About 30 years ago, David Malcolm’s office got a call, and he was told, “A friend of yours is claiming to be Mother Teresa.” He picked up and on the other end? Mother Teresa.

Dedicated philanthropists and community advocates, David Malcolm and his wife Annie were close friends with Father Joe Carroll through their volunteer work at St. Vincent de Paul Management of Father Joe’s Villages. They had connections in the San Diego community through their efforts in public and community service, and had the privilege of partnering with influential leaders to make an impact.

But this, they did not expect.

David learned that Mother Teresa was planning to visit San Diego and asked the Malcolms if they would spend one week traveling with her around the region.

What they witnessed was astounding.

“The hope she instilled in people was remarkable,” David recollected. “People just need hope. With hope and opportunity, anyone can get back into productive society with dignity.”

Philanthropy is in our DNA

Annie’s family emigrated from Cairo, Egypt to San Diego in 1963. Despite being alone in a new country, her family always offered to help others and invite new friends over for dinner to build relationships.

“To give is so much better than to receive,” she shared.

When she was a freshman in college, Annie’s father passed away. One of her brother’s friends stopped by to console the family. “And I saw this beautiful woman,” David recalls, calling it “love at first sight”. Before the age of 20, David and Annie were engaged and married.

“I’ve been blessed to find a life partner who has the same passions as me,” Annie said. “Giving back is in our DNA.”

Over the next four decades, as the Malcolms grew their family and David built a notable career in real estate, public and community service was a constant in their life journeys.

David Malcolm served in numerous local, regional and state offices, including 10 years as a City of Chula Vista Councilmember and 12 years as the longest serving California Coastal Commissioner in history.

David has also served on the boards of directors of the American Cancer Society San Diego, South Bay Family YMCA and several other local organizations.

Giving Students Hope

The Malcolms believe quality of life starts with a livable wage. And they feel the best path to a good-paying job is through higher education, especially for students who face barriers to access and are historically underrepresented in college attendance and graduation rates.

“You have to give everyone hope that they can get a college education and not come out with student debt that strangles them,” David said.

That’s exactly what he and Annie aim to provide with the David Malcolm Family Trust’s recent $100,000 donation to The San Diego Foundation Community Scholars Initiative. The gift will help 38 first-generation, underrepresented students with need-based college scholarships and wraparound services to prepare for, pay for and persist through college.

“We want to see their joy and successes, wherever it may take them,” Annie exclaimed. “We’re hopeful our scholarships will inspire these students to give to others down the road.”

Launched in 2016, the Community Scholars Initiative relies on educational partnerships with Barrio Logan College Institute, Mana de San Diego, Reality Changers, San Diego Urban League and Sweetwater Union High School District. The local organizations refer students for scholarship consideration based on a student’s completion of a robust college readiness program.

Scholarship award recipients will be announced this summer.

“What really interested us about The Foundation and the Community Scholars Initiative was not only making an impact, but also the opportunity to bring our family in on the process,” David shared.

The Malcolms said they often review philanthropic options with their children. “Parents teaching their kids to give back is an important part of everyone’s responsibility,” David added.

Philosophy of Giving

In addition to their scholarships, David and Annie Malcolm have particularly enjoyed helping people-in-need turn their lives around. That’s one of the many reasons they’ve been so actively involved with St. Vincent’s of Father Joe’s Villages.

“Many have the wrong picture of a homeless person,” David explained. “These are people without health care, single mothers who have been abused. Walking around town with Father Joe, we would see regular successes of homeless people who were given a second chance. Success is what keeps people going.”

The couple has also built gymnasiums around San Diego, providing young people a place to have fun and receive counseling.

“It’s heartwarming to see the gyms full of activity,” Annie shared. “The kids shine.”

Continuing their lifelong philosophy of giving, David and Annie Malcolm have acknowledged that their wealth will ultimately be limited due to their willingness to give money away in order to make a difference.

Annie has two simple words of advice for anyone looking to start their philanthropic journey: “Jump in!”