From Nancy Sasaki, Executive Director – July was another busy month visiting grantees and partners in the community working on the issues of homelessness, food scarcity, transition-age foster youth, water quality, financial sustainability for non-profits, and more. There is so much innovative work being done and thought-provoking discussions taking place to improve the health and wellness of people living in San Diego and Imperial Counties. Here’s a look at who we met with last month.
July 5: Last month I met Annie Chor, Associate Director of Strategic Partnerships for Social Finance, at the Social Impact Exchange conference in NYC. By chance, they are doing some work in California and have started a new project in San Diego. The new project is with South Bay Community Services and is a workforce development, social impact investment. Also known as pay-for-success, this investment will be something to watch in the future! Annie and I are committed to stay in touch as we look for ways to collaborate in the health and wellness area.
Change…they say it is the only constant. Well, change is happening here at AHF as well. Our CFO Paul Brown has left, so we have brought interim CFO Len Dodson back on board. I recognized Michele Silverthorn’s amazing work and promoted her position to Senior Director of Programs. AAANNNNDDD we hired Jonathan Dale as our new Communications Manager. Welcome aboard to our two new staff members, and congratulations to Michele!
July 6: At the Funders Together to End Homelessness meeting, we welcomed visitors Andy Ballester and Madison Smith as they learn about our efforts to end homelessness in San Diego County.
That afternoon I met with Briana Fountain, Senior Engagement Consulting Partner at Healthways, to learn more about her work in other communities that are also associated with Blue Zones. Blue Zones are those areas around the world where more people live beyond 100, and there are nine criteria that they all have in common. Two of those common factors: people in blue zones move more than people in the United States typically do, and they eat healthier foods. Healthways is taking their work to other communities, the latest one being Oregon.
July 7: Michele and I met with Food Systems and Research Director Prem Durairaj and Vice President of Collective Impact Cheryl Moder of Community Health Improvement Partners (CHIP) to learn more about their work with food systems. A part of their work is focusing on strengthening the small farmer’s ability to sell their produce to institutions and to encourage the institutions to strongly consider local farmers in their procurement processes!
July 11: Michele attended the quarterly Fostering Futures Initiative, a collaboration between government, nonprofits, and philanthropies facilitated by San Diego Grantmakers. The breakfast discussion focused on extended foster care. Susan Zimny, Program and Policy Analyst for the Transition Age Youth Policy Unit of the California Department of Social Services, discussed the hot topics of transition age foster youth and the challenges service providers are facing meeting their needs. The issues are many with the most prevalent being housing!
July 12: We kicked off our Finance Fundamentals Summer Series for our Mission Support grantees using the Nonprofit Finance Fund webinar series. Michele hosted the group, and I participated in the Q&A at the end. One topic that was discussed was the impact on cash flow when government agencies delay payments for three months! Does this happen to you too? Let us know in the comments section below!
For lunch I joined some amazing colleagues to select the winners of National Philanthropy Day! We had some great conversations as it’s usually not easy to pick just one. I’m proud of the selections we made and the integrity of this group. I hope you will join us in the celebration on November 14!
July 13: I drove to El Centro to meet with the Imperial Valley Continuum of Care. We celebrated the adoption of a new logo submitted through a contest with the Imperial Valley Regional Occupational Program (IVROP). Congratulations on your stylish new logo!
Michele attended the second Data to Action event at the Jacobs Center hosted by the Multicultural Health Foundation (MHF). The event took a deeper dive into learning how the proposed California Accountable Communities Health Initiative (CACHI) works and how it is being developed with the goal of creating a wellness fund. MHF also highlighted its current work with the Somali Family Service of San Diego to reduce hypertension in the Somali community. Did you know that within six months of resettlement 14% of refugees are diagnosed with high blood pressure!?
July 14: PitchFest 2017!!! What a wonderful day with the board, program committee members, our blue ribbon panel, and subject matter experts. Five finalists presented their projects throughout the day. At the end of the day the board decided on one project, which we will announce once we have all the details worked out! For the Innovation Initiative, we are looking for projects that are going to change the system by lowering costs, improving quality, and/or increasing capacity. Start thinking about your project for next year and let’s talk!
July 17: What happens on those days when it looks like your calendar is wide open and then BAM…it’s the end of the day!? But what a great way to end the day with drinks and dinner with Deb Martin, CEO of ElderHelp, and then John Ohanian, CEO of 2-1-1 San Diego, joining us. Funding and community collaboration challenges seemed to highlight our discussions.
July 18: Hmmm…how do we get more water for San Diego? Even though we have ended our drought (for now), water will be a long-lasting challenge. This afternoon I reconnected with Vic Salazar who is doing some work with Pure Water. It’s an opportunity for us to purify waste water, put it back into the water treatment plants and essentially create more water for San Diego. What do you think about the idea of reusing treated waste water?
July 19: Michele hosted week two of the six-week Finance Fundamentals webinar series. This week the grantees learned about how to assess the financial health of nonprofits.
July 20: I started the morning on a webinar entitled “Digitally Transforming Healthcare in the Home.” It’s a lot like reinventing the home visits using technology! In order to effectively serve patients and keep them out of the hospital, extending healthcare into the home using technologies such as mobile and proactive self-services are important components. The personal touch still can’t be replaced though!
After lunch, Michele and I met with Erin Spiewak, Chief Executive Officer, and Katherine Field, Senior Director of External Relations at Monarch School, to learn more about the work they are doing with homeless youth. It’s always good to see young people learning about gardening and preparing and eating healthy food along with traditional educational and physical activities.
July 21: Funders Together to End Homelessness–San Diego (FTEHSD) has commissioned a study of other communities to find their “secret sauce,” the key components that have contributed to the success in reducing homelessness using their homeless continuum of care. In some cases that number has fluctuated up and down and we want to know what contributed to that fluctuation. This assessment will add insights for the community assessment and the organizational assessment with the Regional Task Force for the Homeless.
Michele met up with Jeff Wiemann, Executive Director, and Suzanne McClain, Director of Development at Angels Foster Family Network. It was surprising to hear that the majority of their connections to find foster families were through Facebook! Angels is doing amazing work with 0 to 5-year olds who are in the foster system.
July 23: Congratulations to Just In Time for Foster Youth (JIT) for their new space by Mission Gorge and I-8. This new location allows them to bring all of their services together under one roof and better serve the foster youth in their programs. Complete with private counseling areas, a private quiet room, showers, and a kitchen stocked with snacks, JIT is looking forward to hosting youth gatherings in their new hub as well. I stopped by to take a tour (thanks Reshea Cuevas) and congratulate CEO Don Wells!
July 24: I caught up this morning with Emily Young, Executive Director of the USD Nonprofit and Philanthropic Institute. The Institute is always looking for ways to strengthen nonprofit leadership not only in our community but worldwide!
Later that day I had lunch with David Lang, Senior Development and Community Relations Officer at Bastyr University. As a Mission Support grantee, Bastyr University continues to look for ways to partner with nonprofit organizations throughout the county. Their “pop-up” clinic at EJE Academies is one model they are looking to expand. With the AHF Mission Support grant, they were able to expand the services at EJE Academies to two days a week.
July 25: This morning I was intrigued by the presentation on “Impact Reporting for Impact Investing.” Thanks to San Diego Impact Investors Network and San Diego Grantmakers for making this presentation possible. Hosted by Jeffrey Dunigan of UBS Financial Services, we heard from Bruno Bertocci about the ways they are using scientific models to analyze financial impact. Focused on climate, health, water, and food security, they are able to better understand the positive impact a new product can have in reducing the negative impact of an existing one—for example, how wind turbines can be used to replace coal-generating energy plants. There are similar models being used, but this one was definitely interesting!
This morning Michele stopped by ElderHelp to visit with Executive Director Deb Martin. One of the programs that is most intriguing is their HomeShare program. The program is an affordable housing solution that matches seniors who want to remain in their homes with another adult who is in need of housing. ElderHelp currently has 51 HomeShare matches.
That afternoon I met up with Michele at the Chula Vista Community Collaborative where we spoke with Executive Director Margarita Holguin. It was interesting to learn about the history of the family resource centers’ development as a one-stop shop for services and how they handle the challenge of budget cuts. Addressing community need is their priority as they face increasing demand for services.
July 26: Coffee again! But this time I met up with Sarah Pauter, Founder and CEO of Phenomenal Families, to learn more about her work. In addition to her day job, Sarah runs an organization assisting young women in need. The story she told me was about a pregnant, 16-year old living in a local group home but whose jurisdiction was in another county. Due any day now, she will be ineligible to stay in the group home when the baby is born. Trying to find an alternative living situation is proving to be difficult!
Michele had a full day starting with the third Nonprofit Finance Fund, Finance Fundamentals webinar with Mission Support grantees. In the afternoon she attended the San Diego Food System Alliance’s Farm Bill Forum. The forum discussed the impact and threats to programs in the Farm Bill including potential changes to nutrition programs like SNAP (aka food stamps), emergency food assistance, senior farmers market nutrition programs, food insecurity, nutrition incentive, and more.
July 27: Mid-afternoon I stopped by 2-1-1 San Diego to meet consultant Jane Sarasohn-Kahn. Jane met staff from 2-1-1 at a recent Health Information Management Systems Society (HIMSS) conference and loved the work they are doing to identify individual’s needs and connect them to the whole array of service providers available to meet those needs through a coordinated care plan. This design is a continuation and expansion of the AHF-funded Community Information Exchange that has grown leaps and bounds!
From there Michele and I, along with Ryan Ginard, Director of Strategic Advancement for San Diego Grantmakers, made up the team “Funders for the Win” for Social Advocates for Youth San Diego (SAY)’s Play4SAY event! Completely decked out for whatever we might encounter, we bravely entered the ladder golf competition. Trying to bribe the judge with money didn’t work, but we beat our competition by one point thanks to five-point winners by Ryan and myself. The competition got tougher as we were faced off with some really tall people—a strategic advantage when playing cornhole! Michele tried to save our team but we lost in the head-to-head match up. Our judge took the bribe, but it didn’t “pay” off. Next we tightened our helmets and forged ahead to the bocce ball competition. I tried to bribe our competition to leave, but they didn’t take it. Being the bowling champion that I was in my youth made little difference; however, we all made strategic contributions that scared the other team and we prevailed as winners in the head to head. That said, we didn’t make it to the winners stand this year, but there’s always next year, and we will be ready!
July 28: Michele joined Natache Mustache, Executive Director of the Multicultural Health Foundation, for breakfast to discuss current programs and next steps for MHF. Their Patient Health Improvement Initiative (PHII) is gaining traction and they are expecting to be expanding into another county and piloting aspects of the project in the Somali community with Somali Family Service of San Diego.
While Michele was meeting with Natache, I was at Mission Edge evaluating applications for their San Diego Accelerator and Impact Lab (SAIL) program. It wasn’t an easy task as there were many excellent ideas brought forward. It’s great to see so many nonprofit organizations exploring their options for social enterprise!
July 31: Have you met the new CEO at San Diego Rescue Mission? I have! I also had a chance to catch up with him this afternoon on the phone. Donnie Dees, has been in San Diego County for over 20 years and knows the community well. He is having a great time learning about the San Diego Rescue Mission and the work they are doing. We should all welcome him to his new role!
Have questions or comments about AHF in the community?
Upcoming Events on the AHF Community Calendar
- August 29, 1pm – 3pm iEngageU Reality Changers – College Apps Academy Launch
- October 4 Mission Support Grant Applications Open
- October 25 iEngageU Hunger Coalition – Hunger-Free Kids