Gates director headlines Foundation’s lunch


La Jolla resident started group to help women in need

Joyce Bontrager Lehman, program officer of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation’s Global Development Program, will be featured at the Foundation for Women’s 10th annual “Honoring the Women in Our Lives” luncheon Sept. 19 at Liberty Station.

La Jollan Deborah Lindholm also will be there to talk about her recent trip to Liberia, where she met with the nation’s president, Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, and the director of the foundation’s program there.

Lindholm, who started the foundation in 1997, said she has seen firsthand how it changes lives.

“Not only do we provide life-changing opportunities in regards to income, health care and education, we give women hope and the self-esteem to move beyond desperation,” she said.

“I just returned from Liberia, where I witnessed how just wearing a FFW T-shirt, made these women stand a foot taller, and think, ‘Yeah, I can do anything.’ That’s what our foundation is about.”

Lindholm said she took the idea for the luncheon tribute from a Colorado organization and altered it slightly. People pay a small fee to honor a woman who has made a difference in their lives. Their photos and a short piece about them are included in the event program.

“In addition to a significant allegiance to women, it also helps fund the programs in our organization,” Lindholm said.

Elena Cruz, director of the San Diego microcredit program, is also on the program, and Channel 10 anchorwoman Carol LeBeau is master of ceremonies.

San Diego FFW members will display the handmade products they make as part of the microcredit program.

“Honoring the Women in Our Lives”

Sept. 19, 11:30 a.m.

Liberty Station, NTC Promenade

2801 Rosecrans St. San Diego

RSVP by Sept. 12 at (858) 483-0440 or