From Nancy Sasaki, Executive Director – Summer is officially here, and we took advantage of the lovely weather last month to visit many of our collaborators and check in on the important work they’ve been doing in San Diego and Imperial Counties. Here’s a look at the priorities we were focused on during the month of June.
June 1: Some interesting developments are in the works as we (Michele and I) try to identify how AHF can better utilize data to inform our funding decisions! Thanks to Andrea Yoder-Clark. CEO of LiveGoode, for working with us to define what it is we are trying to learn.
As a part of our Innovation Initiative grant application process, once the five finalists are selected, each finalist works with a business planning consultant to hone the details of their presentation. This year we are trying a new combination with CONNECT, Mission Edge, and Impact Without Borders. Each of the three organizations are bringing their strengths to the consultation and today I got to watch this process in action! I’m really excited to see how the projects grow and how their presentations are strengthened through this work! Thanks to: CONNECT – Greg McKee, CEO, Steve Hoey, Senior Director Springboard & Innovation Research, Petra Stegmann, Program Director, Springboard and Anindita Sarkar, Program Manager, Springboard; Mission Edge – Ken Davenport, CEO, and James Masias, Client CFO; Impact Without Borders – B. H. Kim, CEO and Kaison Tanabe, Co-Founder & Managing Director.
June 7: The day was spent with my colleagues at San Diego Grantmakers for the annual board retreat. It’s such a hard thing to give up a whole day to one meeting, but this day was well worth it! Many thanks to Nancy Jamison, CEO and Justin Schaberg, Director of Membership and Operations and Melissa Leon, Member Services Coordinator for putting together such an enriching agenda! Setting the direction of an organization is a monumental task that was made so much easier by the members of the board and staff.
June 8: One of the meetings I had today was with the Regional Task Force on the Homeless (RTFH) community plan project management team! The RTFH has hired Focus Strategies to work with us to design and shape our community plan to create the system we need to move forward to end homelessness. Many thanks to Dolores Diaz, Interim Executive Director, RTFH, Stephanie Gioia, Senior Policy Advisor, Supervisor Ron Roberts’ office and Melissa Peterman, VP of Homeless Housing Innovations, San Diego Housing Commission for taking the lead on this effort. The changes we are anticipating will be challenging but ultimately necessary for our future success.
June 13: Aw, those times where bittersweet and excitement are mixed. This morning I probably had my last meeting with Matt D’Arrigo in his role as CEO of ARTS – A Reason To Survive. At the same time I got to re-meet Marty Remmell in her new role as CEO of ARTS. Matt has done such an amazing job at ARTS as the founder and has set it on a path that is well positioned for Marty to continue moving forward. Marty obviously loves working with kids and young people because of her previous work at ProKids Golf. It will be fun to see what she does with ARTS!
Later that day I stopped by the Children’s Initiative event at the Hyatt Mission Bay. The Children’s Initiative works to ensure that San Diego’s low-income and underserved children and families reach their full potential by promoting services, programs, and policies that respond to family and community needs. Always a good time with amazing views! It was good to see Sandy McBrayer, CEO as well.
June 14: I took the red-eye to NYC for the Scaling Impact conference! This was a great conference – okay maybe because of Dr. Atul Gawande and Lin-Manuel Miranda as guest speakers! But the sessions were very informative from Re-Amp talking about systems change, to Marcus Shingles, CEO, X-Prize talking about big bets and the future, this was time well spent. Our very own Kitty Bailey, Executive Director, Be There San Diego, was on hand to talk about her work here in San Diego!
June 17: Another one of those bittersweet and exciting moments. This evening was the gala to celebrate Herb Johnson’s retirement from San Diego Rescue Mission. Also introduced was the new CEO, Donnie Dee. Herb and I share a very funny experience when I volunteered one Thanksgiving meal. A gentleman handed me a note, which I assumed was a request for help, so I handed it to Herb. Little did I know it was an offer for at least a date – maybe even marriage! Herb framed the note and sent it to me a couple of days later. We will miss you Herb and wish you well. We also look forward to working with Donnie!
June 20: And I’m off again! This time to Boston for the Grantmakers in Health conference. Great plenary speakers – Judy Belk, CEO, California Wellness, Wade Crowfoot, CEO, Water Foundation and Ron Pollack, Families USA – really stood out. Thanks to Faith Mitchell, CEO, Grantmakers in Health and her staff for an excellent conference.
June 26: There’s a lot going on in the area of homelessness including several assessments. I started this morning with a phone conversation with Kate Bristol, Focus Strategies, to provide input on the community assessment. This assessment is looking at the overall community and how it works together (or not), its strengths and weaknesses, and will offer recommendations on how we can strengthen our overall system.
I followed that discussion with one about a potential food system impact investment. Hosted by Elly Brown, San Diego Food System Alliance, and Olivia Rebanal, Capital Impact Partners, we talked about the potential for mapping, assessing the system and building a fund to have an impact in this area. I’m looking forward to seeing how this develops for our community!
June 28: Sometimes I just can’t make it out to Imperial County for a meeting, so today I joined by phone for the Imperial County Continuum of Care Executive Board meeting! I’m really impressed with the direction of and changes to the continuum over the past couple of years!
June 28 & 29: These two days I observed the final practice presentations for the five finalists in the Innovation Initiative. Many thanks to Steve Hoey, Petra Stegmann – CONNECT; Ken Davenport and James Masias – Mission Edge and B.H. Kim and Kaison Tanabe – Impact Without Borders for their work with our finalists! I can’t leave this without expressing my thanks and amazement of Anindita Sarkar. Ph.D. who coordinated this effort in a way that was absolutely seamless! I can’t wait to see what the board thinks when they see the presentations on July 14th.
Later that evening, Michele and I hosted our subject matter experts at a dinner for an orientation to the Innovation Initiative process and PitchFest. For each of the proposals presented we find an expert in the community to assist the board with their decision. Thanks to all of those who have agreed to work with us on that all-important day!
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