From Nancy Sasaki, Executive Director – As we head deeper into the holidays, 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—is as unwavering as ever. Our collaborative efforts to serve these populations in the month of November are highlighted below.
Nov 1: We kicked off the month with the iEngageU: Hunger Free Kids convening. We had most of the top hunger and food security experts in San Diego in the room at the Leichtag Commons in Encinitas. The event was led by Anahid Brakke, Executive Director of the San Diego Hunger Coalition and the panel included Gary Petill, Food and Nutrition Services Director for San Diego Unified School District; Gail Gousha, Director of Nutrition Services for Escondido Union School District; Elyse Homel Vitale, Senior Advocate for California Food Policy Advocates; Vince Hall, Executive Director of Feeding San Diego; Angela Kretschmar, Executive Director of Heaven’s Windows, and moderated by Robin McNulty, School Meals Program Director for the San Diego Hunger Coalition, where they discussed the initial findings of the Hunger Free Kids, Opportunities by District to End Child Hunger report. Through the report they found that within five years, more than 15 MILLION ADDITIONAL MEALS can be provided to food insecure children annually in our region without raising money for food. This would be done by increasing children’s access to school breakfast, after school supper, and summer meals. An estimated $30 million a year could be accessed in federal funding to boost food service budgets for schools and youth-serving organizations countywide.
Nov 1-3: Are you a futurist? Over a three-day period, Nick Macchione, Director of the Health & Human Services Agency (HHSA), convened stakeholders in the community to imagine the future of San Diego County, Live Well San Diego, and our work around behavioral health, child services, aging and independent services, housing and community development, and self-sufficiency. Led by Clement Bezold of the Institute for Alternative Futures, we all discussed what 2035 will look like under various scenarios. Some of the scenarios were believable and others made us realize how much work and change would have to happen for these things to come to fruition!
Nov 2: Today Michele went to Imperial County for the annual Environmental Justice Health Leadership Conference put on by Comite Civico de Valle. Led by Executive Director Luis Olmedo, he and his staff brought in over 200 people from around the state to discuss implications of the Salton Sea and asthma on public health. We continue to learn about the environmental impacts on public health in Imperial County and where AHF might be able to partner with those doing this challenging work.
Nov 3: Thanks to San Diego Grantmakers CEO Nancy Jamison, Vice President of Collaboration and Special Initiatives Megan Thomas, and the entire Grantmakers staff for bringing the hottest topics in philanthropy to San Diego! This morning Michele, AHF Communications Manager Jonathan Dale, and ten other funders got together to discuss the Full Cost Project, presented by Claire Knowlton of Nonprofit Finance Fund. The discussion focused on the culture shift that needs to happen to allow nonprofits to function at full strength with less pressure to follow the traditional “rules” for nonprofits. Remember, nonprofit is a tax status not a business model!
Nov 6: Funders Together to End Homeless has extended the peer learning network that met for two years from 2015 to 2017 to discuss best practices to end youth homelessness. The extended version, known as the Youth Network, hosted a webinar to talk about serving minors. As simplistic as that may sound, we know that there are complex issues facing providers when they address youth homelessness. As November was Homeless Youth Awareness Month, we talked about the now released Chapin Hall report. Did you know that 1 in 10 youth between 18 and 25 years of age experienced some form of homelessness in the previous 12-month period?
Nov 8: I’m sure many of you were there at Live Well Advance! Congratulations to HHSA Director Nick Macchione and his team for their work putting this event together. I know everyone looks forward to the conference, networking with others, and learning about what’s happening in our community. If you were at the event, what was your best takeaway?
Later that afternoon a small group of interested stakeholders met to talk about the criminalization of homelessness. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to make this meeting but I know that we have to figure this out. How do we have compassion for our fellow human beings at the same time we enforce the law?
Nov 10: I talked with Ronda Dean this morning to catch up on a project that was developing at Planned Parenthood just before I left. Did you know Planned Parenthood has created a company that now produces five different birth control pills? Originally designed to keep pill costs down for Planned Parenthood, the company also makes the pills available to community clinics. In addition, another arm of the company has developed a group purchasing organization and brings cost savings to providers and others throughout the country. It was great to hear the update and to see where else they are growing. We may find something that is needed in San Diego and or Imperial County!
Nov 13: As a board member with San Diego Grantmakers, I attended a training on racial equity this afternoon. Thanks to Dr. Heather Hackman of the Hackman Consulting Group for leading our training. As much as I get frustrated with the many years of talking about diversity, it was good to learn about the three central components we should focus on—diversity training, cultural competence, and racial equity/justice. Without the last one, you can do all the work in the other two areas and never see real change! The latter involves knowing about the history and the systems built based on that history in order to understand the equity or inequity. Okay, that’s an oversimplification but now it makes more sense to me!
Karen Organization of San Diego serves a specific refugee community of 2100 people in San Diego. Led by Executive Director Nao Kabashima, originally from Japan, she co-founded the Karen Organization of San Diego to meet the urgent needs of refugees from Burma. This evening, Michele attended their successful “Night at Art Produce” fundraiser where there was traditional Burmese food and and weaving! Supervisor Ron Roberts declared November 13, 2017 Karen Organization of San Diego Day. Look for info about their January 13 New Year’s celebration.
Nov 14: Today, Michele and I hosted some of our grantees at the National Philanthropy Day luncheon. Joining us were Just in Time for Foster Youth, ElderHelp of San Diego, Clinicas de Salud del Pueblo, North County Lifeline, Reality Changers, Environmental Health Coalition, and San Diego Hunger Coalition. Congratulations to the honorees for 2017 and thanks to Malin Burnham for his incredible generosity in our community and for being the keynote speaker!
Nov 15: Dinner at Prepkitchen in La Jolla was delicious but also an opportunity to support SAY San Diego’s fundraiser! CEO Nancy Gannon-Hornberger, I hope it was a huge success! SAY San Diego’s mission is to partner with youth, adults, families, and communities to reach their full potential.
Nov 16: I had a chance to attend most of the Hospital Association of San Diego & Imperial Counties’ annual meeting today. Congratulations to CEO Dimitrios Alexiou and his staff for a great conference. Did you know that a quarter of all those newly insured in the US are Californians? Wow! That’s great for California, but it shows how many are still uninsured throughout our country.
Michele attended the first annual Veterans Village of San Diego luncheon where they shared their successes of serving over 2,000 vets annually with wrap around services and placing 350 vets into full time employment in the last year. Newly appointed CEO Kim Mitchell served in the United States Navy for 17 years as a Surface Warfare Officer and as the White House Military Social Aide from 2007 to 2012.
Nov 17: As a part of Funders Together to End Homelessness and working with Good, Inc., we presented the findings of their assessment of four cities around the country that have had a positive impact on reducing the number of homeless on their streets, if not claiming the end of homelessness for at least one group. Of the four cities, one, Seattle, has had its share of struggles, and we were able to learn from them as well. The intent was to learn from their successes beyond the structure and the funds and dig deeper into their secret sauce. Today Good, Inc. outlined the ten general factors that influenced success with five that rose to the top as the most impactful: effective data collection and management; collaboration among government, funders and providers; effective leadership; federal programs; funding, support, and political will. In action, this looks like consolidation of funding and diverting resources to permanent housing, deep trust and crystal clear roles among leaders, and centralized outreach to name a few efforts. Too many strong leaders can be a hindrance and can create a lack of coordination. More on this to come, especially with the findings being integrated into the recent community plan as well.
Due to recent legislation changes, EBT cards are now accepted on college campuses; along with these changes many campuses have realized the needs associated with homeless and food insecure students. Michele has learned about many of the initiatives that are taking place and was at Southwestern College this morning to share in a conversation on student hunger and homelessness and how they are supporting their students with the JAG Kitchen and Food Pantry.
Nov 20: I got a chance to catch up with Sean Sheppard, CEO of Game Changers, to talk about the work he is doing with community members and law enforcement. It is amazing what a difference open and honest communication can make. Participants share their experiences and their perceptions and by hearing from people coming from a different perspective, can open their eyes to new ways of looking at situations. So much has been uncovered from their conversations that Game Changers is growing at an incredibly fast pace. Congratulations, Sean!
Nov 21: One of the best ways to learn about community work is to attend monthly meetings and collaborations. Michele was at the San Diego Refugee Forum this morning to get updates on the work and challenges of our refugee and immigrant community-based organizations.
Nov 23: Thanksgiving Day—one of the hardest days to eat healthy! Okay, I’ll admit I ate too much, but I started the day with a 5K walk with my sister, so does that let me off the hook? These are questions we ask ourselves, and we justify our answers in many different ways. Although we may strive to eat healthy, we also have to give ourselves a break if we aren’t 100% perfect all the time. I hope you had a great Thanksgiving Holiday.
Nov 28: Now that the Community Information Exchange (CIE) has been integrated into the work of 2-1-1 San Diego, the old board has been dissolved. 2-1-1 San Diego would still like to have an advisory board continue to work with them to provide feedback and input. Today was the first meeting of this advisory board, and I’m looking forward to our continued work together. We learned about the integration process and the exponential growth of client records in the system. We also talked about our future work in understanding the impact of our efforts and how to tackle the tough areas such as sustainability. We also recognized some the original thought leaders who are still in this work: Dr. Jim Dunford, Matthew Packard, John Ohanian, Camey Christensen, as well as others who joined along the way such as Jody Root and Dan Chavez.
Nov 29: What an honor to be the keynote speaker at the Imperial County National Philanthropy Day! I really didn’t know what I would talk about, but thank you to everyone who gave me input! I talked about the incredible job the community does through their local philanthropists because they have very few outside donors helping them out. I also pointed out the challenges they face because of that. Anne Irigoyen, Master of Ceremonies, mentioned that giving creates a natural high so I encouraged the community to give so much they soar as high as the clouds! Alliance Healthcare Foundation was also recognized by Clinicas de Salud as a Distinguished Philanthropist! Bobby Brock, Executive Director of the Imperial County Community Foundation, and his board chair, Paul Cameron, hosted the event with over 200 people in attendance. Also, congratulations to the many other award winners especially George and Audrey McFaddin for their Lifetime Achievement and James Abatti and Deborah Owen as Philanthropists of the Year!
And sometimes when things get double booked or dates change, Michele has the opportunity to take over and head to my meetings. Today Michele split her time between the Shine! Zero to Three Annual Conference and the first San Diego ACH Sustainability and Wellness Fund workgroup. Anna Hoff coordinated the session Michele attended at the conference: Making Family Wellness a Pediatric Priority, the speakers discussed Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) and screening for trauma and the role of the pediatrician. It was stated several times that if you don’t ask your client about trauma, food insecurity, or other social needs, it doesn’t mean they go away and that the intervention does not have to equal the issue. Michele followed up with the ACH workgroup, led by Executive Director of Be There San Diego Kitty Bailey to discuss purpose and guiding principles.
I arrived back in San Diego just in time to meet with Anna Hoff. I have been working with Anna since she spearheaded the local effort for Text4baby and then the statewide effort to embed it into provider contracts. It was good to hear about the conference she helped put together in San Diego on childhood ACES (Adverse Childhood Experiences) with over 3600 attendees!
Michele closed out the month with Civic San Diego on a bus tour of the Promise Zone; one of 22 designated in the USA covering 6.6 miles and 77,000 people with 6 goals to increase economic development, education and in general improve the community. The Promise Zone initiatives are led by Director Katherine Crow and coordinated with HUD liaison Jess Yuen.
Have questions or comments about AHF in the community?
Upcoming Events on the AHF Community Calendar
- December 13: Ending Homelessness: Lessons from 4 Cities (For Funders)
- December 19: Fostering Futures Initative Briefing w/ Dr. Mark Courtney regarding CalYouth Research