Entries in Regional (5)


Wildflower Festival at Sunol Regional Wilderness

Little Yosemite

This weekend, I attend the Spring Wildflower Festival at Sunol Regional Wilderness. Activities included naturalist-led hikes, crafts, music, and nature activities. I was super excited for the ethnobotany hike, but unfortunately, I didn't make it to the site in time. There's always next year!

I posted several observations on iNaturalist that I came across on the Little Yosemite and McCorkle Trails. Special thanks to the East Bay Parks Regional District for the fun afternoon!

Here are three highlights from the day:

Castilleja exserta

Suborder Sauria

McCorkle Trail


Educational Tall Ship Sets Sail

This weekend, I celebrated the launch of the Matthew Turner, an educational tall ship build entirely from wood and constructed over the past four years entirely by volunteers. I was honored to serve on the board of directors of the Educational Tall Ship in its earliest days and it's a project with special importance to me personally. 

As a result of my volunteer service to the board, I was able to get to know Alan Olson, the visionary man behind the idea to build this ship to connect young people to the water-- “We want them to learn about the powers of nature, like the wind and the sea” -- I applaud his vision and success as an transformative force for future generations in the Bay Area. 

Watch this informative video about the project and be sure to see the ship near the Bay Model in Sausalito!


Welcome, BABS! 

Image from

Bay Area Bike Share arrives

After enjoying recent vacations with the Vélib' in Paris and Nice Ride Minnesota in the Twin Cities, I have been eager for the Bay Area to start a bike sharing program. After walking past a station instillation in Downtown San Francisco today, I immediately joined BABS, the Bay Area Bike Share program!

Starting on August 29th, the region’s bike sharing system will launch with 700 bikes and 70 stations across the region, with locations in San Francisco, Redwood City, Mountain View, Palo Alto, and San Jose. The program is intended to provide Bay Area residents and visitors with an additional transportation option for getting around the region, in a fun, easy, and affordable way.

The system consists of a fleet of specially designed, heavy-duty, very durable bikes that are locked into a network of docking stations located throughout a region. Bay Area bikes can be rented from and returned to any station in the system, creating an efficient network with many possible combinations of start and end points. With hundreds of bikes at stations along the peninsula, the system will be available for use 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. 

The Bay Area Bike Share is a pilot project in a partnership among local government agencies including the Bay Area Air Quality Management District, San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency, Sam-Trans, Caltrain, County of San Mateo, City of Redwood City, and the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority.

Grab your helmet, join today, and let's race! 


Cultivating New Community Leaders

Full Circle Fund logo


New Full Circle Fund Members, July 2011

After three consecutive weeks of attending Full Circle Fund events on any given night – and another event on my calendar for next week – it’s clear to me that this is an organization that I need to tell others about.

There are a few reasons I’m involved with Full Circle Fund that map directly to my core values: community, contribution, and camaraderie. Or, to use another alliteration, I value impact, investment, and inspiration. So please indulge me to align the alliterations and say more about each.

Community and Impact

First, an introduction from the website: “Full Circle Fund is an engaged philanthropy organization cultivating the next generation of community leaders and driving lasting social change in the Bay Area. Full Circle Fund members leverage their time, money, skills and connections to the service of nonprofits, businesses and government agencies in partnerships that result in significant impact on the community.”

Although I’ve come across many civic and social organizations that seem to be a platform for elitism and exclusivity, Full Circle Fund is the kind of philanthropic group that directly engages in the community – and by that I mean, the place where its members live and work across a wide region in the Bay Area. I’ve always been struck by the phrase “think globally, act locally,” and it makes sense to me that we can all do much to improve the immediate needs that surround us.

But in addition to occupying or pursuing an occupation in any given area, Full Circle Fund members participate in an organization that values substantive change.  Even with an acknowledgement that we cannot do everything for everyone, our members come together because we believe that we can make a contribution that is meaningful and measurable.

"Impact” a buzz word that I hear often in the nonprofit sector, but usually it means something that is pre-defined. Sometimes it leads to square pegs in round holes. At Full Circle Fund, “impact” can mean many things, including innovations unknown. We are willing to look at our community and make a difference – or take a chance – that matters. If we leave our grantees better than when we’ve found them, we’ve done our best to contribute to positive change. Risk does have results, intentionally for the better.

Contribution and Investment

Second, Full Circle Fund members each have a stake in the outcomes. Instead of only writing a check to a grantee, we engage with nonprofits through strategic partnerships. I’ve often been told that philanthropy includes contributions of “time, talent, and treasure” and it's clear to me that Full Circle Fund members give it all. The combination personal, social and financial resources is powerful. Each member contributes a bit of each.

And let me be clear, as much as I admire the time and talent of members, there is a financial contribution that gives each member of the group a fiscal stake. Full Circle Fund is not a charity; it’s a venture philanthropy partnership.

Camaraderie and Inspiration

Finally, the members are the best part. As a nonprofit professional, my work-related circles are somewhat limited. At Full Circle Fund, I learn from people that don’t do the same things as me professionally or personally. Many of us are leaders in our respective areas, but a big part of the investments we pursue are based on a collaborative spirit. Full Circle Fund is a place where bankers talk to lawyers, that talk to techies and social entrepreneurs, that talk to nonprofit leaders and public servants. We have much to learn from one another.

And, I admire the sense of leadership that each member exemplifies. “Cultivating new community leaders” is the true essence of our membership. Quarterly Inspiring Leaders Series Events feature speakers who are experts in a social change field. The series provides an opportunity to learn from compelling visionaries, develop leadership and teamwork skills, share best practices, report on grant project milestones, and celebrate team successes.

In conversation with Bill Draper at the "Inspiring Leaders Series" eventA while back, I attended a series event with Bill Draper, co-founder of Draper Richards LP, a venture capital fund that invests in early-stage technology companies in the U.S. and founder Draper Investment Company. He also is co-founder of the Draper Richards Foundation, which invests in entrepreneurs starting new non-profit organizations. Run much like a venture capital fund, in addition to financial support, the foundation also provides expert guidance and coaching to its fellows and fosters their growth from a start-up non-profit to a successful venture.

At the event, he told us about his experiences in venture capital and venture philanthropy. He shared insights about success in each area, but also how the two are not necessarily mutually-exclusive. Investment skills can transfer across sectors – and better yet – they require a wise investor. And a talented investor in any area is skillful with their resources. At this event, I learned that innovation is not just thinking outside the box; it’s thinking across boxes and beyond.


Community and impact; contribution and investment; camaraderie and inspiration: Full Circle Fund has it all.

Partners in Philanthropy

Watch a video about Full Circle Fund:



As a recent addition to the steering committee of Emerging Practitioners in Philanthropy (EPIP) — Bay Area Chapter, I’ve promised to promote membership and involvement in this helpful professional development organization.

The mission of Emerging Practitioners in Philanthropy is to strengthen the next generation of grant-makers, in order to advance effective social justice philanthropy.


EPIP works toward its mission through the following programs:

  • We organize unique Networking opportunities for our constituents through local chapters and national meeting spaces (both virtual and in-person).
  • We develop the Leadership skills and analysis of our members for successful engagement in the workplace and the broader philanthropic field.
  • We build an Advocacy voice for our generation aimed at transforming philanthropy, and strengthening the pipeline for young people into social change careers.


EPIP members are professionals at foundations, government and corporate grant-making entities, and philanthropy support organizations (such as regional associations of grantmakers, affinity groups, and financial advisory firms). Some members are foundation trustees, or donors involved in giving circles and other forms of organized giving.

Feel free to contact me if you’re interested in becoming a member!

Philanthropology: EPIP 2011 National Conference

The 2011 Conference theme statement is Philanthropology - Understanding Foundations, Democracy and Power Across the Generations. Philanthropology is EPIP's unique curricular resource for learning philanthropy.

The conference is organized into four main learning tracks, according to the modules of Philanthropology:

Understanding Philanthropy

Exploring the history, trends, knowledge and systems that shape the foundation community

Social Impact

Sharing cutting-edge ideas and practices that help philanthropy to effectively bring about social change

Managing Power Dynamics

Successfully navigating the roles, relationships, and perspectives of trustees, foundation professionals, and grantees

Generations in Philanthropy

Gaining insight into the lessons-learned, strategies and challenges of foundation leaders across generations

Each track will be composed of workshops developed and delivered by EPIP, our members, colleagues and partner organizations

In addition to workshops, plenary sessions will anchor the tracks with high-level keynote speakers, panelists and performances, including:

Ana Marie Argilagos, Deputy Assistant Secretary, Office of International and Philanthropic Innovation, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development

Daniel Lee, Executive Director, Levi Strauss Foundation

Emmett D. Carson, President and Chief Executive Officer, Silicon Valley Community Foundation

Gabriel Kasper, Practitioner, Monitor Institute

Jennifer Ladd, Co-Founder, Class Action

Nat Williams, Executive Director, The Hill-Snowdon Foundation

Pamela David, Executive Director, Walter and Elise Haas Fund

Pamela Freeman, Associate, Class Action

Rob Collier, President and CEO, The Council of Michigan Foundations

Sherece West, President and CEO, Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation

Sterling Speirn, President and Chief Executive Officer, W. K. Kellogg Foundation

Suzanne Immerman, Special Assistant to the Secretary / Director of Philanthropic Engagement, U.S. Department of Education

Terry Odendahl, Chief Executive Officer, Global Greengrants Fund

Urvashi Vaid, former Executive Director, The Arcus Foundation


Be sure to register TODAY for the full conference and 10th Anniversary Gala!

Check-out this video of highlights from EPIP 2010 National Conference: