Our society grows stronger through civil dialogue. When we open our hearts and our minds to learn from one another, San Diego is a better place to live.
On October 19, local philanthropists and community leaders gathered together to learn about local efforts to improve our civility at The San Diego Foundation Annual Meeting, Gathering Community for Opportunity. The event brought guests together to celebrate a year of giving with friends, and engage with one another about the most pressing topics we face in San Diego, California, and nationally.
The night was a reminder that we are all united in our quest to advance quality of life in the region.
In addition to fostering dialogue and community engagement, the Annual Meeting featured presentations from four inspirational leaders making a lasting impact in our civil society.
Sean Sheppard, founder of Game Changer, described an initiative that brings frequently opposing groups together to engage in difficult dialogue while also getting to know one another.
Using sports and honest conversation, Sean promotes understanding and change among members of law enforcement, elected officials and community members.
The Game Changer model recognizes that we have much in common. It begins with recognizing our similarities, which can make us more open to better accepting and even celebrating our differences. Imagine the progress that can take place when we understand we are often working toward the same goals.
Dr. Patricia Marquez, Dean of the University of San Diego Joan B. Kroc School of Peace Studies, spoke about how the interconnectivity of our world today allows us to better share experiences and knowledge with people from different backgrounds.
Our next generation of community members engaged locally and throughout the world through social media are our greatest hope for a respectful society. Respect for culture, ethnicity and gender is being demonstrated through increased inclusivity.
Steve Dinkin, President of National Conflict Resolution Center, talked about the ways we as a global community can grow stronger when we work together to bring about positive change.
Reducing the school to prison pipeline is key to a healthier community. NCRC’s partnership with schools to teach reconciliation and restorative practices is reducing expulsions and suspensions. When kids stay in school they learn not only academic but social skills that create a more civil society.
While we all may have different political viewpoints and opinions, our core values remain the same. By finding common ground, we can identify ways to focus on positive social change that will help strengthen our communities.
Dr. Constance Carroll, San Diego Community College District Chancellor and Board Chair at The San Diego Foundation, best summed up the evening as she spoke about the importance of education and investing in opportunities for all San Diegans. “A civil society is an educated society,” Constance shared.
In the coming years, our regional challenges will evolve, but I am confident in our resolve to create opportunity. Philanthropy is uniquely positioned to keep our region peaceful, civically engaged and vibrant.
I encourage everyone to watch the video from the Annual Meeting and start a dialogue wherever you are about how we can all contribute to building a community of opportunity in San Diego.
What are you doing to promote a more unified, civil society? Share your efforts in the comments below!
About Kathlyn Mead
President and CEO of The San Diego Foundation, Kathlyn Mead has been actively involved in community throughout her career. National Medical Fellowships honored Kathlyn with its 2015 Leadership in Healthcare award. Charles R. Drew University recognized her commitment to community service with its 2011 Medal of Honor. Mead was named a 2008 Woman of Distinction by the University of Southern California, received San Diego’s 2004 KGTV-10 News Organizational Leadership Award, and is also a 2003 YWCA of San Diego TWIN awardee.