December 12, 2016


November 1: Anticipating potential jet lag after several days out of the country, I decided to write down notes about topics I know VERY well. I’m so glad I did because the meeting with Greg Anglea, Executive Director, Interfaith Community Services and Karl Higgins to promote the Recovery & Wellness Center was a high level discussion! We may not have changed the minds of those with whom we met, but we are not deterred.

nov-2November 2: Congratulations to Verna Tabor-Griffin, CEO, Center for Community Solutions (CCS) for a successful Chef’s Band event. I was expecting great food, but had no idea there are many chefs in our community who also play in bands. Great music, along with the always supportive Sam, The Cooking Guy, highlighted the work CCS is doing to break the cycle of domestic violence.

November 3: Funders Together to End Homelessness – San Diego (FTEH-SD) hosted a summit with San Diego Grantmakers on Youth Homelessness. This is an emerging topic of interest and San Diego County is poised to create an effective system to address this issue. Competing definitions make it hard to know the exact number of people affected, but work is happening to better quantify the issue. Many thanks to Amanda Andere, CEO, Funders Together to End Homelessness – National office; Katie Hong, Director, Youth Homelessness, Raikes Foundation, Megan Gibbard, Director, A Way Home America; Jama Shelton, Policy Advisor, The True Colors Fund and Steven Jella‘, Associate Executive Director, San Diego Youth Services, for sharing their insights and expertise.

Following the summit, FTEH-SD and San Diego Grantmakers hosted a funders’ discussion to talk about the ways philanthropy can support our local efforts. In addition, The San Diego Women’s Foundation hosted a reception for their members to discuss future collaborative works. Many thanks to Valerie Jacobs, Board President and Alexis Lasheras, SDWF member for leading their collaborative effort.

November 4Today, Michele had coffee with Kristin Garrett Montgomery, former CEO of CHIP San Diego, to compare notes on the work happening in Imperial County. Kristin is currently the Associate Vice President, Market Leader – San Diego and Imperial Counties at Molina Healthcare. Michele was excited to discuss how Imperial is moving forward with many health initiatives, including the recent CACHI award focused on Asthma Intervention and the establishment of the Local Health Authority Commission (LHAC). The LHAC is a recently established commission formed to address changes in the healthcare system, and to ensure oversight and governance in the Medi-Cal Managed Care systems

November 8: I met with Dan Gibbs at Jewish Family Services to learn more about his work to create social enterprises within JFS. It’s great to see a non-profit organization hire a person to work specifically work on a project. As resources have become tighter, social enterprise can offer an alternative stream of revenue not tied to government or philanthropic funds.

Following an identified need in Imperial County for a young professional nonprofit group, Michele met with Jaci Feinstein, a former lead at YNPN San Diego. Jaci was a wealth of information and helped Michele consider where AHF might be able to further develop leadership in health-focused nonprofits within Imperial County.  

November 9: Today, I continued to learn more about impact investing by attending a workshop at CONNECT focusing on “Understanding Capitalization Tables.” Working with Angel Resource Institute, CONNECT has developed a series of workshops highlighting topics of critical need for start-up companies. As a potential funder, I wanted to learn what these companies need from a venture capitalist perspective to develop a mutually beneficial relationship.

nov-solutions-logoFor lunch, AHF CFO Paul Brown and I met with David Grooms from Solutions Farms to get an update on the progress of their current expansion. It was good to hear that they will be in full production by December 1st! Later this month, I’ll be taking a trip to tour the farm. This is a perfect example of a future social enterprise for Solutions for Change. Congratulations to CEO Chris Megison for the progressive vision and foresight!

November 10: Today, I traveled to Imperial County to attend the Imperial Valley Homeless Task Force meeting led by Orlando Johnson from 2-1-1 Imperial County and Ken Woods from Catholic Charities. I was excited to learn about their progress, which includes the formation of an official Executive Committee on the Board. I also learned that the IV Transportation Department has recently started a bus service for medical appointments within San Diego County! On another note, the Youth Homeless Demonstration Project determined they wouldn’t be ready for this current round of funding for the Housing and Urban Development Dept (HUD), but committed to work on the areas they need to strengthen in order to be prepared for the next round of funding.

Michele was also in Imperial County today to take part in the Imperial County Community Health Assessment and Health Improvement Partnership meeting. It has been several months since she last attended and they have progressed tremendously since her last visit. Click here to review the plans the drafted for the future of CHA-CHIP.

nov-ivfbFollowing that meeting, Michele met with Vanessa Martinez, Executive Assistant at the Imperial Valley Food Bank, who is looking for leadership development opportunities in the valley. Michele and Vanessa discussed the limited availability of young professional groups and brainstormed on the opportunities that might be made available and those who may be interested. If you are a young nonprofit professional in the health sector and are looking for leadership opportunities, please reach out to Michele.

Michele’s last meeting of the day was with Ricardo Ortega and Cindy Alba at Neighborhood House of Calexico. There are many needs to be met in their area, but they are looking to focus on transportation for the nearly 800 seniors in their community.

November 14: I started the morning with a catch-up visit with Jess Yuen. It’s great to have her back in the community working on the Promise Zone for HUD.

That evening, I joined Sara Griffen, Executive Director, Imperial Valley Food Bank for a meeting at a home in Del Mar. Invited guests were ex-pats from Imperial Valley who are still very connected and interested in the needs of the local residents. There are some exciting projects coming up for IV Food Bank, so be on the lookout for updates!

Michele started the same day in San Diego at a San Diego Grantmakers event on early education funding in San Diego. The presenters were Laura Lanzerotti, Partner, San Francisco Office, The Bridgespan Group; Laura Kohn, Executive Director, Education Synergy Alliance; and Rebecca Alvarez, Principal and Co-founder, NP Strategies. Collectively, they shared recent findings and discussed current opportunities for philanthropic investment in early education. This has been identified as a need to facilitate successful education experiences. Although education is not a strategic priority for AHF, the need for early childhood mental health support and services is.

Michele spent the rest of the day in Imperial. She first met with the Founder / Executive Director, Rosa Diaz of the Imperial Valley LGBT Resource Center. They opened their doors a little over a year ago and have had great support from their community. Rosa spoke about the opportunity they have for behavioral services and how they have recently had interns meeting with resource center clients.

Following that meeting, Michele attended the Imperial County Local Health Authority Commission meeting. Many of the commission members are a part of the California Leadership Academy for the Public’s Health (CaLAPH). The support of the academy is increasing the capacity for the CACHI, and creating a focus on engagement efforts for asthma management, including identifying potential partners, shared goals, and mobilizing support to decrease the burden of asthma.

nov-3November 16: There was a lot of philanthropy going on this week, so Michele and I headed out to Imperial County for their National Philanthropy Day celebration. Congratulations to all those who were recognized for their time, their talent and the treasures they share with others in Imperial County.

From there we headed back to San Diego for San Diego National Philanthropy Day at Symphony Hall. Congratulations to all those who were recognized in San Diego County for their giving hearts!

November 18: Today I had the pleasure of speaking at the South County EDC meeting hosted at the Border View Family YMCA. My fellow presenter, Christine Moore, Director of External Affairs at AT&T, and I talked about our foundation giving and how nonprofits can maximize their success for funding.

I followed that meeting with a webinar on Foster Youth and Physical and Mental Health. The webinar was hosted by the John Burton Foundation. The John Burton Foundation is dedicated to improving the quality of life for California’s homeless, foster and former foster youth and developing policy solutions to prevent homelessness. As young people transition from pediatric to adult care, and from foster home to foster home, continuity of care and medical records is of utmost importance. Addressing solutions for this to happen seamlessly is the challenge given the disconnect between many agencies, and HIPPA regulations in the management of patient records.

nov-gcirNovember 21: Today Michele listened online to the Grantmakers Concerned with Immigrants and Refugees (GCIR) webinar to learn about the changes that may lie ahead in light of the recent elections. Marielena Hincapie, Executive Director, National Immigration Law Center; Cristina Jimenez, Executive Director and Co-Founder, United We Dream; Kerri Talbot, Partner, Veng Group; and Shireen Zaman, Security and Rights Collaborative Director, Proteus Fund all shared early analyses of the policy and political landscape. They also discussed what funders can do to support immigrants and refugees, as well as the organizations that serve them. Click here to see a list of recommendations that GCIR has compiled for organizations and community members to learn more.

I met up with Kathie Lembo, CEO, South Bay Community Services to talk about Promise Neighborhoods. Promise Neighborhoods brought about a lot of positive change both internally and externally with partnerships. Entering into their third year, they are starting to see progress towards their “promise.” We also discussed how to effectively and efficiently combine contractual services for the clients already being served.

November 22: My first meeting of the day was in North County with Greg Anglea, CEO, Interfaith Community Services, to review options for the best location for their Recovery and Wellness Center. I’m happy to report we got one step closer to choosing a location!

From there, I headed to Solutions Farms to see the progress they have made with the expansion of their farm. It was really great to see production underway! Their new system reminds me of the system I saw in Iceland. The icing on the cake? I got to taste the fresh organic baby greens! Thank you David Grooms and Kevin Gorham for the tour and update.


Later in the afternoon, I headed south for a social lunch with Peter Mabrey, CEO of CHIP. Sometimes it’s just fun to talk about life outside of work with our professional colleagues, and at our lunch I learned that the secret to Peter’s Thanksgiving turkey is truffle oil! We had an excellent conversation about celebrating our successes – more to come on this!

From there, I met with Tom Clavell, CEO of South Bay Pioneers. South Bay Pioneers, located in Chula Vista, has provided assistance to thousands of men and women seeking recovery from alcoholism and other substance abuse issues. There’s so much going on at this location — beds for those who need them, AA meetings, food preparation and services, as well as housing units! I’m excited to have heard about their organization and happy to share the information about what they do!

November 28: I began this week by meeting with B.H. Kim, Director of Impact Without Borders. They recently finished their second session of Unreasonable Institute. With a growing number of organizations, including non-profit, they are looking forward to 2017. One of their goals for the new year is to provide additional Unreasonable Institute labs and solidify the support services they offer to their participants.

November 29: I traveled to Imperial County for my first Homeless Executive Board meeting! It’s both exciting and encouraging to see the progress made so far, but I know we still have more work to do in order to reach our goals. Thank you to Ken Wood and Martha Ranson, Catholic Charities, as well as Pat Leslie, Point Loma Nazarene University, for their guidance and expertise!


November 30: Each year AHF hosts an end of the year gathering with the CEO/ED’s of our grantee organization and this year we included 3 year alumni! Kudos to Michele Silverthorn and Bryan Fisher, AHF, for finding Eclipse Chocolate. It was the perfect location for our event. Will Gustwiller, Owner of Eclipse Chocolate, taught us about pairing chocolates, cheese, and wine! The highlight of the evening was hearing from all of the CEO/ED’s, many whom had overlapping themes in their work and actually worked in other companies before becoming leaders of their current organizations. It was great day to network and catch up with each other during such a wonderful event.

nancy-michele-ahfHave questions or comments about AHF in the community?

Contact Executive Director Nancy Sasaki or Program Officer Michele Silverthorn to learn more about AHF in the community and how we work to advance health and wellness.

Upcoming Events on the AHF Community Calendar

• December 15: iEngageU Forum, North County Lifeline Community Space – Topic: Mental Health and Recovery. 10:00am – 12:00pm PT. Register Here or watch on Facebook LIVE

• January 13 & 14: USD 13th Annual Nonprofit Governance Symposium “What Can I Do?”

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