen while partnering in Imperial County. Due to company changes and growth, she is also covering San Diego County. This is another opportunity to see how health and education can partner!
What a fun event tonight with Guild Mortgage! Many thanks to Amber Ewell, UWSD Finance committee member, for the invitation to attend their annual fundraising gala. They started out the day with a golf tournament and ended with a silent auction and dinner. All of the proceeds will go to three charities – Home Start, Monarch School, and Urban Corps. One lucky table was drawn to receive a steak and lobster dinner in lieu of the dinner everyone else received. There was also a fundraising drive to pick out your dessert—our dessert runner did a great job!
For some time, a small group of CEOs have been gathering for dinner to learn about each other and to talk about our successes and challenges. Tonight, we met at Stone Brewing in Liberty Station and were hosted by Mark Stuart, San Diego Foundation, and Debbie McKeon, San Diego Grantmakers. Great discussion about how we might be able to share information in the future! The awesome company also included Christy Wilson, Rancho Santa Fe Foundation, and Anne McEnany, International Community Foundation.
It was also great to catch up with Linda Katz this morning. Linda is always full of ideas, great feedback and awesome connections! Thanks, Linda, for your friendship and your mentorship!
I was connecting with Laura Roos, Moss Adams, LLC, about the work of United Way. We talked about possible skills-based volunteering with their staff and our financial stability work. This could be a great partnership!
Thanks Stephen Russell, CEO, San Diego Housing Federation, for the invitation to introduce the keynote speaker and fellow United Way colleague, Chris Ko, today. Chris has done amazing work on homelessness and housing with the United Way of Greater Los Angeles! Stephen, who is also doing great work, is focused on an upcoming ballot initiative to provide housing for the homeless. Check out the San Diego Housing Federation website for more information about this initiative.
Oh, how rewarding it is to align goals and leverage resources! Today, Alicia Quinn, VP of New Business Strategies; Mitch Medrano, Corporate Social Responsibility Coordinator; Carlee Chatman, Corporate Social Responsibility Manager; and I brought together employees from Alaska Airlines and Barrio Logan College Institute (BLCI) to prepare the new administration building for occupancy, and to start the students out with books and notes of encouragement. BLCI will be moving into a new space that needed to be painted so they will have a fresh start at their new location! In addition, the students will receive new books to start the New Year. Shaunta Hyde, Alaska Airlines’ Managing Director, Community Relations, spearheaded the effort, and it was an impressive day of service!
Not many people can say they ran on the runway – legally – at San Diego International Airport. The San Diego Regional Airport Authority held a fundraising event for Authority and Airline staff for United Way. Jim Woods, VP of Corporate Relations, and I were able to be a part of the activities. Why was this a two-day event? We arrived at 11:45 p.m. on the 11th, but the last plane didn’t land until midnight. We got out on the tarmac/runway close to 12:30 a.m.! How fun it was to do this one-in-a-lifetime run – and to do it for United Way made it all that much better…
Jim Woods and I attended the annual Celebration Under the Dome, a great event raising money for the Library Foundation. For United Way, libraries and access to books are critical to a student’s success. Reading, and being read to, provides the building blocks for learning well beyond childhood. As we work to build a smoother learning and education pathway for our children and young adults, reading is an important piece of that pathway. So, too, is supporting the family that might not have many books in the house and libraries can fill that need.
United Ways of California staff were in town today for a meeting of the Statewide Associations within United Way. I had the opportunity to have lunch with CEO Pete Manzo, along with Henry Gascon and Nalleli Sandoval from UWCA, to talk about the census, kinship caregivers, United Way Worldwide, and the upcoming statewide meeting.
San Diego Grantmakers has launched a new program on Leading Equity. I am honored to have been selected to participate! Today was our first day and we started off learning about the history of San Diego County (and beyond) with Dr. Stan Rodriguez, Iipay Nation of Santa Ysabel. We also talked about some of the historical stories that impact our community today – such as Enforcing the Border, Japanese Incarceration, and Redlining. What a powerful way to start the conversation!
I attended the Early Childhood Funders meeting chaired by Judy McDonald today. Facilitated and housed at San Diego Grantmakers, we received an update on the work that Price Philanthropies is doing through Sakara Tear, Program Officer. Their project is two-fold: first, to work with 30 caregivers to pilot an activity box that will help strengthen the education of the children under their care; second, to explore how to provide financial literacy education to caregivers so they can create successful caregiving businesses. David Lynn, Mission Driven Finance, gave an update on some of their findings: most want caregiving near or in their workplace, and there are workplace challenges in making the facility changes necessary to provide licensed childcare.
Urban Corps of San Diego celebrated their 30th anniversary tonight with food, drinks, music, and fire dancers! Urban Corps works with young adults, ages 18-26, to provide paid job training, support services, and an opportunity to earn a high school diploma. Youth success is one of our core areas to ensure youth are on a college or career pathway after high school.
Every year, USD releases the annual report on the State of Nonprofits. The report provides fascinating data about the role of nonprofits in the community and the economic impact they provide. Trends are examined and challenges revealed through data and one-on-one conversations. What stood out to me this year was the need for capacity building, strong collaboration, and leadership development.
As Planning Committee chair for National Philanthropy Day this year, I was excited to be a part of the VIP Reception at Sempra Energy to learn more about our honorees. We are so thankful for all that Sempra Energy does for our community and appreciate their generosity for the reception and this year’s National Philanthropy Day celebration! I hope you will join us on November 4 to learn more about this year’s honorees.
Our Women United group is so awesome! Tonight at Women Who Wine, attendees brought diapers for the children at Home Start. Laura Mustari-Baese provided an overview of their work with parenting and pregnant teens. We are always looking for ways to align partner goals with our ability to leverage resources to achieve those goals. I stopped by to say hi and give many thanks to all who attended. We even had visitors from other events who stopped by to learn more about what we were doing!
United Way has a seat on the San Diego Workforce Partnership Policy Board, and today I had the opportunity to fill in for our UW board representative, Jacob Richards. My first time sitting in the seat at the Council Chambers! Exciting information was released about the job vacancies in highest demand. I also learned about RIASEC, a theory of six personality types (Realistic, Investigative, Artistic, Social, Enterprising, and Conventional) that focuses on career and vocational choice. A person is often more than one type but knowing which are strongest helps that person determine where they will work best. It was great to hear from David Blustein and Ed Hidalgo and the work in the Cajon Valley School District.
I stopped by the Youth Development Master Plan workshop to hear the report outs from the working groups. It is critically important to hear from youth who are living in environments that will/could be impacted by any Master Plan to create a better/stronger future for them. Assembly member Todd Gloria was also there. Great job by the youth brought together by Sean Elo and his team at Youth Will.
I participated in the statewide meeting of CA United Ways in Burbank. We were honored to hear directly from the UWUS CEO, Suzanne McCormick, about where she wants to go with our work by creating the Modern United Way! We are also talking about work we are doing statewide around kinship caregiving and connections with 2-1-1.
The second seminar of the Leading Equity work with San Diego Grantmakers took me out to the Sycuan Cultural Center, Kumeyaay Community College, and the Red Tail Grill. Did you know that the Kumeyaay lands cover much of Southern California and into Baja? As a result, it seems odd to them that they must go through the border crossing that divides their land. The fires in Valle de Guadalupe are currently threatening the homes of people they know.
The Airport Authority is one of our stellar corporate partners every year! Today, they took their leadership gift donors to Kitchens for Good to learn about their work providing culinary skills/training for hard-to-hire individuals and placing them in kitchens around the county. In addition, Kitchens for Good repurposes produce into edible, yummy food and distributes meals to sites around the county. I also presented our thanks from United Way for their leadership gifts and talked about how we put that money to work to transform lives of children, young adults, and families.
We also held our annual Halloween bake-off in the building with United Way and all of our tenants. Corporate Social Responsibility Coordinator Mitch Medrano won the bake-off contest for his cheesecake ghost bites, and the costume contest winner was Senior Impact Manager Rachel Liber who came as Miley Cyrus’ “Wrecking Ball”!