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
Connie was an alcoholic, broke and pregnant. Through the Village's Addiction Treatment Center and job training program, Connie got sober, found a job and is now "building a life worth living".
Father Joe's Villages has helped thousands of people get back on their feet. From infants to seniors, Veterans and the elderly, the issue of homelessness and poverty impacts all demographics. Father Joe's Villages is changing lives by giving hope, dignity, empowerment and most of all compassion that comes in the form of a warm meal, a safe place to sleep and a friendly face. Father Joe's board chair, Mike Schleyhahn is leading the way in solving our city's homeless crises.
The Alexander & Eva Nemeth Foundation provides charitable support to organizations that embody the Nemeth's love of life and commitment to health, animals and community. Christina Jordan is part of the solution for families and animals in need, to improve the quality of life for everyone in our community.
MAAC provides a place where local families in need can find the means to self-sufficiency. Hunger and poverty continue to be crises in our communities and unexpected events can easily push families below the poverty level. For the last four years, Lisette Islas has helped MAAC respond to these challenges by evolving its programs to meet our community's needs.
Providing impactful and fun educational experiences is at the heart of the New Children's Museum. By engaging children through art, play and exploration, the New Children's Museum is nurturing the skills needed for the 21st century: creativity, confidence, problem solving, critical thinking and curiosity about the world.
Beyond presenting world class opera, San Diego Opera is committed to opening as many gateways as possible for our diverse community by offering free performances at trolley stations, family-friendly performances of "Little Red Riding Hood" and residencies in Title 1 schools that encourage and foster empowerment to over 10,000 students each year.
At age 5, Joseph entered foster care and would patiently wait for his mother to visit until one day, Joseph learned that his mom would not be visiting anymore because she was in jail. Before coming to Walden Family Services, Joseph lived in six different group homes. Walden helped Joseph find his forever home and take charge of his life. Joseph completed 3 associate degrees and is now at a four-year college where he is determined to graduate and not follow in his mother's footsteps. Vicki Eddy is co-chairing Wine D'Vine, Walden's signature fundraiser that helps fill the financial gap between State funding and actual program costs of care.
In 2017, California received an "F" in teaching high school students financial literacy by the Center for Financial Literacy. This year, Junior Achievement will prepare 65,000 children for the real world by showing them how to get a job, start a business and manage their money. Junior Achievement Alumnus and Gala co-chair, Brian Cahill, is doing his part to help San Diego be the first city in our state to change their grade from an "F" to an "A".
In 1963, Jackie Kennedy delivered her son Patrick, 5-1/2 weeks prematurely. The medical profession did not have the tools to help the newborn son of the most powerful man in the world but today, treatment of Patrick's condition would be considered routine and survival expected.
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.