Women of Dedication: Four La Jollans are honored for their community service

Clockwise from top left, Kimberly Alessio, Martha Dennis, Janice Kurth and Cindy Goodman
Clockwise from top left, La Jolla residents Kimberly Alessio, Martha Dennis, Janice Kurth and Cindy Goodman have been named 2023 Women of Dedication by The Salvation Army Women’s Auxiliary.
(Courtesy photos)

Kimberly Alessio, Martha Dennis, Cindy Goodman and Janice Kurth are among 12 women being recognized by The Salvation Army Women’s Auxiliary on Friday, April 21.


Four La Jolla residents will be honored for their contributions to the greater San Diego area at this week’s 57th annual Salvation Army Women’s Auxiliary Women of Dedication luncheon.

The event on Friday, April 21, themed “Hearts of Gold: Women Who Inspire,” will honor 12 women from across San Diego County at the Marriott Marquis San Diego Marina hotel.

Women of Dedication are selected annually by past honorees, according to women’s auxiliary coordinator Pamela Lennen.

The Women of Dedication selection committee collects nominations and reviews the nominees’ years of service and the organizations they’ve served, along with attributes such as volunteerism and philanthropy.

The committee then chooses the top 12.

Here are the La Jollans selected this year:

Kimberly Alessio

Kimberly Alessio is president of Patrons of the Prado, a nonprofit that raises funds for institutions at San Diego’s Balboa Park and educational programs granting area children access to the institutions.

“I look at all these fabulous women who have received it in the past and … I don’t feel like I’ve really ever done that much other say yes to things,” Alessio said of her Women of Dedication honor.

Alessio’s service roster has “pretty much followed the life of my children,” she said, starting with Gillispie School in La Jolla, where she was on the board of trustees.

Alessio then became involved with local Girl Scout and Boy Scout organizations and Francis Parker School in San Diego.

She served with La Jolla-based philanthropy group Las Patronas for seven years and has worked to raise funds for students with food needs or other financial hardships.

Martha Dennis

“I’m so overwhelmed with The Salvation Army and what it does for our community,” said Martha Dennis. “That’s what blew me away. I had no idea how encompassing their work is.”

Dennis’ work also is encompassing — from serving on the advisory boards of the UC San Diego Rady School of Management and the university’s Jacobs School of Engineering to being an emerita board member of Harvey Mudd College in Claremont in Los Angeles County and inewsource, a San Diego-based nonprofit investigative news organization.

Dennis also is active with the Campaign Cabinet of the Timken Museum and the technology committee of the La Jolla Music Society and is a mentor for the Chairmen’s Roundtable, which helps San Diego businesses navigate email challenges.

She said she is inspired by how organizations like The Salvation Army “reach out into the community and get people involved, especially in this day and age when we need all the help we can get.”

“I’m so overwhelmed with The Salvation Army and what it does for our community. That’s what blew me away. I had no idea how encompassing their work is.”

— Martha Dennis

Cindy Goodman

Despite a wealth of community service roles under her belt, Cindy Goodman said she finds the Women of Dedication honor “humbling.”

“There are a lot more people I can think of that are very deserving,” she said. “I feel honored to be among these women who have done so much for the community.”

Goodman is a past president of Patrons of the Prado and The Charter 100, a networking organization for women.

She also is past president of the Rotary Club of La Jolla and remains heavily involved with the group, working to raise money for a La Jolla welcome sign at Torrey Pines Road and La Jolla Shores Drive.

Goodman also has served the San Diego Youth Symphony, La Jolla Playhouse and Armed Services YMCA.

Janice Kurth

Janice Kurth is a member of the Rotary Club of Del Mar and in 2015-16 was district governor for Rotary clubs in San Diego and Imperial counties.

Kurth currently manages local grants from more than 60 Rotary clubs in San Diego while also serving on the boards of the MiraCosta College Foundation and Girl Scouts San Diego. She recently was on the board of the San Diego Women’s Foundation.

“I was completely shocked” by the Women of Dedication honor, Kurth said.

“When you spend a lot of time volunteering … you don’t ... expect a lot of recognition,” she said. “When I look at the past recipients, I’m really honored to be a part of that group of recognized women.”

Kurth said she is driven by her desire to ensure access to educational opportunities. “Education is how we beat poverty,” she said. “So to help provide that opportunity for students is one of the best investments we can make in our future.” ◆