Monday, October 7, 2013

A look at women in the military and military families as a vulnerable population in San Diego

Women Give San Diego, recently hosted an evening at the Braille Institute, focused on a deeper look at one of the vulnerable populations we serve in San Diego; women in the military and military families.   

The agenda for the evening was on what it means to be in a vulnerable population in San Diego, particularly on women in the military and military families. Our keynote speaker, Susan Davis, was called back to Washington, DC, to deal with the US Budget crisis, however, two knowledgeable speakers on the military situation stepped in.  Joe Buehrle, Director for San Diego Military Family Collaborative (SDMFC) and Barbara Padilla, Chair of the Family Readiness Group, hosted a lively and informative discussion.

SDMFC grew from 6 to over 100 military and social service organizations in the last year, establishing one place where all family matters can be addressed. While the average number of military children per US county is 1600, here in San Diego County we have 60,000 military children who need service! Due to the complexity of the issues facing military families, this is a daunting task. Over 100,000 women have served in the military since Sept. 11, 2001. Ten percent of veterans are women and they comprise 15% of active duty military now. The number of homeless veterans rose 140% from 2006-2010. Sadly, women veterans are the fastest growing category of homeless in the US (4 times higher than civilian women). Barbara Padilla, shed some light on the difficulties facing women veterans when she discussed her own situation. Having served on active duty in the Navy and having had a stellar record, she still found it very difficult to find employment in the civilian sector – so much so that she joined the Reserves. This enabled her to both support her family and to return to a career where her skills were needed and appreciated. Barbara opened our eyes to the hesitancy that female veterans have in sharing that they served in the military because of reactions they get from every day people. We all realized that a culture shift needs to occur in our society regarding the legitimacy of women serving in the military so that these women returning to civilian life have more peer and societal support.

Contrary to some public misunderstanding, women are definitely serving in harm’s way (Female Engagement Teams). Right now the Marines are focused on the first group of infantry women set to deploy and also on the over 26,000 cases of sexual assault. A lively discussion resulted regarding the percentage of sexual assaults that occur on college campuses (25%) and whether this statistic could be compared to the military, where the standards are higher and the risk of speaking out after an assault are greater. The system whereby the military deals with the reporting of assaults has changed recently in an effort to have a more independent review of cases. All of our hope is that this will aid in both encouraging those who have been assaulted to come forward and in the fair processing of these claims.  Finally, one half of returning veterans come home with symptoms of PTSD. Many of the women will not choose to get help for this, due to fear of retribution or harm to their career, just as they have been hesitant in the past to report sexual assaults. These facts are why the next steps for women veterans ‘services is in providing more outreach and changing how services are delivered – more co-location and more discretion.

Richard Ybarra, head of The Braille Institute and our gracious host, closed out the evening with an introduction to the work that the Braille Institute is doing in San Diego County. They have about 30 staff and 400 adults and youth volunteers, enabling them to serve over 5,000 people annually. The services provided are entirely free and those served have a variety of degrees of inhibited sight. Less than 10% of those served are totally blind, contrary to the stereotype of the Braille Institute!

Richard shared two interesting lessons that he has learned as a result of his work: (1) There are no sad tales at The Institute, and (2) You can lose your eyesight but you can never lose your vision. 

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Women Cultivating Community Connections

On Friday, June 14, 2013 Women Give San Diego hosted our first conference titled, “Women Cultivating Community Connections,” for our members and grantees.

Whether you attended or not, I invite you to grab a cup of coffee, wine or your beverage of choice, find a comfy spot to sit and get ready to immerse yourself in this blog because there was so much value offered at this conference and we have captured it here for your benefit!

Our intention for Women Cultivating Community Connections was to host a conference where we could enhance our circles of influence by bringing our existing relationships together to collaborate further and provide greater impact to those we serve. The result was rich content, experiential learning and sage advice from individuals and organizations that are creating impact and changing our world.

As a side note, we also decided we wouldn't introduce our speakers with lengthy bios but rather by 6 word memoirs. During breakfast we had participants and speakers use colored paper, magazines and markers to create their 6 word memoirs and then for the remainder of the conference we introduced people using their creation. Here is an example of Dr. Jenn Gunsaullus' memoir:

One of our first speakers was Nancy Jamison, Executive Director of San Diego Grantmakers. Nancy shared that we must “act bigger” and we must “connect better” as non-profits and philanthropists. In order to create greater change, we must activate our networks and weave the various expressions of philanthropy that we all offer together in a way that goes beyond money. We must incorporate our voices, powerful research and the sharing of intelligence. Nancy recognized Women Give San Diego for being an organization that is leading by example for this new wave of philanthropy and that our impact will continue to grow.

Prior to the conference we surveyed our grantees that work within non-profits to better understand the areas within their organizations where they struggle and thrive.  Let’s take a look at some of the results including the most popular answers:

1. What do you struggle with most as an organization?

2. What do you feel most optimistic about with your organization?

3. What do you need most?
Funding and staffing.

These results show interesting commonalities and also opened up a perfect forum for a panel discussion with two of our grant partners, The Barrio Logan College Institute and Casa Cornelia Law Center

Session 1 Panel with Grantees:

Johanna Schiavoni, WGSD member and moderator for the panel, shared that our survey showed organizations struggle with expansion yet they remain optimistic for growth. So how do you grapple with strategies to expand while believing in the organizations mission and ability to grow?

Carmen Chavez from Casa Cornelia commented, “In order for us to stay focused on meeting the needs of our community we look to actions not words.” Casa Cornelia like many other small non-profits recognizes that in order to be successful you have to focus on the growth of your impact, “meeting the needs of our community” not necessarily the size of your organization in staff or funding. Though funding and staff are integral to an organizations success, the long-term growth of an organization depends on its ability to expand impact.

On the topic of managing a non-profit organization successfully there was much advice shared from our panelists and audience including the following:

Being an Executive Director is like being the Chief Energy Officer, you have to learn how to effectively manage the energies of your staff and your board.

It is important to be accurate and transparent with accounting.  Use volunteers on the board, eventually incorporate staff or an accounting firm but always focus on financial accuracy and transparency.  At minimum Executive Directors need to understand the words and concepts of the organization’s financial position and be able to read financial statements.

Gratitude is a practice that must be a priority and be ongoing. Some organizations have ongoing gratitude events, emails, calls, etc. but all of them find creative ways to say thank you to the people and other organizations that make their impact possible. Additionally, the more specific you can be about the impact delivered because of the time and money your donors and volunteers gave, the more profound your thank you will be.

An executive director needs to get out there and build relationships but make sure your passenger seat is never empty. Constituents should have a relationship with at least two or three people within the organization so when transitions occur no one falls through the cracks.

Always put a volunteer between you and the problem— it strengthens relationships with volunteers and takes pressure of the executive director.

Create a strategic plan and then commit to it being a living organic document. It needs to be a continuum and constantly be evolving. If possible leverage community resources to support pro bono with strategic planning. Further, set specific objectives, tasks and committees. Each committee has to hit certain goals by specific dates and then set quarterly reviews to hold people accountable and for recalibrating.

Use the strategic plan to guide your board retreat.

Board members should have terms but once a year have a “state of the union” allowing all past and current board members to come together and listen to the current vision and weigh in on the next phase of growth for the organization.

We hope these words of wisdom are insightful and useful in your organization and are grateful to our panelists and audience members for sharing.

The next session of the conference was an experiential learning through a World Café setting.

Session 2 World Café -We are all here for the same reason:

The world café allows an opportunity for small groups to convene around a table to share ideas, actively listen and connect perspectives around topics addressed through questions. After the group has a chance to share and connect, individuals rotate to another table to further the collaboration.  Once the groups have completed answering a few questions and rotating tables a few times the group is guided through a Harvest. During the harvest, a facilitator captures the common themes and writes them down where the entire audience can see the culmination of ideas and perspectives around the key questions asked.

Renee Herrell, WGSD Member facilitated the World Café experience and asked our participants three questions. Why are you here? If you could create a world where all women and girls had economic self-sufficiency and security, what would that look like? What leap can we make together?

Here are just a few examples of what the Harvest looked like:
We are here to collaborate on solutions for the issues that face women and girls
We can stop judging ourselves and others
We can stop competing and start collaborating.
We could have an equitable society.
Leaders need mentors too.
We can share the load, we all play a part.
Acknowledge girls for being intelligent, not pretty.

Lunch and Learn

After completing a world café the group was ready to dive into a lunch and learn where we enjoyed a healthy meal thanks to Jimbos and beverages from Zevia while listening to Florence Quinn discuss the importance of self-nourishment. Here are some of her key thoughts on healthy eating:

Cooking is one of the few times you can stimulate all five senses. It is about movement, eating and breathing and it is also about creation, connection and transformation.

In order to eat healthy, you must make cooking and preparing food important. We find time for the things that are important in our lives so if you make eating healthy important you will find time to cook.

Focus on natural food not processed.

Buy food at farmers markets. Produce loses its nutrients he longer it sits on a shelf so purchasing produce at a farmers market increases the probability of it being fresh. Also, San Diego produces 150 crops per year and has the most organic farmers out of any city in the country.

Explore seasonal offerings and the best seasoning you can add to your food is mindfulness.

Here are some other tips from Florence on “how to eat”:
  •   Put utensils down after each bite
  •  Eat in silence for one meal per day if possible or at least take your first few bites in silence.
  •   Eat when seated.
  •   Eat separate from watching TV or reading.

Session 3: Community Resource Mapping

Women Give member, Patricia Sinay, took on the hardest part of the day in the afternoon following lunch. Most people start to drift at this part of the day but Patricia’s sessions had members on the edge of their seats and interacting with one and other.

Patricia took participants through a process called asset mapping and used Women Give San Diego as an example. Patricia asked WGSD members to answer a series of questions ahead of time so she could assess what assets we as a group have to offer that can leverage our success as an organization. Let’s take a look at the process and results:

Women Give Asset Mapping:
The first question provides context, “What do we do?”
Advocacy, grant making, women and girls, economic self-sufficiency, creating gatherings, recruiting members, mentoring, etc.

Next, ask your members, volunteers, staff, donors, etc. “What do you enjoy doing?” You don’t want to have volunteers sign up for things they don’t enjoy so instead of asking them how they want to help ask them what do they enjoy.

For Women Give members and grantees the top answers were:
 1. Solving problems 2. Meeting new people 3. Connecting people

The lowest three areas we checked off were:
1.  Planning event 2. Throwing a party 3. Raising money

When reading these results Patricia found an interesting result: the things we like to do are actually what we do through the activities we listed that we didn’t like to do. In other words, though we don’t like planning events, throwing parties and raising money we end up doing all three of those because we love solving problems, meeting new people and connecting with people. The key take away here is that you may have a need for event planning and your volunteer may be good at or able to plan an event but that isn’t their passion. However, if you can find out what they are passionate about, say for instance meeting new people, then you can ask them if they would be interested in supporting an event where they can meet new people. Now you get what you need and the volunteer is happy because they get to do what they actually enjoy doing.

Other questions you can ask when conducting an asset mapping for your organization are:
What do people like doing outside of work? How can we tap into that for what we need?
What are your talents?

When conducting an asset map you must consider who is in your circle of influence. Here is an example of a list of some of Women Give’s Circle of Influence:
Small business owners
Large company execs
Elected officials
Government employees
Banking executives
Leaders from other organizations

The final session of the day was a reflection opportunity for participants to look back on the conference and discuss the areas that they could take back into their communities and their organizations to support the causes we serve. It was clear that the most common take away was the importance of collaboration and partnerships. Participants walked away with tools to take back to their organizations in order to engage and enroll more supporters so they can deliver more impact.

The conference ended with a networking and mingling event sponsored by Tio Leo’s where participants were able to reflect more and continue the conversation. The objective of the conference was to be a catalyst for collaboration and provide a space for leaders to come together for a day and then continue to partner off line. We look forward to watching as these partnerships and collaborative efforts grow and as a result provide greater impact to women and girls in San Diego and beyond.

Thank you to our sponsors:

Carmel Valley San Diego Community | Jimbos...naturally | Community Partner

To see more photos visit our facebook page: or click HERE.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Celebrating our 2013 Grant Partners

One of our most inspiring gatherings each year is our Grants Celebration. Thanks to the financial support of our members, Women Give San Diego is granting $85,000 into our community to three vital community programs, supporting underserved women and girls in our community; The Southwestern College Micro-enterprise Family Childcare Program, Casa Cornelia and the Women's Resource Center. 

On March 6th our members gathered to celebrate, honor and learn more about our three grantees. This special event was purposefully held at the Women's Museum of California in Liberty Station whose mission is to educate and inspire present and future generations about the experiences and contributions of women collecting, preserving and interpreting the evidence of that experience. 

As members mingled, they also enjoyed delicious food graciously provided by Ganosh Gourmet. Owner, Wendy Sanger McGuire focuses her business on bringing home-made, health food to your home or office and  turning hunger into happiness. 

The program to introduce our new grant partners was filled with stories from women whose lives have been transformed by the programs that these organizations provide. As usual, you could have heard a pin drop in the room as our members listened to these stories with an open heart and tear-filled eyes.

In case you missed the program allow us to introduce to you our 2013 Grant Partners:

The Southwestern College Micro-enterprise Family Childcare Program creates economic self-sufficiency among socioeconomically disadvantaged Spanish-speaking women by providing no-cost certification courses on how to establish licensed childcare business in their own homes. Women Give support will ensure that approximately 30 women each semester (approximately 60 a year) are equipped for self-employment and entrepreneurship; their proven success also creates a ripple effect in the community, allowing other women with children to go to work.

Casa Cornelia provides pro bono legal services to indigent immigrant victims of human and civil rights violations, and to educate others regarding the impact of immigration law and policy on the public good. By removing barriers (poverty, abuse, fear) to quality legal representation, these women and their children are able to become independent of their abusive situation and enter the workforce and become engaged members of the community. Women Give funding will support approximately 
200 women and their families.

Based in North County, Women’s Resource Center’s Transition House provides a case-managed, supportive environment for victims of domestic violence and their children, where women are able to focus on employment training, budgeting, money management, life skills, counseling, on-site education, and other supportive services. Women Give support will ensure that approximately 50 and their children will move from shelter life to self-sufficiency in a safe, secure, stable living environment.

For more information on Women Give San Diego, our grant partners and community partners for this event please visit:

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Remembering June Tuttleman

It is with much sadness and heavy hearts we write to tell you that June Tuttleman, our dear friend and Women Give San Diego Founding President, passed away yesterday (Monday, October 29, 2012). June was comfortable, surrounded by family; she passed peacefully.

June was diagnosed with Glioblastoma Multiforme Stage IV in August 2011. She was truly an amazing brain warrior, maintaining a positive attitude, as she and her family pursued every possible treatment option. She beat the odds and was able to enjoy many family milestones including her daughter Sophie's graduation from NYU and her daughter Emma's 21st birthday!

As you know, June was the inspiration behind Women Give San Diego. Helping women was of paramount importance to June. She was deeply proud of what we have accomplished together - truly above and beyond any of her other remarkable philanthropic contributions.  We remain committed to carrying on June's legacy through our work to support women and girls in our community.

June also served in leadership roles for many organizations in San Diego and California, including the Women's Foundation of California, the United Jewish Federation of San Diego County, the Jewish Community Foundation of San Diego, the San Diego Jewish Women's Foundation, the Burnham Institute for Medical Research, and the Vision of Children. She was the Founding President of the Jewish Women's Foundation of San Diego, the past President of the San Diego United Jewish Federation Women's Division, the President of the Tuttleman Family Foundation, and the CFO of the San Diego Community Mikvah and Education Center.  

This summer, June was recognized as a 2012 UCSD Alumni Honoree, receiving the very prestigious Distinguished Leadership Award.

We know you join us in sending our warmest personal regards and deepest sympathy to June's husband, Craig Lambert, daughters Sophie and Emma, and the entire Tuttleman Lambert families. We will all miss June terribly. We are most grateful for the opportunity to have become friends with June and work with her in founding Women Give San Diego. We remain committed to continuing June's legacy, in particular, developing the June Tuttleman Mentorship Program.

June's compassion yet tenacious spirit will continue to shine through the glorious impact members have today - and every day. Thank you for joining us in continuing June's legacy.  We will continue to share any additional information we receive.

Warmest personal regards,

Linda & Gayle

P.S. Cards can be sent to Craig Lambert, or Sophie and Emma Tuttleman at:

7791 Starlight Drive 
San Diego, CA  92037

Friday, October 26, 2012

Giving Like a Girl- Shared Blog from Bright Funds

Sharing a blog from Bright Funds, which speaks to presence and force of women in philanthropy.

Women are the conduits through which change is made.
Women are progressively becoming a visible force on the philanthropic landscape as they challenge both the way we view giving and the notion of how much is appropriate to give. A 20ll study by the Women’s Philanthropy Institute at the University of Indiana suggests that women are 40 percent more likely to give to charities than their male counterparts. These gender studies in philanthropic giving indicate that Baby Boomers and older women give 156 percent more to charity than men.

In 2009, the Red Cross canvassed funding for its women’s program, the Tiffany Circle.  The first night of the campaign attracted  61 new members and raised a staggering $6 million in 30 seconds. Melanie Sabelhaus, a former administrator at the Small Business Administration who heads the Tiffany Circle, said “[N]ot one of the women picked up the phone and asked her husband.”

This growing autonomy among women presents a dynamic force within the economy. At the Women’s Philanthropy Institute Symposium in May 2009, Lisa Witter, the COO of Fenton Communications remarked, “When it comes to winning support or raising money for your cause, women are not a niche audience. They are the audience, because they vote, volunteer, and give to more organizations than men do.”
Witter indicated that savvy corporations, recognizing that women make 83 percent of all purchasing decisions, have begun to market directly to women. This deepening engagement with donation based works is changing the way nonprofits market to their potential donors.  “Non-profits can learn to do the same,” she said, “if marketers and nonprofits successfully reach women, they would get men on their side, too.”
In their book, Reinventing Fundraising: Realizing the Potential of Women’s Philanthropy,  Shawy-Hardy and Taylor note that this significant rise in female philanthropy requires  organizations to actively involve women.  The more women involved, the surer the campaign’s success.
So, why do women give more than men? One explanation accounts  that women score higher on traits such as empathy and caring, which are key motivators when contributing to philanthropy. Debra J. Mesch, director of the Women’s Philanthropy Institute owed this trend to “women being socialized [as] the caregivers of their families and communities.”  While men attribute their motivations in giving as practical (by funding organizations which make political change and taking advantage of tax deductions) , women describe their motive as an emotional obligation to help those in need.

As women galvanize the philanthropic sectors of the economy, it is critical that non-profits get them involved at every level.  As Christine Grumm, president and C.E.O. of the Women’s Funding Network, expressed, “Women are the conduits through which change is made.”

At Bright Funds, we believe in investing in a better world.   Whether your motivations be to help others, improve the environment, or fight poverty, we challenge you to create the changes you wish to see.
Zoe Bernard, Contributing Editor