Charlene Seidle is vice president of philanthropy for the Jewish Community Foundation of San Diego. She oversees the foundation's grant-making programs and directs the Jewish Women's Foundation and Philanthropy Connections program. Through her positions on various committees, she plays a key role in community planning and oversight. Seidle also manages the foundation's relationship with the Leichtag Family Foundation, a private foundation facilitated by the staff at the JCF.
She has worked at the foundation since 1997 when she joined as a student intern. Over the years, she has held increasing responsibility serving as director of donor services and associate director. Seidle holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from UCSD.
What brought you to La Jolla?
Frozen pipes. I was six. My parents were living in Philadelphia at the time and completely unhappy with the frigid cold that they were not at all used to, being natives of Southern Africa. They bought a book called “The Best Places to Live in America.” In 1984, San Diego topped the list. A single January day clinched the deal! I’ve ridden the coattails of their adventurousness ever since.
If you could snap your fingers and have it done, what might you add, subtract or improve in the area?
No more parking tickets.
Who or what inspires you?
All the people who I have the privilege of meeting every day — of all means, backgrounds and ages — who work quietly behind the scenes to make a difference in the world.
If you hosted a dinner party for eight, whom (living or deceased) would you invite?
My list would feature T.S. Eliot, Harper Lee, Bill Clinton, Nelson Mandela, my La Jolla High School English teacher Mr. Dorman, my great-grandmother Esther Reiff (who was one of the first women at the University of Berlin and was kicked out for being Jewish and a socialist), and Edith Wharton and Dominick Dunne who will both record it all.
Tell us about what you are reading.
“The Madonnas of Echo Park,” by Brando Skyhorse. This should be required reading in California.
What are your five, favorite films?
“Wings of the Dove,” “Monsoon Wedding,” “The Syrian Bride,” “Dogma,” and “Exodus.”
What is your most-prized possession?
That would be a scrapbook that was my grandmother’s in the 1920s. I never met her, but she was quite the wild woman given the photos!
What do you do for fun?
Travel or, more frequently, read about travel.
Please describe your greatest accomplishment.
I hope it is yet to come.
What is your motto or philosophy of life?
Good reputations take years to build and seconds to destroy.