Catholic Community Foundation’s New CEO
Giving Back Magazine recently sat down with the new CEO of The Catholic Community Foundation of San Diego. The Foundation was established in 2015 to assist individuals and organizations in providing lasting financial support to the Catholic religious, educational and charitable organizations of San Diego and Imperial counties in California for generations to come. Donors have the option of establishing a fund from which they can recommend how, when, and where their donated funds are distributed to charitable causes.
GB: What do you feel is the biggest strength of the Catholic Community Foundation of San Diego right now?
The Catholic Community Foundation of San Diego (CCFSD) is in a unique and opportune position within our community to serve individuals, families and organizations through a lens of faith and service. As Catholics, we are called to be good stewards in our communities and we believe that in sharing your time, your talents, and your treasures with one another, we can have a profoundly positive impact.
Thankfully, in San Diego and Imperial Counties there are so many options for philanthropy and avenues for individuals and families to support organizations that are doing such important work in our community. What distinguishes CCFSD is that we approach this from a truly Catholic perspective of faith and gratitude. The four pillars of our organization are support for our Catholic Parishes, Catholic Schools, Vocations, and Social Service agencies.
What also distinguishes us is that the funds that are held by CCFSD are invested in a values-based strategy that aligns with the US Conference of Catholic Bishops. And while we do not only support Catholic organizations, we are proud to support any organization that aligns with the values that we hold so close.
GB: What goal do you have for the Foundation?
First and foremost, my goal is to honor God and the Catholic Faith through service. As a relatively new foundation, right now our focus is on getting our mission and vision out into the community. I hope to share that not only are we a positive outlet for philanthropy, but we can also make a difference.
I am a believer that good work and good sense find each other. In my few months in this position, I have seen that there is a community who is looking for that positive outlet, and I hope that we can be that solution for many.
GB: What was the path you took to get to where you are today?
I have spent my entire career in service to the community. As a student at the University of San Diego many years ago, I saw that there are ways to integrate Faith and Service. I spent some time on the East Coast at Georgetown University and learned nonprofit management in my graduate work. Upon returning to California, I have worked for several nonprofits, foundations, and most recently, spent several years working in service of a local public school system.
GB: What have been the biggest challenges you have had to overcome?
Being a “young” organization, we are still working to establish ourselves. And although we have done very well in the few years of our work, there is so much more that we can do, and I really hope that the community can support our efforts and our vision.
GB: What are your outside interests?
At the end of my workdays, it is all about family for me. As a Mexican American married to a Chaldean American, family is where it starts for us. My wife Heather and my kids Olivia and Lucas are my everything. Besides family, I am a life-long Padres fan and a fan of soccer, basketball, hockey and Formula 1. Sports brings people together and I love that we can find community in it.