From Nancy Sasaki, Executive Director – The month of December was very busy for us all at Alliance Healthcare Foundation with meetings, collaboration, events, and conferences – a variety of ways we learn about the work of organizations in our community, and how this work aligns with our mission to advance health and wellness. In addition, this post helps show how we’re learning about the challenges faced by our target populations that impact their ability to have healthier lives.
December 2: This evening I attended the Winter Showcase at Gompers Preparatory Academy. These young people in the program are very talented! Our responsive grant helped support the Adventure Club work with Outdoor Outreach to design outdoor activities introducing them to exercise, the outdoors, and leadership development. The responsive grant also supported a consultant to assist with a fundraising plan. Their goal is to acquire more funds so they can continue the partnership with Outdoor Outreach.
December 6: I started the day having coffee with Tad Parzen of Katerva. Katerva aims to create a global community interested in finding and accelerating the spread of the world’s most promising sustainable innovations. Tad is working with Malin Burnham at Katerva and using San Diego as the hub for global innovation.
Later that day, I had lunch with my former colleague, Cea Ishikawa. It’s always interesting to catch up with her to hear about her work and the personal goals she achieved this year.
In the evening, Michele and I attended the San Diego Grantmakers (SDG) annual winter social at the lovely home of Linda Spuck. Hosted by Nancy Jamison, CEO of San Diego Grantmakers, we enjoyed the company of our fellow grantmakers and I even won first place for best interpretation of the theme – Starry Nights! It was the perfect theme and we had s’mores to top off the night!
December 7: Michele attended a fascinating forum presented by SoCal Grantmakers featuring the Children’s Data Network (CDN). CDN compiles administrative data to identify data linkages for program evaluation, effectiveness, and to inform policy for children’s programs.
I participated in a webinar hosted by Funders Together to End Homelessness to wrap up our work focused on youth homelessness. After two years of working together, the group was interested in keeping in contact with each other. We want to continue to learn about each other’s efforts to address youth homelessness.
In the afternoon I met with Officer Sal Gill in National City to learn about the work they are doing in the community, especially in schools, to keep the community safe. Their bicycle safety classes, which distributes bicycles and helmets to kids in the schools, align with AHF’s mission.
December 8: Oh, today was one of those days! I started out in Imperial County for the Homeless Executive Board meeting with the new chair, Les Smith! From there I came back to San Diego to give a presentation at the Continuum of Care membership meeting with Susan Bower, Assistant Director, Integrative Services at San Diego County Health and Human Services. Afterwards, I headed to a site visit with AHF staff to view the location for our January board social. Following the visit, I had a conference call to discuss a potential PRI (program related investment, or loan).
I finally ended my day by meeting with Megan Thomas, Director of Collaborative Philanthropy at San Diego Grantmakers and Stacie Spector with Mayor Faulconer’s office. We were discussing her first sixty days and the issues surrounding the community’s efforts to end homelessness. I’m looking forward to continuing to work with her, as she designs the direction for the City of San Diego.
December 10: I was invited to the Open House holiday celebration with Townspeople. Townspeople provides access for low-income people, especially those living with HIV/AIDS, to affordable housing and other human services. Many thanks to Jon Derryberry, CEO of Townspeople for hosting the gathering!
December 11: The San Diego Center for Children hosted their Wacky Wonky Wonderland event on their campus, including fun booths, arts and crafts, train rides, and a fun play area for kids. I ran into Peter Callstrom, CEO of Workforce Partnership, and his family, as well as Alison Beck, Development Director of San Diego Center for Children.
December 12: Today I toured Olivewood Gardens thanks to CEO Healy Vigderson. Olivewood Gardens connects and motivates students and families from diverse backgrounds through organic gardening, environmental stewardship, and nutrition education, empowering them to be healthy and active citizens. Vigderson facilitated the tour and gave an update of all that is happening there. Although much of our time was with the tour, her main interest was the exploration of a potential social enterprise. We strategized about various resources in the community that would be available to help. It will be exciting for me to follow their work and the development of this project!
Later that afternoon I headed to Imperial County to visit with Ricardo Ortega, Executive Director of Neighborhood House of Calexico. I’m excited to see them participating with the Homeless Management Information System (HMIS). Afterwards, I met with the Local Health Authority Commission chaired by County Supervisor John Renison.
December 13: I began my day by meeting with other community leaders at CONNECT to hear an update from Christian Braemer, CEO of Benefunder. Benefunder assists funders in finding appropriate research projects and connects researchers with potential funders. We ended the meeting with a discussion about the need to develop the overall ecosystem for impact investing in San Diego County.
After lunch, I was part of a group that was provided a briefing on the work San Diego did with Chapin Hall out of the University of Chicago called Voices of Youth Count. This effort was exploring how we can best identify the homeless youth in our community, given the varying definitions of homelessness that are used by funding sources. For example, under the McKinney-Vento Act, schools define homelessness as living in an unstable living arrangement (e.g. couch surfing), whereas other federal funding might define it as living on the street. We are looking forward to the final report on San Diego County and our homeless youth.
That meeting was followed by a meeting with the Unaccompanied Minor Task Force and the Youth subcommittee of the Coordinated Assessment and Housing Placement (CAHP), which are merging into one committee. This joint committee was formed in order to provide a voice for youth within the work of the San Diego Regional Continuum of Care.
While I met with individuals locally, Michele traveled to San Francisco for a funder’s lab presented by Philanthropic Initiative for Racial Equity (PRE). The goal of PRE is to increase the effectiveness and amount of resources aimed at combating institutional and structural racism in communities through capacity building, education, and convening of grantmakers and grantseekers. PRE’s two day event was hosted by Executive Director Lori Villarosa and led by Maria Poblet, Causa Justa Just Cause; Gloria Walton, Scope; Glenn Harris, Center for Social Inclusion; John A. Powell, Haas Institute for a Fair and Inclusive Society; Rinku Sen, Race Forward. The discussion began with a broad overview of considerations on racial justice with new leaders in Washington, which gave way to a conversation on actionable steps at an organizational level for using a racial justice lens in your work.
December 14: Michele attended San Diego Hunger Coalition‘s forum on Integrating Food Security into Healthcare Settings: Launching RX for CalFresh. Amanda Schultz Brochu, Calfresh Outreach Director at Hunger Coalition led a panel that included: Dr. Sunny Smith, UCSD Student-Run Free Clinic; Kelsey Ellis, Feeding San Diego; Dr. Kristin Brownell, Family Health Centers; Jillian Barber, Sharp Healthcare; Karis Grounds, 2-1-1 San Diego; Perla Pace, Sharp Healthcare; Holly Calhoun, Public Health Institute. They discussed the efforts of their organizations in implementing food security screenings and connecting people to CalFresh in a healthcare setting that works to improve health outcomes.
December 15: Our last iEngageU forum of the year, Mental Health and Recovery for at-risk youth, low income and the homeless, was held at North County Lifeline. The panel featured: Don Stump, Executive Director, North County Lifeline; Matt D’Arrigo, Executive Director, A Reason to Survive (ARTS); Greg Anglea, Executive Director, Interfaith Community Services; and Walter Phillips, CEO, San Diego Youth Services. Topics of interest ranged from collaboration between organizations to the sharing of data, and explored how we, as organizations, can better engage with the community.
That evening I had dinner with Nancy Jamison, CEO of San Diego Grantmakers and David Lynn, Chair of SDG, as we said thanks to Connie Matsui for her years of service to the SDG Board. Matsui has served as the Outgoing Chair this past year and is now rotating off the board.
I followed that dinner, with bells on, for the holiday gathering hosted by Rick and Deb Gentry. Rick is the CEO of the San Diego Housing Commission and Chair of the Regional Continuum of Care Board.
December 16: Michele attended the third South Bay Hunger Relief Forum addressing food insecurity in the community. The event began with Dr. Dean Sidelinger, Child Health Medical Officer, County of San Diego; Anahid Brakke, San Diego Hunger Coalition; and Patti Larson, Food Finders Food Bank, Inc. speaking on hunger in the community. The event concluded with SWOT analysis breakout groups discussing a wide range of community issues. These forums are a part of a strategy to build more sustainable food delivery systems in Chula Vista and the South Bay.
The annual Suite 350 holiday gathering took place in the afternoon at Bastyr University. Together, the staff from Alliance Healthcare Foundation, San Diego Grantmakers, and The California Endowment took part in a nutrition cooking demonstration, then tried our skills on cooking a few recipes ourselves! In small groups, we made butternut squash soup, massaged kale and apple salad – yummy, yummy! For dessert we had an avocado and chocolate chip mousse. What a treat!
December 20: I participated in a webinar hosted by Kitty Bailey, Executive Director of Be There San Diego on the California Accountable Communities for Health Initiative (CACHI). Working with ReThink Health, they presented data to help us understand the impact of various options a community might take to influence positive health outcomes. Certainly changing behaviors, along with some system redesigning, are necessary for change to have a long lasting effect on not only the health of the individual, but also the health care system, as well.
That afternoon, I provided feedback for the Imperial County asthma proposals. Led by Robin Hodgkin, Director of Social Services, the reviewers shared their input as to the effectiveness of the proposals and the potential impact on those with asthma.
December 22: Today I met with Ann Howard, Executive Director and Ed McHorse, Board Chair of ECHO to talk about our work with Funders Together to End Homelessness. We followed that meeting with Howard and Niki Paul of ECHO, and Susan McDowell, Executive Director of Lifeworks, to talk about their experience as one of the three communities participating in the 100-day challenge to address youth homelessness. With a goal of housing 50 youth, they surpassed their mark and housed 52! They also saw what it takes for all the providers to come together to accomplish a common goal. Austin, TX, Cleveland, OH, and Los Angeles, CA will present their work in January.
That afternoon I stopped by the tiny homes project led by Mobile Loaves and Fishes. 150 tiny homes and 125 RV’s are on the property, along with a community outdoor movie theater. Thanks to Donna Emery for the guided tour and information detailing all they are doing on the 27 acres!
Have questions or comments about AHF in the community?
- January 13 & 14: Grantee Benefit: USD’s Nonprofit Governance Symposium (event open to the public)
- Suite 350 is participating in the Get Fit 30-Day Challenge. Join us by signing up at getfitsd.org.
- Save the Date! March 30: Funding Innovation Forum, UCSD Sanford Consortium – Duane. J. Roth Auditorium, 8:30 am to 11 am