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 Danielle Valenciano, Director, Community Scholarships.

Interview with Danielle Valenciano

Danielle, what do you enjoy most about partnering with donors and philanthropists?

It is exciting to know how invested scholarship donors are in student success. Their enthusiasm inspires me to continuously improve the Community Scholarships Program and look for new ways for donors to give.

How did you get started working in the nonprofit sector?

I received my M.A. in Anthropology at University of California, San Diego and interned with the International Rescue Committee. I ended up working there after I graduated, fell in love with the work and realized I had a strength in project management. I’ve honed this skill with every new position as I continue to learn and grow. My entire career has been with nonprofits, and every place I’ve worked is so different, so I am happy to have a diverse experience in the sector.

What is your favorite part about working at The San Diego Foundation (TSDF)?

My colleagues – they are conscientious and thoughtful, and they all want to make a difference in our community.

Why do you think San Diego is such a generous region?

San Diego is a big city that acts a lot like a small town. People care about and invest in their communities. This is a wonderful city with so much to offer, how could one not do their part to keep San Diego thriving?

What social impact area matters to you?

That’s too easy – helping our underserved, low-income students successfully navigate and complete their higher education goals. With donor generosity, our strategic planning and TSDF’s knowledge of the education space in San Diego, I truly believe that we can help move the needle on this issue.

When you have 30 minutes of free time, how do you pass the time?

I’m not going to lie, probably scrolling through the Internet and having a snack.

How do you make time for work/life balance?

Working from home has given me two-to-three hours back in my life. I don’t mind working odd hours as needed, and I appreciate the flexibility and the trust The Foundation has given me to get work done in hours that don’t necessarily fit a 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. work schedule.

What’s your favorite spot in your neighborhood?

We have walking trails that really help you disconnect from everything. A little scary to walk at night because of the coyotes, but wonderful to enjoy in the day!

What’s your favorite outdoor activity?

It sounds boring, but walking for many reasons. It’s stress relieving and some of my most inspired ideas come out of a long walk. Of course, my dog, Bob, makes sure he comes along, too.

What is your favorite destination outside of San Diego?

New York City – I love the energy of a big city and New York is amazing.

What inspires you?

As mentioned, donor enthusiasm is a factor, and student appreciation is also powerful. Beyond these though, knowing that I can always do more is a huge inspiration. Sharing ideas with colleagues and having that moment where you know you’re onto something big absolutely makes me want to work harder.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve received?

Boy Scout motto: “Be prepared.” I always try to think a few steps ahead.