AHF in the Community – October Recap

From Nancy Sasaki, Executive Director – This year has brought a lot of change, but one thing that has remained constant is Alliance Healthcare Foundation’s commitment to advance the health and wellness for the most vulnerable in San Diego and Imperial Counties—those under 250% of the federal poverty level, un/underinsured people, children, and the homeless. Our collaborative efforts to serve these populations in the month of October are highlighted below.

Oct 2: I had a chance to talk with Karen Brailean today outside of our work with Funders Together to End Homelessness San Diego and the Regional Task Force on the Homeless San Diego (RTFH). Gosh, how often do we get to do that in our busy work lives? Of course, after talking about family and travels, we ended up back on the common base of homelessness and the work that is happening in our community. If you haven’t seen the community plan just approved by the board of the RTFH, you should check it out!

Oct 3: Last night I drove up to Pasadena (no, I’m not the little old lady…yet!) for the California Accountable Communities for Health (ACH)’s Fall Convening. Several California foundations pooled their funds to create this learning community and both San Diego and Imperial Counties were selected. Representing two of the six communities first selected, it was great to hear what the other regions are working on, including areas such as trauma and violence, as well as cardiovascular disease and asthma. Thanks to Kitty Bailey, Executive Director of Be There San Diego, and the lead for the ACH for San Diego. It was great to see the Imperial County contingent represented as well.

Oct 4: I joined the conversation of the Imperial Valley Continuum of Care Council Executive Committee meeting in the morning as we talked about the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) application we submitted. Our work is cut out for us in getting more agencies interested in applying and implementing our coordinated entry system by next year! This board is led by Chair Les Smith, business owner.

I also had a couple of opportunities to catch up with grantees, including Paul Downey, CEO of Serving Seniors, to talk about a potential PRI (Program Related Investment) loan for senior housing and Greg Anglea, CEO of Interfaith Community Services, for a tour of the facility for the Wellness & Recovery Center. Both are exploring ways to expand services to vulnerable communities in San Diego County.

Kitty Bailey

AHF’s 2018 Mission Support Grant cycle opened, with applications being accepted through November 3.

Oct 5: There was a lot to follow up on with Kitty Bailey following the AHF Board Envision meeting where she presented the ACH work and the meeting in Pasadena with the statewide communities. We are planning and scheming for how we can catalyze the work of the ACH!

That evening I drove out to Brawley for the CASA of Imperial County event. Hosted by the Imperial County Association of Realtors, many congratulations go to Alex Cardenas, CEO of  CASA of Imperial County, for an excellent turnout and successful fundraising event. That’s where I tasted a beer that tasted like white wine because of the Westmorland honey and a wine that wasn’t made with grapes but, yep…Westmorland honey! CASA of Imperial County is well embedded in the community and doing some awesome work around psychotropic meds; to turn the focus on the root needs of the kids rather than treating only the symptoms.

Oct 7: Two days later I returned to Brawley for the Boys & Girls Club of Imperial Valley evening gala. The Boys & Girls Club led by Executive Director Misty Lee is bringing more activities to the youth in Imperial County.

Oct 9: I headed back out to Imperial County for the Local Health Authority (LHA) meeting. This monthly meeting is an important one to learn about the wide variety of efforts they are doing to impact the health of the community. Quite a bit of the discussion focused on the progress of the ACH but also on building the system for long-term sustainability of the changes they are making. It’s an exciting time for Imperial County and the LHA led by Supervisor John Rennison.

Oct 10: Today I got to have lunch with former colleague Angela Reed. Under auspices of talking about Cuba (she traveled there this year; I traveled there in 2011) we also caught up on her goals for the next chapter in her life!

Later that day, Michele grabbed coffee with Mark Lagace, Director of Philanthropy at Homestart, to discuss what they have been up to, including the recent return of Laura Tancredi- Baese from her three-month sabbatical. Welcome back Laura!

Oct 11: Another great opportunity to talk with one of our grantees, Don Wells, CEO of Just In Time for Foster Youth. Don is starting to explore ways to provide more housing for the youth they work with. He has been impressed with the changes he has seen in the former foster youth most recently housed. No matter which group I’m talking with, housing seems to be a fairly constant barrier.

Judith Shaplin

Oct 12: Today I joined CEO Judith Shaplin at Mountain Health & Community Services for their annual luncheon. The Affordable Care Act (ACA) has provided them with many opportunities to expand in both rural and urban settings. Their clinic in City Heights now provides dental care as well as alternative therapies such as acupuncture and chiropractic care. Thanks to Grossmont Healthcare District for providing funds for the purchase of the major equipment needed for the clinic expansions.

I followed lunch with a meeting with CEO Ricardo Flores and Program Officer Kwofi Reed of Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC). We talked about the housing fund they are looking to create in order to fill in the hard-to-fund areas of affordable housing development.

Many times we are able to help make connections for people and organizations. I had the opportunity to talk with Emily Howe about her goals for the future that would blend her love for policy development with her nonprofit work and make some connections for her.

Oct 13: I had a great call today with Judith Shaplin, CEO of Mountain Health & Community Services, to discuss their needs for a responsive grant. These grants are designed to enable us to respond to immediate needs that are restricting an organization’s ability to do their work. They may also be used for organizational and leadership development, but we do not use them for ongoing fundraising needs. Let us know if you have questions!

That evening I joined Teresa Stivers Liong, CEO of Walden Family Services, at their Wine D’Vine gala. This was my first time at their event, and it was a lot of fun. A poignant moment was the young man who was served by Walden Family Services and is a wonderful success story now! The highlight was hearing Peter Frampton and reliving my teenage years when I was at the very edge of the stage! Frampton’s new song “I Saved A Bird” was based on a real story but the words described the work of the foster families beautifully.

Oct 14: Sometimes we come across organizations doing health and wellness work with our focus populations and attend their gala events to learn more about their work. Tonight Michele attended the Alabaster Jar Project event. They are a newer organization doing work with human trafficking victims, providing a drop-in center, an array of support services, and temporary housing in North County.

Oct 16 – 18: I flew up to San Francisco to join the Rock Health Summit this week. I like to find out what the rest of the world thinks is innovative to see where we might be headed in the nonprofit arena! Usually they don’t even talk about the nonprofit world, but this time there was a session focused just on our population. I don’t think they adequately addressed access issues and language barriers in this session.

Play room at Ronald McDonald House’s North House

Oct 16: Michele checked out the newly remodeled long-term housing at North House, part of the Ronald McDonald House. It was interesting to learn that North House is one of the few long-term housing options that offers a day center serving meals to anyone with a child in the hospital–they serve 450 to 600 meals a day! For their longer-term families, they have an onsite school for siblings and even have a hair dresser!

Later that day Michele headed to North County Lifeline’s Community Impact Awards honoring Michelle Walsh from Vista Unified School District, Margery Walsh from the City of Oceanside, and Summer Stephan, San Diego County District Attorney.

Oct 17: This morning Michele joined a webinar hosted by Guidestar, The Center for Effective Philanthropy and Grantmakers for Effective Organizations. The webinar, “A Guide to Good Practices in Foundation Operations” discussed recent trends and practices highlighting the following guiding principles: 1. Be transparent to the public, 2. Be rigorous but respectful, 3. Be responsive to your constituents, and 4. Be proactive about Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI). Great practices to strive for and I think AHF is doing a good job of being mindful of these principles in our work. How do you think AHF is doing?

Oct 19:  This evening I joined other supporters of the Center for Community Solutions to hear more about their work. At the lovely home of Stan and Ruth Westreich, CEO Verna Tabor-Griffin talked about the services they are providing throughout San Diego County.

Speaking of great practices, collaboration is another practice we work on. This morning Michele checked in with Lindsay Wright, Community Benefit Manager at Kaiser Permanente, regarding capacity building and leadership development work they are doing with east county leaders. Michele will be checking back with her to see how the program is developing and if there is opportunity to adapt their program for our grantee leadership.

Dr. Dolores-Jacobs (left)


Oct 21:
Tonight I attended the LGBT Center’s Sapphire Gala at the Hotel Del Coronado. Hosted by CEO Dr. Delores Jacobs, the well-attended event was full of hopes and dreams for the years to come. This was also the last gala for Dr. Jacobs as she is retiring at the end of the year. We will certainly all miss her leadership and stalwart voice for the LBGT community. The amazing announcement of a 4 to 1 matching grant was inspiring! Imagine giving $100 so it can turn into $400! They will raise $400,000 by the end of the year in order to receive a match of $1.6M!

Oct 23: Michele and I continued our meetings with Andrea Yoder-Clark regarding the use of data in our decision-making. Our first step is to analyze our giving and alignment with our values and goals. I’m happy to say our initial view is that we are in alignment! But there were some interesting outcomes that we will continue to explore and tell you more about in the coming months.

Later, Michele shared coffee with Nelli Garton. Nelli is involved in many aspects of philanthropy with a family foundation and heading up San Diego Impact Investors Network, but Michele joined her to to learn more about her latest venture Tablecloth, Inc., a civic technology company developing tools and solutions to capture impact and help organizations tell their stories. If you are looking for direction in the area, get in touch with Nelli!

Oct 24: I started the morning with a meeting at Jewish Family Service with Dan Glass, Elizabeth Christensen, and Dana Toppel. We were talking about their ideas for the 2018 Innovation Initiative! I’m so happy to see people are thinking about this prior to the applications opening in the spring next year!

I also had lunch with Claire Groebner from Olivewood Gardens to hear updates about their work. They just completed their first Kitchenistas program for men and are expanding into the Asian-American community as well! Congratulations on their continued growth in the National City community!

Brightside Produce volunteers supplying fresh produce

That afternoon I met Iana Castro at San Diego State to learn about the Brightside Produce project they are operating with SDSU students. Using a social enterprise model to provide local, fresh produce for students on campus—a CSA for students—the funds raised are used to provide fresh produce to stores in food deserts in National City. Students running the project learn about social enterprise, the business model and marketing, as well as learning about the food needs of the community. Thanks, Mill Chan, for making the connection!

I ended the evening at a meeting of the SDSU Graduate School of Public Health Advisory board. In its second meeting, the group is providing feedback to school leadership regarding curriculum needed to prepare future leaders with the skills they will need to be strong and effective!

One of the ways we manage our grants and applications is through a grants management database. We have been searching for a new tool which led Michele to Los Angeles for a day of learning about different grant management systems. PEAK Grantmaking hosted the discussion led by Rebecca Van Sickle from 1892 Consulting. The panel discussed the selection, preparation, implementation, migration, training, launch, and post launch for a new system. It will be a big haul, but you may see a new look when you apply for a grant next year!

Oct 25: I attended the first meeting of the San Diego Accountable Community for Health Stewardship Group led by Kitty Bailey from Be There San Diego and co-chair John Ohanian, CEO of 2-1-1 San Diego. This group will develop the guidelines for how we will learn about, suggest, and decide how San Diego develops a standard for what an accountable community for health looks like. This is a daunting task that will be informed by the community throughout the process.

I followed that meeting with a meeting of the San Diego Grantmakers board of directors. We finalized the strategic plan for the organization that CEO Nancy Jamison and her staff will make come to life!

Oct 26: I met with Kathleen Lang, Director of California Health & Wellness in Imperial County. We talked about the direction of the Accountable Community for Health work and the alignment with the Local Health Authority. We both have a strong interest in supporting the community in distributing funds for health and wellness as well as building the infrastructure needed to support those efforts, both now and in the future.

ElderHelp San Diego Open House

If you ever need inspiration, head to an ElderHelp of San Diego event! Michele attended ElderHelp of San Diego’s Annual Open House and was inspired not only by the work they do—their homeshare program is providing 1000 years of housing (yes you read that right!)—but by their clients as well. One of the speakers was a 95-year old and the sole living veteran of the Korean War who has been married for 72 years!

Oct 27: Now that he’s back from sabbatical, it was fun to catch up with Don Stump, CEO of North County Lifeline, at breakfast this morning. Sometimes it is great to hear about life outside of work and the more personal side of the people we work with in the community. That and we also talked about the direction of North County Lifeline and their continued great work in the community. Congratulations to their staff and board for staying strong throughout his three-month sabbatical. Welcome back, Don!

Later that afternoon AHF staff, along with folks from San Diego Grantmakers and the American Diabetes Association of San Diego, Riverside, and Imperial Counties went to Serving Seniors to serve lunch and lead their pumpkin decorating contest. Wow were they creative! One woman even brought her own accessories! In fact, her pumpkin won the contest with “Minnie” coming in second! As a part of our iEngageU effort, we encourage those in our office suite to do things that promote health and wellness in the community as well.

Oct 28: Michele and her husband enjoyed the afternoon supporting Home Start, in recognition of National Domestic Violence Awareness Month, at their annual Hallo-Wine event. Home Start works to support and strengthen families and protect children in San Diego through their work.

Ribbon cutting at Neighborhood House Association’s Central Kitchen Phase II expansion

Oct 30: AHF’s PRI program supported the Neighborhood House Association’s Central Kitchen Phase II expansion. Today was the ribbon cutting and celebration of the grand opening. Program Chair Dr. Joe Ramsdell said a few words in congratulations along with the NHA Board Chair Jeffrey Carr, NHA President and CEO Rudy Johnson III, and the County Supervisors that also supported the expansion.

Oct 31: In an effort to further and perfect our Mission Support evaluation tools, Michele had her first conversation with Graham MacDonald, data scientist at Urban Institute. We are looking forward to the partnership!

Have questions or comments about AHF in the community?

Contact Executive Director Nancy Sasaki or Senior Director of Programs Michele Silverthorn to learn more about AHF in the community and how we work to advance health and wellness.

To keep up with us as we attend events next month and beyond, follow @AllianceHF on Twitter and LinkedIn, or like us on Facebook.

Upcoming Events on the AHF Community Calendar

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