To understand just who Malin Burnham is, look no further than his business card.

You won’t find an important title, a long list of awards or five different phone numbers where you can reach him.

In fact, you won’t even find his name. What you will find is a simple yet powerful phrase – “Community before self.”

Thirty years ago, Malin recognized that he wanted to make an impact and improve the quality of life in San Diego. But to do so he also realized he needed to shift his way of thinking.

This is where his motto came in.

Throughout his career, whether in business, sailing or philanthropy, Malin has leveraged the power of teamwork and community. As he describes it, “community is family, neighborhood, city, county, state and country. And it is also much more, such as partners, owners, teammates, customers, and charity recipients.”

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Through his efforts, and thanks to that sense of community, Malin has achieved great success. Now, he hopes to share some of his life experiences and wisdom with others.

In his recently released book, aptly titled Community Before Self, Malin recounts the moments that shaped his life and the lessons he learned along the way.

As one of San Diego’s most notable business and community leaders, Malin has accomplished more than many have in a lifetime. He counts 70 years of winning international-level competitions in sailboat racing; 37 years of building and managing companies engaged in real estate, mortgage lending, insurance, and banking; and 50 years of leadership in his not-for-profit and philanthropic endeavors.

But what’s more impressive is that Malin is one of the rare instances where humility meets success.

Malin Burnham

Malin Burnham is one of San Diego’s most notable business and community leaders.

He is not a self-promoter, but believes in giving back to San Diego and our youth through action, virtues and wisdom he has gained along the way. Malin has quietly become one of our most impactful San Diegans.

Among many career highlights, he is the visionary behind the Center for Civic Engagement, which provides the region with a place to come together to learn and discuss current and future challenges in San Diego to generate great ideas and solutions. He is also behind the great work of the Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute, which is dedicated to discovering the fundamental molecular causes of disease and devising the innovative therapies of tomorrow.

Community and Leadership

Community Before Self tells the story of one of our region’s most notable leaders in a way that helps readers with tools to live a life of integrity and purposeful giving. Regardless of income, political views, or age, Malin believes everyone can contribute toward enhancing their community by volunteering their time and effort.

The book helps all of us understand that philanthropy and community impact are not reserved for only the wealthy or elite. As Malin explains, the first step is often to “define a passion and start giving early.”

Summer Reading List

Community Before Self is on sale at select bookstores and online. We encourage you to purchase a copy and add the book to your summer reading list or next book club event.

All royalties from the book sales will support the Center for Civic Engagement at The San Diego Foundation.

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