The news from the Escondido Community Foundation paints a very bright picture.
After more than two years of remote contact, we had the joy of convening on Sept. 22 with all members IN THE SAME ROOM to celebrate the award of the 2022 grants. The house was packed, food and drinks were plentiful, the grantees were extremely grateful and every member was fulfilled.
Over the past 16 years of our existence, the ECF has made more than $3 million in grants to local charities, donated the Giving Arch to the city of Escondido valued at over $1 million and brought more than $7 million in overall benefit to the community. The 2022 year was special in another regard. The city of Escondido asked the ECF to use its grant-making skills and experience to handle the distribution of $1.5 million in American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds, the federal bailout for charities. The process is in the final weeks of being completed and the results will be announced in January.
This is my swan song as Chair, as I will be stepping down and turning over my gavel as of Jan. 1. I can’t adequately express my appreciation to my fellow members who give so much of their time, energy and expertise. I’ve never been prouder to be part of a community-based charity. Thanks to all members and to the San Diego Foundation for its leadership.
Escondido Community Foundation Member Spotlight: Jan Jones
Jan is a Registered Nurse who has devoted her life to serving people living in their last chapter of life, running hospice programs across the country. She came to San Diego after being recruited to lead The Elizabeth Hospice, a treasure which has its roots in Escondido. After an eight-year run she retired – but wait! It seems she has failed retirement and is back running hospice programs again. As she says, “It is my calling!”
Jan has been a member of Escondido Community Foundation since moving to San Diego and believes wholeheartedly in pooled philanthropy.
“We have been blessed to have amazing leadership of the foundation over the years and I am humbled to have been asked to serve in 2023,” she said.
Jan is married to Steven Williams and has a son and daughter-in-law in Tampa, along with two grandsons and a deceased granddaughter. She also has a stepson and stepdaughter who each have two beautiful children – three boys and a girl. She lives in Rancho Bernardo with her 10-year-old rescue dog, Athena.
Escondido Community Foundation Grantee Spotlight: ECOLIFE Conservation
The $25,000 awarded to ECOLIFE by ECF enabled the distribution of 40 ECO-Cycle Aquaponics Kits and associated materials to 11 middle schools and high schools in Escondido. ECOLIFE prioritizes equity and equal access in all aspects of programming, and therefore ensured that every middle school and high school received at least one ECO-Cycle.
The ECO-Cycle program enables teachers to incorporate environmental literacy into their daily lessons and encourage the study of phenomena in the natural world. This program has resulted in students demonstrating an increased understanding of aquaponics, sustainability, chemistry and climate science.
ECOLIFE is proud to share that we exceed the intended number of individuals served by almost 1,000. ECOLIFE engaged with more than 2,790 students during our most successful year of implementing this classroom aquaponics program.
“Thanks to Escondido Community Foundation, we were able to give approximately 3,775 students access to environmental education, food system awareness, and a plethora of other learning opportunities via the ECO-Cycle Aquaponics Kits in their classrooms. Furthermore, the impact from this grant will increase year after year, as the ECO-Cycles are used with new cohorts of students. Should these same teachers maintain their current class sizes over the next five years, the total number of individuals exposed to environmental literacy via the ECO-Cycle will exceed 18,800,” said Connor Leone, Sustainable Agriculture Program Director ECOLIFE.