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10 QUESTIONS: Rebecca Newman raises cash, awareness to help organizations grow

Rebecca Newman
Rebecca Newman
( / Courtesy)

Rebecca Newman was named Outstanding Developmental Professional and will be honored at San Diego’s 43rd annual National Philanthropy Day celebration Nov. 9 at Hilton San Diego Bayfront. She was nominated by the Salk Institute for Biological Studies, where she serves as Vice President of External Relations and has been instrumental in an increase of some 40 percent in private giving since she arrived there in 2008.

Newman engaged the community through the Chihuly at Salk art exhibition, the Explore Salk open house and the Salk Science & Music Series. The six-year Campaign for Salk effort she led surpassed its $300 million goal one year early.

Newman came to Salk in 2008 from UCSD, which she joined in 2001 to assist in the completion of the Cancer Center Capital Campaign and where she worked to become Associate Vice Chancellor, Development. During her tenure, she made many contributions to the university’s fundraising program, personally securing more than $100 million in gifts – among them the naming gifts for new schools and facilities. She led efforts to enhance the relationships of faculty with the donor community through a philanthropy-training program, the creation of salon events, and the establishment of advisory boards.

Newman has served as president of United Jewish Communities and national chair for the United Jewish Appeal Women’s Campaign. She was also campaign chair and president of the United Jewish Federation of San Diego and is a former board member of the Jewish Community Foundation and the San Diego National Bank Business Advisory Council. She has lent her expertise to help design, fund and implement relief programs in Argentina, Cuba, Israel and former Soviet republics.

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What brought you to La Jolla?

As a San Diego resident for more than 40 years, I’ve always enjoyed spending time in La Jolla. I began coming to La Jolla on a daily basis when I started at UCSD in 2001.

What might you add, subtract or improve in the area?

I would improve access in and out of the Village and reduce traffic on Genesee Avenue and the Mesa.

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Who or what inspires you?

I find inspiration from my work colleagues, my friends, my family and the wide-eyed wonder of my grandchildren.

If you hosted a dinner party for eight, whom (living or deceased) would you invite?

I am fortunate to have interesting friends and they make the best dinner companions. For a celebrity dinner, the invitees would include Shimon Peres, Robert Redford, Hillary Clinton, Walter Cronkite, Julia Child and Barbara Walters.

What are your five favorite movies of all time? OR What are you currently reading?

Classics: “Gone with the Wind,” “Rebecca” and “Casablanca”

Contemporary: “Annie Hall,” “The Sting,” “Schindler’s List,” “Ordinary People,” “Fargo,” to name a few.

I love to read — mostly nonfiction. This summer: “The Nightingale,” “The Children Act,” “The Girl on the Train,” and the combination of “Pride and Prejudice” and “Longbourn.”

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What is it that you most dislike?

Being over-scheduled, not having time to appreciate the here and now.

What do you do for fun?

Travel, read, exercise and cook.

What would be your dream vacation?

I have been fortunate to travel extensively. My “dream vacations” now are trips with my family to Mexico, Hawaii or wherever the grandkids want to go.

What clothing item in your closet will you never part with?

My walking shoes.

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What is your motto?

Per aspera ad astra — Through striving to the stars!