The San Diego Foundation Team is here to help you by delivering world-class philanthropy and service, and expertly 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 Lauren Hough, Manager, Donor Services.

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

As a native San Diegan, it’s really special to work for an organization striving to make my hometown a stronger, healthier and safer place for all. I know our team’s work today will have long-lasting effects on the future of our region, and that makes coming to work every day feel meaningful. It also helps that the colleagues I work with are wonderful people, many of whom have become close friends.

What do you enjoy most about partnering with donors and philanthropists?

My favorite part of my role at SDF is helping to connect our donors and philanthropists with the causes they care about. Some may know the organizations they want to give to, but when there is an opportunity to educate and shine a light on our community’s smaller, grassroots organizations that is when I really light up. Our region is filled with incredible organizations of all sizes making a real difference in the lives of individuals and families across San Diego. The days I get to help our donors discover new passions and organizations to partner with are my favorite days.

What inspires you?

As a fourth generation San Diegan, I am inspired by the hope that I can make a difference in our community for my own future grandchildren and great-grandchildren. At SDF, the investments in San Diego that we make today will have ripple effects for decades to come. It’s inspiring to know that by partnering with our donors and nonprofit partners that we are making San Diego a stronger, more inclusive place for all for many, many years to come.

How did you get started working in the nonprofit sector?

I got my start in nonprofit work at a social service agency in North County San Diego in their Marketing and Communications Department. After a few years of working closely with case managers to share the stories of our clients, volunteers, and corporate partners, I decided to start a graduate program in the Master of Social Work program at SDSU with an emphasis in Administration and Community Development. After a few years with the YMCA of San Diego County, both as a Kinship Support Case Manager and as an Intergenerational Program Coordinator, I joined the team at SDF.

How do you make time for work/life balance?

I wish I had a perfect answer, but this is a daily work in progress! I have to be very intentional in trying to prioritize work/life balance, otherwise it just won’t happen. As someone that lives and breathes by their calendar, building in blocks of time either throughout the day or after work hours to exercise, go to dog beach, or catch up with a friend is a huge help. Having a hybrid work environment helps immensely – I am able to take my dog out for a quick walk between meetings, cook myself a healthy meal on my lunch breaks, and avoid a commute which leaves me time to read or catch up with family. I am truly grateful to work at a place like SDF that emphasizes the importance of a work/life balance and will take any/all suggestions that anyone else has on making this a better practice!

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

Hopping on a Peloton ride or taking my dog for a walk around the neighborhood.

What’s your favorite spot in your neighborhood?

Living in Normal Heights, my husband and I love to walk across the bridge into Kensington and enjoy a margarita from Ponce’s!

What’s your favorite book?

I am an avid reader and can’t pick just one! However, one of my recent favorites is “Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow” by Gabrielle Zevin.

What is your favorite destination outside of San Diego?

I just visited Croatia for the first time, and it is now at the top of my list!

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

That it is always better to slow down, take your time and be thoughtful instead of immediately responding or reacting to a situation.