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 – professionally and personally – helping you give confidently to make the most social impact. In today’s post, meet Miguel Lopez, Manager of Development.

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

San Diego Foundation’s vision of just, equitable, and resilient communities inspires me to serve our organization. Our dedicated staff is committed to serving our community, nonprofits, partners, and donors. As a community foundation, it is our job to understand the pulse of our local communities better than anyone, enabling donors and nonprofit partners to tackle the most critical needs facing San Diegans. We utilize our vision and inspire new projects and innovations to create a community foundation that truly invests in our beautiful communities’ diverse needs.

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

I enjoy getting to know people, their values, and their motivations. Throughout my engagement with donors, I’ve learned that we value the same thing: to create a much more vibrant region so all San Diegans can thrive and prosper.

What inspires you?

My parents are my biggest source of inspiration. I’m a proud, gay Mexican-American Latino, son of immigrant parents. My values are rooted in family, hard work, honesty, integrity, determination, and service. These are all values that I learned from them.

How did you get started working in the nonprofit sector?

I started my journey in the nonprofit profession a few years after graduating college. My first job out of college was in the sales department of a corporate medical device company. I was unhappy in the corporate sector but landed an opportunity at our local community foundation through serendipity. My first impressions of nonprofits were that people were authentic, mission-driven, and dedicated to community. Fast forward a few years, and I am grateful to continue serving at San Diego Foundation.

How do you make time for work/life balance?

Instead of the phrase “work/life balance,” I use “work and life integration.” Utilizing “work/life balance” gives the appearance that those are two distinct avenues, however, through “work and life integration,” I’ve been able to align my values with my career, goals, and aspirations. To bring the best version of myself to San Diego Foundation, I prioritize meditation, self-reflective journaling, time with loved ones, nurturing my inner child, live music and other areas.

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

I enjoy listening to music, although most of my friends will say I am stuck in the past as it relates to the artists I enjoy! I also appreciate spending time with my partner and our dog and two cats.  Reflective journaling, meditation, and gratitude are great ways to recharge in 30 minutes.

What’s your favorite spot in your neighborhood?

The San Diego region is my neighborhood. I’m a San Diego native and enjoy going to the beach. Ocean Beach is my spot. There’s a beautiful cove beach off of Santa Cruz and Bacon that only a few locals know about. It’s a place that provides serenity, joy and energy.

What’s your favorite outdoor activity?

Outdoor music festivals are one of my favorite outdoor activities. I’ve been going to music festivals for many years and find joy in dancing like a complete clown among others who are dancing the same way. Daft Punk’s song “Lose Yourself to Dance” captures the vibe and energy I feel on the dance floor. Creating new moments of bliss with my best friends in an open field in front of a large stage is my form of fun.

What is your favorite destination outside of San Diego?

My partner and I enjoy traveling to Mexico. We enjoy learning more about the rich history of Mexico while I translate for my partner. Some of our favorite destinations are Guanajuato and La Paz. There’s something rich about reconnecting with my culture and community.

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

“If you want to go fast, go alone; but if you want to go far, go together.” This is advice that I’ve learned to cultivate and ground myself in throughout my life. Listening to others, seeking advice, and nurturing my community of support allows me to grow spiritually, personally and professionally.