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Imperial Valley Wellness Foundation Announces Major Milestones

by Jun 28, 2019News0 comments

Board and Fundraiser Chosen, Charitable Status Approved

El Centro, CA. June 27, 2019. The newly-created Imperial Valley Wellness Foundation (IVWF) today announced the achievement of three significant organizational milestones toward its mission of advancing the health and wellness of vulnerable populations in Imperial County.

The first milestone is the establishment of its founding board of trustees, following legal incorporation, in accordance with IVWF’s bylaws. The board is chaired by Cathy Kennerson, Chief Strategic Officer for El Centro Regional Medical Center. Kennerson is joined on the board by the following prominent Imperial Valley residents:

  • Alex Cardenas, Executive Director, CASA Imperial County
  • Cathy Kennerson, Chief Strategic Officer, El Centro Regional Medical Center
  • Sara Griffen, Executive Director, Imperial Valley Food Bank
  • Jeff Hester, SVP Credit Risk Officer, Rabobank N.A.
  • Helina Hoyt, RN-BS Program Coordinator, School of Nursing, SDSU Imperial Valley
  • Anne Irigoyen, Chief Operating Officer, Ametza, LLC
  • Tim Kelley, President & CEO, Imperial Valley Economic Development Corp
  • Larry Lewis, CEO, Pioneers Memorial Healthcare District
  • Dennis Morita, Attorney, Morita Law
  • Haydee Rodriguez, Teacher, Central High School
  • Sara Sanders, Chief Development Officer, Clinicas de Salud del Pueblo
  • Allen Tyler, Area Executive Vice President, Gallagher Insurance

The new board has been diligently working through the development of the organizational structure and norms required for success. The second milestone is an outcome of that work: achieving legal status as a public charity. IVWF received its IRS determination letter dated June 6, 2019, establishing the organization as a 501(c)3 charitable organization.

The third milestone is the hiring of De Michele & Associates to help implement a national capital campaign to build IVWF’s endowment, following San Diego-based Alliance Healthcare Foundation’s lead $7.5 million challenge grant. Company principal John De Michele has a successful history of designing and implementing capital philanthropic programs. As Chief Development Officer of the San Diego Symphony in 2001, he worked closely with philanthropists Irwin and Joan Jacobs and played a key role in realizing their $120 million endowment gift to the Symphony. Since establishing De Michele & Associates in 2010, he has led capital campaigns in Chicago, Denver and Miami, ranging from $25 million to $50 million.

IVWF began when a group of Imperial Valley civic leaders joined forces with Alliance Healthcare Foundation, nationally recognized for its innovative health and wellness initiatives. In addition to offering the $7.5 million matching grant to endow IVWF, Alliance has invested an additional $300,000 to support IVWF’s start-up operations and initial grantmaking.

“Local problems are often best addressed locally. Alliance’s board has steadily been aligning our money with where our experience and values lead us,” said Alliance Healthcare Foundation Interim Executive Director Elizabeth Dreicer. “In the case of Imperial County, that means making our foundation a little bit smaller so we can shift some of our assets over to a new, independent foundation. We want Imperial County to have its own endowed health and wellness foundation – one governed by local residents and focused solely on addressing local needs.”

“With our legal structure in place, a strong local board, and the assistance of an experienced professional fundraiser, we are now ready to take on the challenge of raising the $17.5 million that will complete Alliance’s funding challenge. A $25 million endowment will allow IVWF to fund important health and wellness programs and activities for our most vulnerable communities in perpetuity,” said IVWF Board Chair Cathy Kennerson.

 

About the Imperial Valley Wellness Foundation
Recognizing a need for more local funding to support promising health initiatives, a group of Imperial Valley civic leaders joined forces to create the Imperial Valley Wellness Foundation (IVWF). IVWF is a tax-exempt public charity under section 501(c)(3) of the IRS code formed to advance the health and wellness of vulnerable populations in Imperial County. The San Diego-based Alliance Healthcare Foundation, nationally recognized for its innovative health and wellness initiatives, has offered a $7.5 million matching grant to endow IVWF and has provided other direct funding to support start-up operations and initial grantmaking. Wholly independent from Alliance Healthcare Foundation and locally governed by its own board of trustees, the new Imperial Valley Wellness Foundation is raising an additional $17.5 million through a national capital campaign to create a $25 million endowment that will fund local programs and activities in perpetuity.

IVWF has identified three crucial areas for action:
Health – Healthy Eating, Active Living

  • Consumption of affordable, accessible, and nutritious foods
  • Engagement in affordable opportunities for physical activity
  • Achieving and maintaining healthy weight levels

Prevention – Linked with High Quality Healthcare

  • Asthma detection, management, and education
  • Prenatal Care – early and adequate
  • Diabetes detection, management, and education

Safety – Communities and Living Environments

  • Improving air quality
  • Drug abuse prevention
  • Linking family members, caregivers, and persons living with dementia across systems of care and support

IVWF Board of Trustees (6/20/2019)

  • Cathy Kennerson, Chair of the Board, Chief Strategic Officer, El Centro Regional Medical Center
  • Anne Irigoyen, Vice Chair, Chief Operating Officer, Ametza, LLC
  • Larry Lewis, Treasurer, CEO, Pioneers Memorial Healthcare District
  • Tim Kelley, Secretary, President & CEO, Imperial Valley Economic Development Corp
  • Alex Cardenas, Executive Director, CASA Imperial County
  • Sara Griffen, Executive Director, Imperial Valley Food Bank
  • Jeff Hester, SVP Credit Risk Officer, Rabobank N.A.
  • Helina Hoyt, RN-BS Program Coordinator, School of Nursing, SDSU Imperial Valley
  • Dennis Morita, Attorney, Morita Law
  • Haydee Rodriguez, Teacher, Central High School
  • Sara Sanders, Chief Development Officer, Clinicas de Salud del Pueblo
  • Allen Tyler, Area Executive Vice President, Gallagher Insurance

Non-Trustee Committee Members

  • Martha Garcia, Development Committee, Superintendent/President, Imperial Valley College
  • Vino Pajanor, Development and Program Committees, Executive Director, Catholic Charities Diocese of San Diego

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