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Our Team

StaffThe San Diego Foundation’s staff is made up of a group of skilled, experienced professionals dedicated to the organization’s mission. Led by Kathlyn Mead, The Foundation's President & CEO, the staff works tirelessly to provide quality support in philanthropic giving, and increase the amount and impact of grantmaking in the community.

The Foundation's team members can be contacted by calling:

Main Office: 619-235-2300
North County Coastal Office: 760-929-2800
North County Inland Office: 619-764-8602

 
B. Kathlyn Mead, President & CEO
Bob Kelly, President Emeritus

Leslie Levinson, Chief Financial Officer & Strategic Planning, Vice President Finance/Administration
Matt Fettig, Vice President & Chief Investment Officer
Daniel Brown, Controller
Michelle Caparas, Information Technology (IT) Manager
Esmeralda Cuevas-Anderson, Grants Administrator
Otto R. Delacruz, Facility Manager
Maria Houchin, Staff Accountant
Perla Montoya, Accounting Associate
Jerry RayAssociate Vice President, Finance
Nuria Shariffi, Receptionist
Alex Tiscareno, Database Manager
Joshua R. Yu, Staff Accountant
Jaroslav Zeman, Finance & Administration Analyst

Anne Kilpatrick, Associate Vice President, Human Resources
Joanna Barraco, Coordinator, Human Resources

Adrienne Vargas, Chief Giving Officer
Keely A. Bamberg, Associate Vice President, Donor Experience & Engagement
Karen Begin, Associate Vice President, Charitable Giving
Kari Breitweiser, Director, Charitable Giving
Wyn A. Furman, Manager, Community Research
Ryan Ginard, Manager, Charitable Giving
Leslie Harrington, Director, Donor Experience & Engagement
Pearl Hoeglund, Manager, Donor Experience & Engagement
Leslie S. Klein,CFP®, Associate Vice President, Charitable Giving
Caitlin Knotek, Administrative Coordinator, Donor Experience & Engagement
Audrey Lewis, Coordinator, Charitable Giving and Donor Experience & Engagement
Kelli O'Merry, Administrative Coordinator, Community Scholarships
Lindsay Sloan, Director, Community Scholarships & San Diego Teachers' Fund
Debra Sorey, Coordinator, Charitable Giving
Bridget StricklandManager, Mitigation Funds
Danielle Valenciano, Director, Nonprofit Resources
Meryl Zwanger, Manager, Community Scholarships & San Diego Teachers’ Fund

Emily Young, Ph.D., Interim Vice President, San Diego Center for Civic Engagement
Ruth Ambriz, Administrative Assistant
Kerri Favela, Community Grants Manager
Kim Fields, Senior Department Administrator
Emily Guevara, Manager, Research & Analysis
Nicola Hedge, MPIA, Director, Climate Initiative
Vi Nguyen, Manager, Vibrant & Thriving Neighborhoods
Marisa Quiroz, Director, Opening the Outdoors Initiative
Felicia Shaw, Director, Arts & Culture Analysis & Strategy

Theresa Nakata, Vice President, External Relations & Marketing Officer

Heather Back, Associate Vice President, Marketing & Communications
Catrina Dulay, Graphic/Production Artist
Nikki Kolupailo, Manager, Marketing & Social Media
 
Trudy Armstrong, Associate Vice President, Regional Outreach
Brittany Bailey, Administrative Coordinator, Regional Outreach
Julie Bronstein, Executive Director, La Jolla Community Foundation
Cassie Edmonds, Program Associate, Regional Outreach
Zaneta Salde Encarnacion, Director, Regional Outreach
An Lu, Manager, Regional Outreach
 
Tracy Johnson, Executive Director, San Diego Women’s Foundation
Mara Holiday, Program Associate, San Diego Women’s Foundation
 

Executive Department

The Executive Department works closely with the Board of Governors, Executive Committee, and Board Governance Committee to ensure that The Foundation's assets, funds, and community involvement are managed effectively.
 
Bob Kelly

B. Kathlyn Mead, President & CEO
President and CEO of The San Diego Foundation, Kathlyn Mead has been actively involved in community throughout her career. Charles R. Drew University recognized her commitment to community service by awarding her their 2011 Medal of Honor. Mead was named a 2008 Woman of Distinction by the University of Southern California, received San Diego’s 2004 KGTV-10 News Organizational Leadership Award, and is also a 2003 recipient of the YWCA of San Diego TWIN Award. Prior to joining the San Diego Foundation, Mead was EVP and COO of The California Endowment. Responsible for business operations, social finance/impact investments, and strategic corporate partnerships, Mead provided leadership and management for the $3B health foundation.

An established leader within diverse health related sectors, Mead also previously served as President and CEO, San Diego Council of Community Clinics. As Vice President, CalPERS Sector for Blue Shield of California, she developed cost effective, quality health care networks and products for California’s largest purchaser of health benefits. Mead was President and CEO for Sharp Health Plan, a health maintenance organization affiliated with the Sharp HealthCare integrated delivery system. While at Sharp, Mead developed and implemented the award winning public/private, 3-share insurance product (FOCUS) especially designed to offer access to affordable, quality health coverage for small business employees. Mead was Vice President, Managed Care, at Children’s Hospital San Diego, and held management positions with MetLife Healthcare Network of Colorado and Blue Cross of California.

Mead serves on the Board of Trustees for the Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science, the Alliance Healthcare Foundation, and the 22nd District Agricultural Association/Del Mar Fairgrounds. She previously served on the Boards of HealthCorps, The Kitchen Community, the California Association of Health Plans, the Consumer Center for Health, Education, and Advocacy, Community Health Improvement Partners, the Business Healthcare Connection, the San Diego Urban League, and the Insure the Uninsured Project (ITUP).

Mead earned an MBA from the University of Southern California and attended Regis University in Denver, Colorado. She has two daughters and a son, and her husband is a Professor of Psychiatry and neuroscientist at University of California San Diego.

Bob Kelly

Bob Kelly, President Emeritus
For more than 19 years, Bob has overseen all activities, programs and asset management within The San Diego Foundation. Under his leadership, the organization has grown into a regional community foundation that has achieved significant accomplishments that have greatly benefitted San Diego. A longtime San Diegan, Bob built his career in philanthropy over several decades. Prior to joining The Foundation, Bob served as the Executive Director of the American Cancer Society in San Diego and Vice President of Southern California. He also spent significant time with Sharp Health Care, where he served as Assistant to the President and Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer for Sharp Health Care Foundation. Bob also worked as Senior Vice President for CCP and Associates – a comprehensive cancer center consulting firm.

Bob’s community service activities include time spent as a board member of the San Diego Symphony Foundation, the San Diego Real Estate Foundation, Beauchamp Charities, Sharp Healthcare, the Children’s Initiative, and League of California Community Foundations. He’s a past President of the UCSD Alumni Association, past Board Chair of Youth for Progress, and past Board Chair of San Diego Grantmakers. He’s also served on the boards of the San Diego Chamber Foundation, the San Diego Chamber of Commerce, the Elsinore Cattle Co. and the International Community Foundation. He is a member of the Downtown Rotary and a graduate of UC San Diego.

 

Administration and Finance Department

The Administration and Finance Department is responsible for financial reporting, tracking charitable gifts, managing the operational budget, and processing all grants. The department also manages all the administrative functions of The San Diego Foundation and ensures that The Foundation is supplied with sophisticated information technologies.
 
Leslie Levinson

Leslie Levinson, Chief Financial Officer & Strategic Planning, Vice President Finance/Administration
As the Chief Financial Officer, Leslie provides oversight of all financial, administrative and information technology operations of The San Diego Foundation. She also serves as organizational ambassador and liaison to external constituencies on finance-related issues. Prior to joining The San Diego Foundation, Leslie served as the Executive Vice President, Chief Operating Officer and Chief Financial Officer of Pierce Education Properties, L.P. overseeing all aspects of company. Prior to this, Leslie was the CFO for nine years at the San Diego State University (SDSU) Research Foundation, the California State University system’s largest auxiliary organization; a self-financed, nonprofit, auxiliary organization to further the educational, research, and community service missions of SDSU. Leslie has also served as the CFO and Senior Vice President at Flagship Bank FSB, as well as at the bank’s holding company and four real estate subsidiaries. Leslie is a member and president of the California Ballet Association Board of Directors and its Executive Committee; is a member of the Board of Directors and Audit Committee for Walden Family Services; and sits on the Chancellor’s Community Advisory Board for UCSD. She holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration and accounting from San Diego State University, and is a certified public accountant (CPA).

Matt Fettig Matt Fettig,Vice President & Chief Investment Officer
As Chief Investment Officer, Matt oversees and manages the investment strategies and activities of The San Diego Foundation. This includes working with the Investment Committee of the Board of Governors, senior staff, auditors, professional volunteers, and outside consultants to establish, maintain, administer, and monitor policies related to The Foundation’s investments. Additionally, he serves as the organization’s ambassador for all investment-related activity. Prior to joining The Foundation, Matt worked for the last twelve years at Canterbury Consulting, an Orange County investment consulting firm, specializing in endowments, foundations, pensions, and family offices. Matt served as a Senior Research Analyst before becoming the firm’s Director of Manager Research in 2009. As a Partner of the firm, he oversaw $13 billion in invested capital, constructed investment portfolios, and established policy and asset allocation guidelines. A graduate of the University of California, Berkeley, with a bachelor’s degree in Economics, Matt is a CFA Charterholder.
Daniel Brown Daniel Brown, Controller
Daniel oversees the general ledger, monthly financial statement preparation and analyzes The Foundation's financial transactions including: the grants administration process, contribution processing of cash, stock, property and in-kind gifts, and accounts payable. He also manages external relationships with auditors, tax specialists, banking and supporting organizations. Prior to his time at The Foundation, Daniel was the Director of Finance at Vericare and Audit Senior at Moss Adams. Other experience includes accounting positions with Deloitte & Touche in Sacramento and ING Investment and KPMG in Sydney, Australia. Daniel earned a bachelor’s degree in Accounting/Finance/Marketing, and holds the professional qualification of Chartered Accountant, the internationally recognized equivalent of the Certified Public Accountant in the United States.
Michelle Caparas

Michelle Caparas, Information Technology (IT) Manager
Michelle is responsible for managing The Foundation's database system, as well as oversight of a wide variety of information technology within the organization. Prior to joining The Foundation, Michelle worked as a program associate for Eureka Communities. Michelle graduated from UCSD with a bachelor’s degree in Management Science and received her master’s degree from San Diego State University.

Esmeralda Cuevas

Esmeralda Cuevas-Anderson, Grants Administrator
Esmeralda manages the donor-advised grants process by receiving, reviewing and processing payment for all donor-advised grants at The San Diego Foundation. With this responsibility she also provides support services to the Finance department to ensure all needs are met through outstanding customer service, as well as she works with the Donor Experience and Engagement team to coordinate communication and follow-up with donors. Esmeralda began at The Foundation in 2011, providing support to the Donor Experience and Engagement team during the organization’s database conversion and to the Scholarships team during the 2012 application season. In April 2012, she became the administrative coordinator for Donor Experience and Engagement and held that role until her transition to Grants Administrator in May 2013.

Otto DeLacruz

Otto R. Delacruz, Facility Manager
Otto Delacruz manages the operation of The Foundation's 36,000 square foot facility, building security, tenant leasing, and supervises the building's receptionist area. He also manages the facility's conference rooms, coordinating and scheduling meetings for multiple nonprofit organizations throughout the area. Prior to joining The Foundation, Otto retired from the armed forces as a U.S. Navy Chief with 20 years of air traffic control experience.

Maria Houchin

Maria Houchin, Staff Accountant
Maria joined The San Diego Foundation as staff accountant in 2008. In her role, she performs such functions as monitoring bank transactions, processing donations, reconciling accounts and grants, and overseeing finance vendors. Prior to her tenure at The Foundation, she spent many years as a controller in retail and wholesale accounting. She is a graduate of the University of Colorado at Denver.

Perla Montoya

Perla MontoyaAccounting Associate
Perla joined The Foundation as an Accounting Associate in 2012 and became an immediate asset to the accounting department. In addition to handling all of the accounts payable duties of the organization, Perla assists the Accounting Manager and CFO directly with special projects as needed. Prior to joining The Foundation Perla worked as a bookkeeper for a small construction company while finishing her college work. Perla graduated from San Diego State University with a bachelor’s degree in accounting.

Jerry Ray

Jerry RayAssociate Vice President, Finance
As Associate Vice President of Finance at The Foundation, Jerry supports the key finance and investment functions, audit, compliance, policy, best practices, reporting, and special projects, bringing more than 30 years of finance experience serving large nonprofit organizations both as an executive and consultant, leading and managing financial strength and stability. Most recently, he has served as chief financial officer at the Rock Church and Academy, and worked in finance leadership roles at two international development NGOs serving vulnerable populations in third-world locations, the Hall of Champions sports museum in Balboa Park, and previously at The San Diego Foundation. Jerry’s passion is making a meaningful and lasting impact in the lives of others.

Christina Navarro

Christina Rodriguez, Bookkeeper
In her role at The Foundation, Christina provides a number of functions, including processing cash, check and credit card donations, monthly reconciliations of the Charitable Real Estate Foundation financials, backup to Accounts Payable, and working with financial institutions to verify check clearance. She has spent her more than ten year career at The Foundation. Prior to joining staff, she interned at The Chicano Federation and Girl Scouts of America.

Nuria_Shariffi

Nuria Shariffi, Receptionist
Nuria is the first person to encounter our donors and stakeholders as they contact or visit The San Diego Foundation. Her positive attitude and willingness to provide vast information is critical to The Foundation. In her role, she must possess a breadth of knowledge of all efforts and initiatives. Prior to joining The Foundation, she spent six years at The San Diego Union-Tribune as the human resources receptionist where her role expanded to include providing support to the security and telecommunications departments, as well as reception for the main entrance. Prior to that she spent six years at the Hotel del Coronado as a human resources assistant where she earned several awards for consistently providing outstanding customer service, and six years at the Chesapeake Fish Company as an administrative assistant and receptionist.

Alex Tiscareno

Alex Tiscareno, Database Manager
Alex plays a key role in managing The Foundation's database system as he works to maximize the effectiveness of the database tools and services while maintaining the integrity, security and processing of data. Alex joined The Foundation in May of 2012 to provide assistance with the database transition, and quickly gained a thorough understanding of the interconnectivity between the multiple systems. He carries a high level of professionalism, excellent customer service, problem-solving and can-do attitude. His career has been in marketing, sales, and operations in a number of industries, after graduating summa cum laude with a bachelor of arts degree in symphonic music composition, and a minor in English, from California State University Northridge.

Joshua Yu

Joshua R. Yu, Staff Accountant
Joshua is responsible for the fixed assets and the account reconciliation of The Foundation’s finances. He also maintains the finances for the Charitable Real Estate Foundation and San Diego Regional Disaster Fund, as well as, a variety of other accounting functions. He brings 10 years of experience to the organization, and holds a graduate degree in Financial Management.

Jaroslav Zeman

Jaroslav Zeman, Finance & Administration Analyst
Jaroslav supports the Finance and Administration department by researching, compiling and preparing financial and accounting data. In addition Jaroslav executes budgetary, organization and operational services along with leading Special Projects as assigned by CFO. Jaroslav works closely with CFO in the analysis of the allocation of resources and estimation of The Foundation’s future needs. Prior to arriving at The Foundation, Jaroslav worked as an Account Executive at a multinational branding and advertising agency in the Czech Republic. Jaroslav graduated with honors from State University of New York with a bachelor’s degree in Communication and Mass Media and received his master’s degree in Professional and Business Communication from La Salle University.

Human Resources Department

 
Anne Kilpatrick

Anne Kilpatrick, SPHR-CA – Associate Vice President, Human Resources
Anne brings twenty years of nonprofit management experience to The Foundation providing guidance on recruitment, employee engagement and relations, performance management, best practice and policy development, and support to the Compensation and Benefits Committee. Previously, she worked at nonprofit organizations in Minneapolis and St. Paul, Minnesota with missions that included health care policy advocacy and ombudsman services to vulnerable adults, and development of affordable housing with services throughout the Midwest. Anne received a bachelor’s degree in Journalism/Public Relations from the University of St. Thomas; completed a mini-MBA for nonprofit organizations and a human resources certificate program; and earned the Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR) and the California-specific (SPHR-CA) certifications. She is a member of the Society of Human Resource Management and the San Diego chapter, and the San Diego Human Resources Roundtable.

Joanna Barraco

Joanna Barraco, Coordinator, Human Resources
Joanna supports the continuous improvement in the delivery of effective human resource services to highly professional staff in a complex organization. Joanna brings six years of experience in contracts and human resources administration while at San Diego based Cobham Composite Products. She is a native San Diegan, and member of the San Diego chapter of the Society for Human Resource Management. Joanna holds a bachelor’s degree Education with a minor in Human Resources from the University of Arkansas.

San Diego Center for Charitable Giving

The Charitable Giving and Donor Experience & Engagement teams provide a range of services to potential and current donors, as well as professional advisors, to assist them in achieving their philanthropic goals. The team has a wide range and depth of knowledge in relation to charitable giving and the San Diego community. Together, these staff member serve as a comprehensive technical resource for specific giving strategies to reach their giving and community impact goals.
Adrienne Vargas

Adrienne Vargas, Chief Giving Officer
Adrienne is responsible for the oversight and coordination of programs and services to support the growth of The Foundation’s asset base. She works closely with charitably-minded individuals and estate planning professionals to establish endowments, legacy funds and planned gifts at The Foundation. Since joining The Foundation in 1997, Adrienne has worked in a variety of capacities, including VP of Fund Services, as well as in the areas of board and volunteer relations, human resources, grantmaking and marketing & communications. Prior to joining The Foundation, Adrienne worked for six years as a development officer for Grossmont Hospital Foundation. She also served as a staff assistant for the Harvard College Fund and as an eighth grade teacher at a parochial school in the Bronx. Adrienne graduated from Fordham University in New York City with a bachelor’s degree in Political Science. 

Keely A. Bamberg

Keely A. Bamberg, Associate Vice President, Donor Experience & Engagement
As Associate Vice President, Keely plays a key role in ensuring donors and fund advisors have the support and resources they need to distribute grants that meet their goals and passions. Prior to joining The San Diego Foundation staff, Keely spent two years providing strategic planning services to nonprofit organizations in Phoenix. Before that, Keely spent seven years as a director for San Diego State University’s Entrepreneurial Management Center. She earned her bachelor’s degree in International Political Economy from the University of California, Berkeley, and her master’s degree, with an emphasis in Marketing, from San Diego State University.

Karen Begin, Associate Vice President, Charitable Giving
As Associate Vice President of Charitable Giving, Karen oversees focused fundraising strategies for the Malin Burnham Center for Civic Engagement, works with the Charitable Giving Team to develop new relationships, and is the point person for The Foundation’s planned giving services. Karen joined The Foundation as its first Development Director in 2009. In this role, Karen helped instill a culture of strategic fundraising and worked cross-departmentally with Charitable Giving, Donor Experience & Engagement and Community Partnerships to increase contributions to the Environment and Arts & Culture programs. Prior to The Foundation, Karen spent five years as the Development Director for North Coast Repertory Theatre and before that worked for Starwood Hotels & Resorts, primarily with W Hotels in Chicago and San Diego. Karen earned her bachelor’s degree in Fine Arts from Wright State University in Dayton, Ohio.

Kari Breitweiser

Kari Breitweiser, Director, Charitable Giving
Kari’s main focus at The San Diego Foundation is to continue our commitment of building and maintaining relationships with the professional advisor community and charitably-minded individuals. Kari is active in developing working relationships with professional advisors, and providing presentations to target markets including law firms, trust and estates groups, professional associations, service organizations and other community groups. Kari had a leadership role in this arena at The San Diego Foundation in the early 2000’s. Prior to that she was a Financial Advisor at Merrill Lynch primarily working on investment and financial planning. Kari is a graduate from the University of the Pacific and holds a bachelor’s and master’s degree in Business Administration.

Wyn A. Furman

Wyn A. Furman, Manager, Community Research
Wyn conducts research on behalf of fund advisors to deepen their understanding of the regional nonprofit community, increase donor engagement, and inform charitable giving. She joined The Foundation in 2010 to oversee all administrative aspects for Our Greater San Diego Vision. Prior to her time at The Foundation, Wyn gained administrative experience by supporting executives, managers, and attorneys of fast-paced legal, nonprofit, and consulting organizations. She received her bachelor’s degree in European History and French Studies from the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia.

Ryan Ginard, Manager, Charitable Giving
Ryan’s primary focus is to build capacity for the Malin Burnham San Diego Center for Civic Engagement through the Civic Leadership Fund. He is also responsible for supporting the development and implementation of the Legacy League, Nonprofit Planned Giving Partnership program and assisting with estate administration. Spending five years as a Policy and Media Advisor for an elected official in Australia before coming to the United States to advance his career, Ryan worked first hand with community groups and business on issue-based campaigns and also helped establish a new community foundation – the Western Corridor Community Fund – which provides one-off grants to community groups and organizations to support innovative projects that enhance people’s access to community. Some of his more recent work in San Diego includes that of a Field Organizer for a successful congressional campaign and researching and reporting on local issues for the San Diego Uptown News. Ryan earned a bachelor’s degree in Business Management and Advertising from Queensland University of Technology in Brisbane.

Leslie Harrington

Leslie Harrington, Director, Donor Experience & Engagement
Leslie actively participates in the design and implementation of department strategies, tactics and plans to engage fund advisors in charitable giving. Her primary responsibility is to develop relationships and provide service to fund advisors. Leslie also interacts frequently with a wide range of nonprofit organizations to enable her deeper understanding of community needs. She joined the Foundation in 1998 as grants administrator. Prior to joining The Foundation, Leslie received her real estate license and worked in real estate sales. Leslie graduated from San Diego State University with a bachelor’s degree in Economics.

Pearl Hoeglund

Pearl Hoeglund, Manager, Donor Experience & Engagement
Pearl actively participates in the implementation of donor relations strategies, tactics, and plans to engage fund advisors in charitable giving. She supports high level donor fund administration, stewardship and grant administration activities that advance the mission of the Center for Charitable Giving at The San Diego Foundation. Her primary responsibility is to develop relationships and provide outstanding donor service to fund advisors. Most recently, Pearl provided operational and administrative support to the Vice President/Executive Director of the Malin Burnham San Diego Center for Civic Engagement, also at The San Diego Foundation. Previously, Pearl worked as grants associate at the Commonweal Foundation in the Washington D.C. area, a private foundation that operates and supports educational programs and projects assisting underserved children and youth. Pearl earned her bachelor’s degree in Spanish, and a minor in Anthropology from Smith College in Northampton, Massachusetts, after which time she taught Business English in Spain and Germany.

Leslie S. Klein, CFP®, Associate Vice President, Charitable Giving
Leslie is responsible for working with charitably-minded individuals to establish new endowments, legacy funds and planned gifts at The Foundation. She oversees the development and implementation of a comprehensive planned giving strategy, and manages The Foundation’s estate administration. Leslie brings to The Foundation more than 30 years of experience in the fiduciary and investment management marketplace. For the past 12 years she served as Vice President/Wealth Management Advisor at First American Trust. Prior to that, she worked at First National Bank, Wells Fargo Bank, Bank of California, HomeFed Trust, and as a planned giving officer at Sharp Healthcare Foundation. Leslie graduated from Miami University, Oxford, Ohio with a bachelor’s degree in business administration. She is the current President of the Estate Planning Council of San Diego and Board Chair of the Financial Planning Association of San Diego.

Caitlin Knotek, Administrative Coordinator, Donor Experience & Engagement
Caitlin provides customer service to new and existing donors and fund advisors in addition to serving as the Donor Experience and Engagement team’s liaison for maintaining an accurate database. Prior to joining The Foundation, Caitlin worked at the Diaper Bank of Southern Arizona (a nonprofit organization) and in the fundraising and marketing office at the Department of Surgery, College of Medicine at the University of Arizona. She also served as an intern with Arizona Public Media KUAT. Caitlin holds a bachelor of arts degree in Communications from the University of Arizona.

Audrey Lewis

Audrey Lewis, Coordinator, Charitable Giving and Donor Experience & Engagement
Audrey provides support to key grantmaking and donor relations functions, and assists with planned giving activities. She also provides coordination for the La Jolla Community Foundation. Audrey joined The San Diego Foundation in May of 2012 to help facilitate the Blackbaud database transition. With a bachelor of arts degree in psychology from Capital University and a master of arts degree in higher education from Ohio State University, Audrey also brings a strong background in academic program administration and experience in residential real estate to her role at The Foundation.

Kelly OMerry

Kelli O'Merry, Administrative Coordinator, Community Scholarships
Kelli supports the Scholarship department by providing customer service assistance to both students and parents during the application process, and managing  scholarship payments on behalf of students, as well as scheduling and preparing events and meetings. Kelli is a native San Diegan. She previously worked at the United States Geological Survey, providing administrative support to their San Diego Project office. She graduated with her bachelor's degree in Psychology from California State University, San Marcos and has a strong interest in providing help and assistance to students in need. 

Lindsay Sloan

Lindsay Sloan, Director, Community Scholarships & San Diego Teachers' Fund
As Director of Community Scholarships and San Diego Teachers' Fund, Lindsay oversees the overall vision, planning, timeline, and management of these programs. She primarily works to develop and implement strategic direction and new fund development, as well as manage the development of the online scholarship application. Prior to her start at The Foundation in 2012 as Manager of Philanthropy 101, Lindsay spent nine years at Teach for America, working in recruitment and operations. Lindsay has volunteered for a crisis hotline at a women’s shelter, and provided breast cancer awareness women of low-income brackets. She earned a bachelor of arts degree in Communication with a minor in Business from Tulane University in New Orleans.

Debra Sorey

Debra Sorey, Coordinator, Charitable Giving
For the last five years, Debra has worked at the Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix, Arizona, gaining invaluable experience interacting with donors, members and volunteers. Additionally, her most recent position as Development Operations Manager included ensuring Raiser’s Edge data accuracy, integrity and security of constituent records, developing queries and conducting quality analysis. Also, she developed mailing lists, processed gifts and member and donor acknowledgements, and trained staff in database operations, and entry and coding standards. She is excited to return to San Diego, where she lived while serving in the United States Navy. Debra earned an associate’s degree from William Rainey Harper College in Palatine, Illinois, and was a member of the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society.

Bridget_Strickland

Bridget Strickland, Manager, Mitigation Funds
Bridget is responsible for the development and administration of mitigation endowments and non-endowments. Mitigation funds are a specialized type of fund that preserve land to offset the environmental effects of new development. Bridget first joined The Foundation in July of 2011 as the Program Associate for the San Diego Women’s Foundation, where she excelled in guiding and supporting the mission of the SDWF. She brings more than eleven years of fundraising and marketing experience within various nonprofits where she has managed annual donor and membership campaigns, conducted group sales and honed skills in both web and graphic design. She also has experience managing fundraising events, grant writing, working with boards and cultivating donors. Bridget earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of California, San Diego.

Danielle_Valenciano

Danielle Valenciano, Director, Nonprofit Resources
In her role as Director of Nonprofit Resources, Danielle provides regional nonprofit organizations with services and tools to help increase their sustainability. She serves as donor manager for more than 300 nonprofit funds at The Foundation, and supports strategic endowment building and planned giving efforts. With more than 12 years of experience in the nonprofit sector, Danielle also designs capacity-building convenings and workshops to address specific nonprofit needs. She oversees programs that include the Fund Raising School (offered through Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy) and BetterGiving, a free online directory of hundreds of local nonprofits. Prior to joining The Foundation, Danielle worked at the Muscular Dystrophy Association, where she managed a healthcare services program for more than 1,000 patient families. Danielle earned her master's degree in cultural anthropology from the University of California, San Diego.

Meryl Zwanger

Meryl Zwanger, Manager, Community Scholarships & San Diego Teachers’ Fund
Meryl provides high level support to the Community Scholarships and San Diego Teachers' Fund team in developing, administering and overseeing the Scholarships Program and Teachers' Fund by efficiently managing the operations of the overall process, timeline and systems of both programs. Meryl joined The Foundation in 2011 working in the Arts & Culture Program where she coordinated Rising Arts Leaders events and supervised strategic planning, as well as she worked to evaluate the impact of the Creative Catalyst Program and facilitated convenings and other program components. Previous work experience includes research specialist at the University of Pittsburgh Center for Learning in Out of School Environments and education coordinator at The Drawing Center in New York City. Meryl graduated with honors from the University of Chicago with a bachelor’s degree in Art History, earned a master's degree in Art History and Archaeology from Columbia University, and a A.B.D. (Terminal) in Art Education from the New York University.

 

Center for Civic Engagement

Emily Young

Emily Young, Ph.D, Interim Vice President, San Diego Center for Civic Engagement
Emily works with community volunteers, donors and other foundations to direct charitable giving to the region’s critical environmental needs. Her work at The Foundation is focused in three areas: conservation of globally significant, biodiversity hotspots in Southern California, community-based efforts to eliminate toxic substances which revitalize green spaces, and regional efforts to address climate change through mitigation and adaptation. Before she joined The Foundation, Dr. Young was an assistant professor at the University of Arizona, where she taught courses on environment and society, geography, and Latin America. She also lived and worked in Baja California, Mexico, where she conducted field research on wildlife protection, community-based conservation, and sustainable development in coastal areas of Baja California. Along with professional work, Emily has volunteered and served on boards for a variety of environmental organizations and advisory committees. Dr. Young was recently awarded the 2011 Nicholas P. Bollman Award, which recognizes Smart Growth Leaders Who Inspire through Values and Actions.

Ruth Ambriz

Ruth Ambriz, Administrative Assistant
With over a decade of experience on staff at The Foundation, Ruth has served in a number of capacities, including support for the Finance and Scholarships departments. She currently assists the Center for Civic Engagement by providing administrative assistance to include research, data entry, mailing and electronic filing. She also coordinates the collection and dissemination of reports from the grantees. Prior to joining The Foundation, Ruth spent time working for retail companies.

Kerri Favela

Kerri Favela, Manager, Community Grants
Kerri is a long-time Foundation employee. She is currently responsible for administering The Foundation’s discretionary grantmaking programs and providing grant support to the affiliate foundations and supporting organizations. Additionally, Kerri provides assistance to the Vice President, and the Science & Technology program. Before joining The Foundation, Kerri spent several years as an Office Manager at a manufacturing machine shop in San Diego.

Kim Fields, Senior Department Administrator
Kim segued from project management of the CEO search to now supporting the operations of the San Diego Center for Civic Engagement by providing her extensive project management and organizational skills in the areas of research, managing logistics, tracking departmental budget and coordinating meetings. Prior to joining The Foundation, Kim worked at Ebix, EBO, an insurance certificate tracking firm as a Service Center Manager and Biogen Idec, Inc., where for a period of seven years she supported several high-level executive team leaders. She is a native San Diegan and brings more than 20 years of experience in administration management.

Emily Guevara

Emily Guevara, Manager, Research & Analysis
A native of San Diego who is passionate about philanthropy, Emily has provided significant project management in researching visioning efforts in other regions around the country to inform our efforts here in the San Diego region, and provided support in developing Our Greater San Diego Vision. Emily first joined The Foundation in October 2011 as a Thomas Murphy Fellow, and prior to that she worked for five years with several other nonprofits in Southern California including the Climate Action Reserve; Nature and Culture International; and the San Diego Zoo’s Institute for Conservation Research. She also conducted field research monitoring the global dispersal of air contaminants and their impacts on local ecosystems in Ecuador. Emily earned a bachelor of arts degree in chemistry and environmental studies from Whitman College, and a master’s degree in environmental science and management from University of California Santa Barbara.

Nicola Hedge

Nicola Hedge, MPIA, Director, Climate Initiative
Nicola leads implementation of The San Diego Foundation’s Climate Initiative, working with donors, nonprofits, and business and government partners to help spur action to reduce regional greenhouse gas emissions and deepen community awareness about the local impacts of climate change. Before joining The Foundation, Nicola was a field office manager with a multi-year World Bank research project in rural Malawi, exploring connections between education, income, and health outcomes. She has also worked with the production team of a public affairs show of Southern California Public Radio, and with the Governor of Hawaii’s policy analysis office. Nicola earned her master’s degree from UC San Diego’s School of International Relations and Pacific Studies, and her bachelor’s degree in International Business from Hawaii Pacific University.

Vi Nguyen, Manager, Vibrant & Thriving Neighborhoods
Vi works with local governments, nonprofits, academic institutions and community groups to increase civic engagement and community problem-solving in the region. Her main focus is to identify and support programs that create meaningful opportunities for people to get involved  in improving their communities, including but not limited to; the Great Neighborhood Challenge, Creative Catalyst, San Diego Gathering Place Project, Smart Corridors, CIVICtalk and University Partnerships. She brings more than eight years of experience in project management and cross-sector collaboration development to the job. Vi earned a bachelor’s degree in Communications from UC Santa Barbara and a master’s degree in Nonprofit Leadership and Management from the University of San Diego.

Marisa Quiroz

Marisa Quiroz, Director, Opening the Outdoors Initiative
Marisa works with donors, volunteers and nonprofits to advance regional conservation efforts, ensure that all communities have access to clean air and water, parks and open space, as well as promote local action on climate change. She certified by the International Association of Public Participation in civic engagement and serves as a member of the California Structural Pest Control Board appointed by the Senate Rules Committee. Ms. Quiroz has a bachelor's degree in Anthropology and Sociology from Mills College and a master's degree in Nonprofit Leadership and Management from the University of San Diego

Felicia Shaw

Felicia Shaw, Director, Arts & Culture Analysis & Strategy
As Director of Arts and Culture at the Foundation, Felicia utilizes her expertise and knowledge of San Diego’s arts and culture community to ensure that the region has the necessary resources to become a nationally competitive arts and culture center. Prior to joining the Foundation, Felicia served as Program Manager of the City of San Diego Commission for Arts and Culture for 17 years, overseeing the City’s multi-million dollar arts funding program. She is a frequent panelist and juror for arts agencies such as the National Endowment for the Arts and the California Arts Council. A graduate of Northwestern University with a degree in Communications, Felicia also completed post-graduate studies at UCSD in Art History, Theory and Criticism.

External Relations Department

Theresa Nakata

Theresa Nakata, Vice President, External Relations & Marketing Officer
As Vice President, External Relations Officer, Theresa provides strategic leadership for Marketing & Communications, Regional Outreach, San Diego Women’s Foundation, Volunteer Engagement, Community and Government Relations, the Public Policy Committee, and the San Diego Regional Disaster Fund. Prior to joining The Foundation, Theresa served as the Senior Vice President of Marketing for Pierce Education Properties, L.P. where she was responsible for business development, sales, market research, community relations, public relations and advertising for corporate, the $200 million student housing portfolio, third-party management contracts and real estate development contracts. Prior to this, Theresa was the Senior Communications Advisor at San Diego State University Research Foundation where she promoted faculty and staff research initiatives and led the community relations strategy team working on the city of San Diego College Community Redevelopment Projects abutting the SDSU campus. Theresa has also served as the national Public Relations Manager for P.F. Chang’s China Bistro Corporate and as Director of Marketing at Downtown Tempe Community. Theresa holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism and marketing from the University of Hawaii-Manoa and an MBA degree in marketing from Arizona State University.

 

Marketing & Communications Department

The Marketing & Communications Department develops strategies to increase the awareness and visibility of The San Diego Foundation. The department utilizes print and broadcast media, electronic newsletters, social media, The Foundation's App, and the internet to inform the community of The Foundation's activities and wide range of philanthropic services.
 
Heather Back

Heather Back, Associate Vice President, Marketing & Communications
Heather joined The Foundation to support the marketing efforts as well as to oversee The Foundation's media relations. Heather brings 16 years of experience in building brands and driving advertising, marketing and public relations. She has a strong foundation in media relations through her work at KFMB, the San Diego Daily Transcript and San Diego Magazine. Heather leverages these existing relationships in her work to create broad awareness for The Foundation and its community affiliates. She holds a bachelor's degree in Journalism from E.W. Scripps at Ohio University and an MBA in Integrated Marketing Communications from San Diego State University.

Catrina Dulay

Catrina Dulay, Graphic/Production Artist
Catrina supports the marketing and communications team by providing graphic and web design services to communicate The San Diego Foundation’s message to key target markets. Her support extends out internally to all departments and affiliates with graphic design and electronic communications, including web support and analysis. Catrina’s work experience includes freelance graphic design for print and web, as well as HTML and CSS client instructions with WordPress. She earned her AAS in Graphic Design from Platt College in San Diego, and completed coursework at Otis College of Art & Design in Los Angeles.

Nikki Kolupailo

Nikki Kolupailo, Manager, Marketing & Social Media
Nikki oversees production management of all integrated marketing for The Foundation. Additionally, she will continue to enhance digital and new media strategies to increase awareness of The Foundation, all affiliates, initiatives and programs through social media and App development. Previously, Nikki interned within the department in the fall of 2010. She worked at MEA Digital as an Assistant Media Strategist developing online media strategies and media buying for clients such as Oakley, Cars.com, The Body Shop, and USAOpoly. She held previous internships with the San Diego Film Festival and the Kabara Institute for Entrepreneurial Studies at St. Mary’s University. Since 2009, Nikki has volunteered with the Chotomow Children’s Fundraiser to assist orphaned children in Poland. She earned her bachelor of arts degree in Marketing with a minor in Psychology from Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota.

 

Regional Outreach Department

The San Diego Foundation is committed to building philanthropy and enhancing the quality of life in all of San Diego county. The Regional Outreach team coordinates the work of The Foundation’s community affiliates to ensure the volunteer boards and committees in each area have the strategic and administrative support necessary to achieve success throughout the county.
 
Trudy Armstrong

Trudy Armstrong, Associate Vice President, Regional Outreach
Trudy joined The San Diego Foundation in 2008 and built the Escondido, Rancho Bernardo, 4S Ranch/Del Sur, Ramona, and La Jolla affiliates. Through her dedication and leadership, Trudy was named Associate Vice President of Regional Outreach in 2011. Currently, she oversees the department including the opening of additional affiliates throughout the region, while still retaining the La Jolla and Escondido foundations, and shares oversight of the Rancho Bernardo and 4S-Ranch/Del Sur foundations with other Regional Outreach staff. With the help of the Matt McLaughlin legacy gift and matching program, Trudy will help facilitate grant focus areas for the affiliates, creating a synergistic and immediate impact on the North County region. Having lived and worked for years in the communities of Rancho Bernardo, Poway and Escondido, Trudy is extremely knowledgeable of the Inland North County area. Prior to joining The Foundation, Trudy spent a number of years in the newspaper industry, most recently as the Director of Sales and Marketing of the Pomerado Newspaper Group. She also served as the General Manager of the Bernardo News. Trudy is a graduate of Ohio University.

Brittany

Brittany Bailey, Administrative Coordinator, Regional Outreach
Brittany provides administrative and meeting/event support for the Regional Outreach department, and serves as the primary department administrator of the membership database. Prior to joining The Foundation, Brittany was a senior assistant property manager for six years. She also interned with City Council Members Toni Atkins and Kevin Faulconer, the San Diego County Taxpayers Association and the Scott Peters for Congress campaign. Proficient in Spanish, she was a teaching assistant in the ESL department at Grossmont College. Brittany holds her bachelor’s degree in Political Science from University of California San Diego.
 

Julie_B Julie Bronstein, Executive Director, La Jolla Community Foundation
As part of the Regional Outreach team, Julie provides strategic leadership and support to the La Jolla Community Foundation in addition to cultivating relationships and growing philanthropy in La Jolla. Prior to joining The Foundation, Julie started the Solution Group, a firm where she assisted clients such as The Jane Goodall Institute, County Supervisor Dave Roberts and San Diego Coastkeeper with development, fundraising, event management and communications. She was also Director of Philanthropy for the San Diego Jewish Community Foundation where she focused on donor relations and development and managed the Professional Advisors Council. Julie is actively involved in the community, serving on the boards of Rady Children’s Hospital Foundation, Scripps Steven’s Cancer Center and Run Women Run. She volunteers for the Del Mar Schools Education Foundation, the Autism Tree Project Foundation and the New Children’s Museum. Julie has a Master’s degree in public administration from the University of Southern California with a specialization in intergovernmental relations, and a Bachelor’s degree from Scripps College (Claremont).
Cassie Edmonds

Cassie Edmonds, Program Associate, Regional Outreach
Cassie provides program area coordination, operational and administrative support to Regional Outreach and manages the department’s communication strategy, including the social media initiatives for the community foundation affiliates.  Prior to joining The Foundation, Cassie served as an editor for CBSCollegeSports.com where her main focus was to maintain more than 150 partner websites with daily college sports updates.  In an effort to become more involved in her community, Cassie moved on to become an events coordinator at KFMB where she was in charge of coordinating and implementing all station promotions and appearances. Cassie earned a bachelor of arts degree in Public Relations from the School of Journalism and Mass Communications at the University of North Carolina.

Zaneta Salde Encarnacion

Zaneta Salde Encarnacion, Director, Regional Outreach
Zaneta is responsible for developing, fostering and maintaining meaningful relationships in the South County, as well as establishing and growing local community foundations in the South County. Prior to joining The Foundation, Zaneta worked for the San Diego County Child Care and Development Planning Council. Additionally, she was the constituent services manager to former Chula Vista Mayor Stephen C. Padilla and held various positions at the University of California, San Diego. Zaneta received a bachelor of science degree in Human Services from the University of Phoenix and a master’s degree in Public Administration from National University.

An Lu

An Lu, Manager, Regional Outreach
An provides critical support and is responsible for developing, fostering and maintaining meaningful relationships in the North County Coastal region. Prior to joining The Foundation, An was a program specialist at Arts Council Silicon Valley, where she managed the arts education programs for early childhood learners and at-risk teens in alternative schools, and supported all funds development and grantmaking activities. She also served as communications aid to San Jose Councilmember, Forrest Williams. Additionally, An was the Executive Director of Tapestry Arts where she was responsible for strategic leadership, board relations, community and donor engagement, arts festival production, and overall organizational oversight. She has also been active in arts and wildlife volunteer leadership. An has served as a panelist for regional and national conferences on the arts, grantmaking and economic development activities. An earned a Bachelor of Art’s degree in Mass Communications from the University of California, Berkeley. 

San Diego Women’s Foundation

The San Diego Women’s Foundation is a supporting organization of The San Diego Foundation. Its mission is to educate and inspire women to engage in significant and sustainable philanthropy to strengthen the San Diego region.
 
Tracy Johnson

Tracy Johnson, Executive Director, San Diego Women’s Foundation

As the San Diego Women’s Foundation’s Director, Tracy oversees all operational aspects of the organization, including the driving of membership, engaging with the board of directors and facilitating grant approvals. Previously, Tracy was the Director of Sexual Assault Services at the Center for Community Solutions' Rape Crisis Center. She has also served as chair of the San Diego County Sexual Assault Response Team and as a core member of the San Diego Sex Offender Management Council. Before moving to San Diego in 2000, she was a licensed, practicing clinician in a Massachusetts outpatient mental health clinic. She holds a master’s degree from the University of Maine and is a graduate of the Fieldstone Emerging Leaders Program.
Mara Holiday

Mara Holiday, Program Associate, San Diego Women’s Foundation

Mara supports the San Diego Women’s Foundation in efforts to educate and inspire women to engage in strategic philanthropy by providing program area and committee coordination, managing annual grantmaking processes and providing operational and administrative support. She has worked in grants management and fundraising since 2009 at Father Joe’s Villages, the San Diego Center for Children, and most recently as the Development Manager for The New Children’s Museum. She also serves on the board of First Book-San Diego. Mara holds a Bachelor of Arts from the University of San Francisco, and a Masters of Arts in Rhetoric and Writing Studies/Technical Communication from San Diego State University.