I am honored and proud to join the Giving Back Magazine team as the new Philanthropy Editor. I have served on multiple nonprofit boards and chaired numerous fundraisers throughout San Diego. I feel very lucky to live in a city that has so many individuals who choose to give back. Each week, I will feature some of these hometown heroes and the causes that are making a difference in our community.
Lori M Walton
In the spring of 1980, U.S. Customs Agent Tommy Austin told Department of Public Safety Officer Ron Cox about a seven-year-old boy named Chris who was dying of leukemia. The little boy dreamt of being a police officer, so with help from the Arizona DPS, Tommy and Ron made it happen. A DPS helicopter picked Chris up at his hospital and flew him to the headquarters for a tour. At the day's end, Lt. Col. Dick Schaefer gave Chris a "Smokey Bear" hat and one of his own badges, making Chris Arizona's first and only honorary DPS officer.
The San Diego Air & Space Museum has the distinction of being the official air and space museum and education center for California. The Museum is an affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution and was the first aero-themed Museum to be accredited by the American Alliance of Museums. Jim Kidrick's leadership of the San Diego Air & Space Museum has earned him the well-deserved honor of "Most Admired CEO" by San Diego Business Journal.
Funds raised through Starry Starry Night will benefit Voices for Children's Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) program, which provides life-changing advocacy to children in San Diego County's foster care system. CASAs are matched with a foster child or sibling group and work to ensure each child's individual needs are met. CASA volunteers offer stability and consistency during an often scary and confusing time. For over 20 years, the Farrell Family has been helping Voices for Children transform the lives of foster children by providing them with the resources they need to reach their potential.
Last year, San Diego's Ronald McDonald House supported families experiencing a medical crisis by providing overnight stays for more than 1,500 families. Through the Family Care Center, 12,500 additional family members received more than 120,000 free hot meals, access to children's play areas, laundry facilities, a gym, nap rooms and spa-like showers. All of this and more is made possible by tremendous support from our community which includes superstars like Jamie and Joey Straza who are chairing the ROMP Gala.
The Old Globe Theatre "cultivates imagination and empathy, enriching our humanity and connecting us to each other by bringing us entertaining experiences, new ideas, and a wide range of stories told from many perspectives". To help the Old Globe fulfill their mission, longtime supporter Sheryl White is once again co-chairing the Globe's annual Gala.
For over 75 years, the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater San Diego has been inspiring and enabling youth to achieve academic and personal success. Chris Burt started volunteering for the Boys and Girls Clubs of Greater San Diego in 1998 and is chairing their signature fundraising event this year.
The San Diego Police Department's K9 Units work 24 hours a day, seven days a week, throughout our entire city. And thanks to the San Diego Police Foundation and supporters like Barbie and Dan Spinazzola, our K9 Units have been recognized as one of the best teams in the country.
This year is critically important for the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, as it embarks upon a transformational expansion of its flagship La Jolla campus.