November 8, 2016


October 3: As co-chair of the newly combined Integrative Health, Housing and Human Services Advisory Council, I found our first meeting very eye opening. As we discussed our individual work and distinctive points of view, we all realized how our terminology can mean different things depending on your audience. When different divisions merge, an early component is aggregating the newly formed team into a cohesive unit. Alongside my co-chair Nick Macchione, Director of San Diego County Health and Human Services, I can tell you that we both very are excited for what lies ahead for our innovative council.

Later that evening, I joined philanthropists and legal representatives to pay our last respects to Judge Alex McDonald.

October 4: Today, Michele and I spent the day with the Board of Trustees at our annual Advance meeting. We changed the name from retreat to Advance because we are working towards change in the future! Elizabeth Dreicer, Board Chair of AHF, led the group through a series of strategic discussions, including a presentation on Violence and Health by AHF Board Trustee, Dr. Rodney Hood.


October 5: As a member of the Regional Continuum of Care Council (RCCC) Governing Board, I participated with leaders in our community in the first discussion of how to operationalize the merger with the Regional Task Force on the Homeless. Led by Rick Gentry, RCCC chair and CEO of the San Diego Housing Commission, our group is challenged with managing the transition without interrupting the day-to-day operations.

Later that afternoon, I met with Megan Thomas, Director of Collaborative Philanthropy at San Diego Grantmakers, and representatives from the San Diego Women’s Foundation (SDWF). SDWF is currently exploring ways to be more collaborative with others philanthropists in the community.

Also today, the 2017 Mission Support Grant applications opened. Projects from throughout San Diego and Imperial Counties that advance health and wellness for those in need –  the poor, uninsured and underinsured, children and the homeless –  have the opportunity to apply for funding to further their work.

Today, Michele took part in a webinar with the EPA, Environmental Finance Center West, and Imperial County stakeholders to discuss Sustainable Financing Strategies for Imperial County Asthma Work. Many service providers have been working on asthma interventions, including past grantee Comite Civico de Valle. It is encouraging to see programs coming together, along with the CACHI funding, to address the health issues of asthma.

ahf-cariOctober 6: As a part of AHF’s efforts to identify projects that utilize loans, or Program Related Investments (PRI), I talked with Patrik Schmidle about his Clinical Addiction Recovery Institute (C.A.R.I.) project. Most people know AHF for Mission Support, Responsive Grants or our Innovation Initiative, but we do offer PRI’s. If you would like to learn  more about our PRI loans and how they can help your project, please send me an email to!

That same afternoon, I stopped by Angels Foster Family Network and met with Director of Development Suzanne McClain, and Executive Director Jeff Wiemann. In speaking with them, I learned that their efforts have increased the rate of adoption, but at the same time they are challenged with locating more foster families.

October 7: On this day we were all wishing a very Happy Birthday to AHF CFO Paul Brown! We took some time with Paul and all of the people in our office to celebrate his special day!

October 10 – Today, Michele and AHF Board Trustee Rosemarie Johnson attended the San Diego Border Health Collaborative meeting to hear from Dr. Tamu Nolfo, Dr. Dulce Bustamante-Zamora and Danté Q. Allen, all from the California Department of Public Health, Office of Health Equity. They shared their data collecting processes used as planning and organizing tools to ensure that both physical and mental health equity is achieved.


October 12 – The EPA was in town and Andy Carey from Border Philanthropy Partnership (BPP) invited Michele to meet with them to discuss how AHF’s work intersects, and what collaboration might look like in the future. Michele met with Hector Aguirre, Director, Mexico Border Office, US EPA Pacific Southwest Region; Lisa Almodovar, Deputy Office Director, Office of Regional and Bilateral Affairs; and Marta Jordan, EPA North America as part of her visit.

That afternoon, Michele headed up to the Center for Community Solutions (CCS) Open House for the new facility on Juniper in Escondido. Following the unexpected closure of the North County Family Violence Prevention Center in 2015, CCS requested a Responsive Grant to assist in their relocation to continue supporting North County residents. CEO and ED Verna Griffin-Tabor celebrated the new facility with local and county dignitaries, tours of the facility and lunch.


October 17: Michele spent the entire day at A Place at the Table’s APATT16 event hosted by Nate Bernitz from 1 to 1 Movement and San Diego Food Systems Alliance. Michele, along with four other professionals, was challenged to innovate a sustainable food system, including growing and accessing local food, reducing food waste, access to healthy food and food insecurity. Although generating new solutions is always a challenge, they developed an idea to privatize school lunches. I was honored to be asked to be a judge. It was interesting to hear the ideas the 16 groups came up with to address the food system, including growing food, wasting food, and food insecurity.

October 18: I started the day learning more about “impact investing” at a seminar on “Trends in Raising Capital” hosted by Greg McKee, CEO of CONNECT. With AHF’s PRI’s, we are providing the capital, so it was good to view it from the perspective of those who are seeking capital to better understand how we can serve each other’s needs.

Later that day, I dropped in on the discussion with Fostering Futures on, “Charting the Path Forward: Asset Mapping for Transition/Foster Youth, led by Leslye Lyons, head of the San Diego Grantmakers Transition Age Youth Funders working group. It was inspiring  to see so many youth in the room lending their voices to the discussion about what’s working, and where there are gaps. I heard a lot about including their voice in all of the conversations, in addressing transportation issues, and in involving the community clinics in their care.

PrintOctober 19: I was excited to join the annual meeting of Interfaith Community Services to help launch the community conversation about the Recovery and Wellness Center (RWC). The RWC is the 2016 Innovation Initiative project that aims to address the gap in services for the homeless. With most services, those who want help but are still addicted need to be sober for three days before they can be eligible for services. The RWC will help them get sober, detox and assist them on their path to recovery, and ultimately contributing towards ending their homelessness.

With Mission Support grants open, Michele has been talking to a lot of representatives from various organizations about the work they are currently doing and how they may align with AHF.  This afternoon she met with Pat Leslie, Charisma de Los Reyes, and Kim Berry Jones of the Center for Justice and Reconciliation at Point Loma Nazarene to discuss their work on human trafficking.

From there, I welcomed attendees and presenters to the 2nd Deal Flow session hosted by the San Diego Impact Investors Network. This session included four presenters focused on Health and Wellness, including Aira, Kitchens for Good, Archi’s Acres and Spiral Therapy, all showcasing their projects to a group of interested investors. Michele was in attendance, as well. Our panelists provided critical feedback from Elizabeth Dreicer, Alliance Healthcare Foundation Board Chair, B.H. Kim, CEO & Co-Founder from Impact Without Borders and Dan Gibbs, Director of Business Development, Jewish Family Service.

October 20: Following more phone calls on Mission Support, Michele had coffee with Hala Madanat, Director of Graduate School of Public Health at San Diego State University. Although the school is focused on research, they are also working with the students in the community, training and working to connect promotoras and patient navigators to improve community health. One unique project is inserting the patient navigators into outreach activities for cancer screening  and treatment.  

ahf-elderhelp2Later this afternoon, Michele attended an Open House celebration for ElderHelp at the 211 Connections Center. CEO/Executive Director Deb Martin shared successes of ElderHelp and their much needed role in the community. Assembly member Toni Atkins shared updated statistics on those they serve. Incredibly, 20 percent of the senior population in California lives on less than $16,000 per year!

October 26: Michele attended one of the many Reality Changers stakeholder meetings hosted by Executive Director Chris Yanov. Over a couple of weeks Chris met with community members from all industries that support the work of Reality Changers to provide feedback on current opportunities and strategies they have on deck.  

In the afternoon, Michele took part in Session 3 of the GEO Golden State Learning Series focused on Strengthening Relationships and the concept of Trust Based Philanthropy. Similar to AHF’s Mission Support Grants, part of this concept is allowing the grantee to guide how funding is used. It is always encouraging to see that AHF is following best practices in philanthropy.

October 28: Today, Michele had coffee with Barbara Hamilton of Eco-Stream Sustainability. Barbara has worked in the past with Palomar Health, Healthcare without Harm, and as part of the Nutrition in Healthcare Leadership Team on issues of healthcare and sustainability. Michele and Barbara exchanged their views on our healthcare system and how food truly is medicine (the top ten indicators of disease are diet related) and how we can shift to a health mission driven healthcare system.  

Have questions or comments about AHF in the community?

nancy-michele-ahfContact 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

• Nov 10: Imperial Valley Homeless Task Force; 8:30am -10:00am; 250 W. Orange Ave., El Centro, CA
• Nov 16: Imperial County National Philanthropy Day; 11:00am – 1:00; 796 Evan Hewes Hwy, El Centro
• Nov 16: San Diego National Philanthropy Day; 4:30pm – 7:00pm; 750 B. St.
• Nov. 30: Insure the Uninsured Project, Regional Workgroup; 12:00pm – 2:00pm AHF Office
• Dec 15: iEngageU Forum, North County Lifeline Townsite Sage Room– Topic: Mental Health, 10:00am – 12:00pm

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