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Meet Kathlyn Mead

The San Diego Foundation's new CEO talks volunteering, Millennials, and life in Escondido
The San Diego Foundation

By Christina Orlovsky Page

Meet Kathlyn Mead

Meet Kathlyn Mead

Kathlyn Mead

What are the biggest trends in philanthropy right now?

First is the desire and need to be strategic in gift-giving. Philanthropists are asking what is the bigger purpose and how is their gift going to be impactful. Then, it’s the Millennials, who are getting information in new and different ways through all manners of electronic means: Facebook, Twitter, blogging. Our goal has to be not to tell our own story, but to have these young people tell of giving their time and experience, and as they mature, how their giving goals are going to mature with them.

What are your plans for the San Diego Foundation?

I have three initial goals: To preserve all the good work that has been done over the past 39 years; to get to know and build relationships with the San Diego Foundation’s supporters and learn who else we can bring into the fold; and to ensure our convening, education, and public program initiatives are guided by “Our Greater San Diego Vision”: learning, jobs, affordable housing, and enjoyment of our community assets.

What inspires you most about your new role?

I feel like I’ve prepared my whole life for this job. When you look at my career—education, health care, and philanthropy—they’re all about giving of yourself and ensuring people live healthy, successful lives. It’s energizing to work with this staff and the community. It moves me to see families inspiring their children and grandchildren into philanthropy. It gives me hope that we are growing a community that wants to

give back.

“It moves me to see families inspiring their children and grandchildren into philanthropy.”

What do you think will be your greatest initial challenges?

Honestly, the biggest challenge is to step into Bob Kelly’s shoes. He was president and CEO for 20 years and he poured himself into developing this organization and key relationships. It will be challenging to be worthy of sitting in this seat and continuing the work. Then it’s tackling some of the biggest challenges our community defined in “Our Greater San Diego Vision.”

You’re from Escondido. What is your favorite thing about your community?

My family (husband, son, and two daughters) has lived in San Diego for 20 years, all of them in North County. We love everything we’re able to do: Lake Hodges and its miles of trails, the California Center for the Arts in Escondido and the culture it brings to the community, and the San Diego Zoo’s Safari Park, which draws families from throughout the region. There are so many jewels.

Meet Kathlyn Mead

The San Diego Foundation

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