Above: Don Ambrose (left) and his wife, Diana (middle), are motivated to build a better San Diego for people of all ages.
“For as long as I can remember, I have believed that we as individuals have a responsibility to give back to our community,” recalled Don Ambrose. “It’s about being a full participant – not just taking, but giving.”
This is the mindset that drives Don Ambrose, philanthropist and President of Del Mar Healthcare, Inc., to build a better San Diego for all ages through The San Diego Foundation Age Friendly Communities initiative.
Champion for a Cause
Don’s path to philanthropy started like many – at a young age raised on strong family values. But to learn about how he became involved in Age Friendly issues, just follow his career.
Don’s professional trajectory and forty years of experience as a healthcare executive and investment banker in the senior housing industry has made him acutely aware of the needs and opportunities of this community and how he could be a part of addressing its issues.
That’s when his specific philanthropic passion for Age Friendly Communities began to take shape.
Adapting to an Aging Population
Aging experiences are different and personal for everyone — as Don knows through relationships with family and friends. We may experience health-related challenges faced by our parents, or housing dilemmas for our grandparents. Whatever the case, challenges in health service, housing, transportation, employment, safety, social inclusion and civic participation – are also opportunities we can seize.
As Don puts it, “Today, we have a very different social structure than past generations. Families live farther apart and our life expectancy is much greater. This has created a new set of needs for older adults but also presents unique opportunities. We have a rapidly growing segment of our population who is retiring with good health, talents and energy that can be engaged to move our entire community along the path towards a better place to live for all ages.”
“Three years ago, attention around Age Friendly Communities was in its infancy” Don commented as he spoke about preparing for our aging population in San Diego.
“San Diego has been blessed with a long list of individuals and organizations providing great services for older adults. Now we are beginning to see more leaders from government, business and the nonprofit sector get onboard.”
“We need a change of mindset. One step in the evaluation of our public decisions has to be to evaluate initiatives through the prism of how does this impact our older adults,” Don noted. To make San Diego truly an Age Friendly Community, we must ensure that the needs of our aging population are considered in each step as we plan and implement our projects.
Philanthropy is about donating your time, talent or treasure. And San Diego is blessed with an abundance of civic-minded donors who give back in many ways.
For Don, philanthropy is his way to blend professional experience and personal passion to create lasting and positive change for his community.