The San Diego Foundation Development & Stewardship Team is here to help you by delivering world-class philanthropy and service, and promptly responding to your needs.
In this Meet our Giving Team blog series, we’re interviewing each of our team members so you can learn more about the individuals – both professionally and personally – who are helping you give confidently to make the most social impact.
In today’s post, meet Cami Mattson, Director, Development & Stewardship.
Interview with Cami Mattson
Cami, what do you enjoy most about partnering with donors and philanthropists?
I love learning the stories of these generous people and companies, listening to their philanthropic desires, pains and opportunities, and guiding them to solutions that not only meet their goals, but motivate their forward-thinking and optimize their impact.
How did you get started working in the nonprofit sector?
Soon after college, I began working for the organization that would be called The San Diego North Convention & Visitors Bureau, a 501(c)6. I would ultimately lead this organization for 21 years, supporting economic growth in North San Diego County. Because of that experience, I’ve been drawn to collective impact models supporting a variety of causes.
How did you first learn about The San Diego Foundation (TSDF)?
I was working for Cox Communications and was asked to participate in The Foundation’s “Vision” Initiative. I was drawn to the organization and started attending its annual meetings. I was told by several people, over the years, that I would be a good fit and should work for The San Diego Foundation. I feel blessed that I have the opportunity to work here now.
What is your favorite part about working at TSDF?
I love working collectively with a team, donors and community whose entire mission is to do more good in the community, striving for deliberate and intentional social impact.
What social impact area matters to you the most?
My parents were both teachers, so I definitely lean towards education. I’d pair this with mental wellness, building self-confidence, belonging and purpose.
What inspires you?
I’m inspired by individuals, groups and organizations that break boundaries and the status quo. I love evolution through innovation and the courage to punch through discomfort for personal or societal growth.
When you have 30 minutes of free time, how do you pass the time?
I love a brisk hike on nature trails. I also enjoy taking in a spin class and experimenting with recipes, replacing various ingredients with healthier alternatives.
What’s your favorite spot in your neighborhood?
I love hiking in the Torrey Pines Extension. It is a lesser known trail system than the popular Torrey Pines Reserve, but it is part of the same state park.
What’s your favorite outdoor activity?
Hiking, but I also enjoy cycling, kayaking, skiing, scuba diving and just about any adventurous outdoor activity.
What is your favorite destination outside of San Diego?
I love so many places around the world, but I repeatedly escape to Rock Creek Lake in the High Sierras. It is a magical spot surrounded by high peaks and countless mountain lakes.
What is your favorite book?
You can’t have a favorite book when your mother was a librarian. Recently I enjoyed Nothing Daunted by Dorothy Wickenden, a true story about two society girls in the early 1900s who left their privileged lives to teach school in the Wild West of Colorado. This goes back to where I find inspiration in people who break boundaries and the status quo.
If you could meet anyone, living or dead, who would you meet and why?
Isadora Duncan. I have a passion for contemporary dance and admire the modern pioneers who broke the rules of turn-of-the-century classic ballet and created a new dance art.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve received?
My father once said, “I’d rather have a life full of experiences than a room full of furniture.” This has been a guiding principle for me. I’m not attached to things, but I crave all kinds of experiences that allow me to learn about history, cultures, geography and the people in them.