San Diego Foundation and its leadership team have had an eventful first six months of 2023, with significant achievements and several awards in recognition of our service to San Diego’s diverse communities. We’re taking the time to celebrate our team’s excellent work this year.

Pamela Gray Payton Awarded for Her Leadership

Pamela Gray Payton

Pamela Gray Payton, Vice President, Chief Impact and Partnerships Officer at SDF, was recognized in June by the UC San Diego Black Staff Association with its “Hollis Gentry III Community Service” Award. This award is presented annually by the UC San Diego Black Staff Association to honor an individual who has had a lasting impact with exceptional service through their time, actions and talents. The honoree operates by the “pay it forward” principle and consistently demonstrates an unyielding dedication to improving our community while upholding the core values of UC San Diego.

Pamela also received the Chula Vista Chamber of Commerce President’s Award at this year’s 96th Annual Installation Dinner. Pamela’s leadership at SDF has led to record-breaking grantmaking and the innovative implementation of three pillars of the SDF Strategic Plan to advance racial and social justice, foster equity of opportunity and build resilient communities in San Diego.

Black History Month is celebrated in February and honors the contributions and accomplishments of all Black people across the United States and throughout U.S. history. Pamela was named one of the San Diego Business Journal’s 2023 Top 50 Black Leaders of Influence. This award recognizes her leadership within the San Diego community and managing the Black Community Investment Fund at SDF, which launched in 2020 and has funded more than $4 million in grants to support initiatives in education, employment, entrepreneurship and homeownership that create generational wealth for Black San Diegans. She has also helped launch the San Diego Black Homebuyer Program in August 2021, which has assisted 30 families in purchasing their first homes so far.

Pamela currently serves on the Board of Directors of the Monarch School Project and The Community Foundation Opportunity Network. She served previously as Board Chair for RISE San Diego, the Kim Center for Social Balance, and Girls Scouts San Diego and Imperial Council. Pamela joined San Diego Foundation in May 2020.

Mark Stuart Named One of the Top 50 LGBTQ+ Leaders of Influence by the San Diego Business Journal

Mark Stuart

As part of Pride Month in June, the San Diego Business Journal and the San Diego Equality Business Association have named San Diego’s 2023 Top 50 LGBTQ+ Leaders of Influence. Mark Stuart was recognized for his leadership as CEO and President of San Diego Foundation as well as his work throughout San Diego County.

Mark has served as President and CEO of San Diego Foundation since March 2019.

SDF Leaders Recognized as Top 50 Asian Pacific Islander Leaders of Influence

Susan Guinn, Elvin Lai, Connie Matsui

Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month is recognized in May and celebrates the contributions, histories, and cultures of AAPI individuals and communities, the San Diego Business Journal and the Asian Business Association of San Diego named three SDF leaders as  2023 Top 50 Asian Pacific Islander Leaders of Influence for their contributions and commitment in various industries throughout San Diego.

Susan Guinn is Vice President, Chief Innovation Officer for San Diego Foundation, and President and CEO of the San Diego Regional Policy & Innovation Center. She seeks new funding opportunities and cross-sector initiatives that allow San Diego Foundation and its partners to better address community needs and leverage resources in the San Diego County region. Susan and her team help make our communities safer, healthier and more inclusive. Susan joined San Diego Foundation in October 2020 and has served as President and CEO of the Policy & Innovation Center since its launch in September 2021.

Elvin Lai, SDF Board Member and President & CEO of Ocean Park Inn Hotel, is a serial entrepreneur, with four different businesses in three different sectors. Elvin’s greatest passions are building relationships, supporting the growth of San Diego’s tourism industry and working to better our community for future generations. He is active on several boards throughout San Diego, including Mayor Todd Gloria’s Asian Pacific Islander (API) Advisory Board, San Diego Convention Center Corporation and the Asian Business Association of San Diego, among others.

Connie Matsui, SDF supporter and former Interim CEO, helped SDF with its long-range strategic planning and listened to the ideas of community members, board and staff. She continues her philanthropic work in San Diego and is active on several boards, including Forever Balboa Park, Halozyme Therapeutics Inc., World Foundation for Girl Guides and Girl Scouts, Emerita, Girl Scouts of the USA (Board Chair Emerita), Sutro Biopharma (Board Chair), and Artelo Biosciences (Board Chair).

SDF receives Sandie Award for “Best Website” from AMA San Diego

Sandie Awards

San Diego Foundation received an award for ‘Best Website’ at the first-ever Sandie Awards Gala by the San Diego chapter of the American Marketing Association (AMA San Diego). This award recognizes website design, ease of use, copywriting, interactivity, use of technology, innovation, and content that meets the needs and goals of audiences.

Our Marketing team celebrated the win with our partners from creative agency Fifty & Fifty and brand design consultancy MiresBall, who helped bring our website design and branding to life.

The awards gala was on May 11 at the Town and Country Resort. You can view the full list of 2023 Sandie Award Winners here.

Meet the Entire SDF Team