La Jollan Doug Dawson elected board chairman of Ronald McDonald House Charities of San Diego

Ronald McDonald House Charities of San Diego’s board of trustees has elected longtime La Jolla resident Doug Dawson, executive director of the Ellen Browning Scripps Foundation, as chairman of its board. Additional appointments include Wendy Newman as vice chair, Christina de Vaca as secretary, and Daniel Grimmer as treasurer.

Dawson began his involvement with the charity’s board in November 2009. A retired senior executive at financial institutions including Union Bank and Bank of America, Dawson is an established leader in San Diego’s philanthropic community. For forty years, Dawson has served as executive director of the Ellen Browning Scripps Foundation. He has served on numerous nonprofit boards across San Diego County. Currently, he serves on the boards of the San Diego Zoo Foundation, La Jolla Playhouse, Torrey Pines State Reserve, La Jolla Historical Society, and on the advisory boards of Scripps Memorial Hospital, Scripps Clinic and Scripps Green Hospital. An advocate for public libraries, Dawson is the president of the board of the Friends of the La Jolla Library. He is the recipient of the Association for Fundraising Professional’s 1993 National Philanthropy Day San Diego “Outstanding Fundraising Volunteer” award and has served on the board of that organization for many years.

“Ronald McDonald House Charities of San Diego is a great organization with a truly compelling mission, and I look forward to doing all I can to strengthen it to meet the current and future needs of San Diego families with children in medical crises,” said Dawson.

Carmel Valley resident Wendy Newman was reelected as vice chair of the board of trustees for Ronald McDonald House Charities of San Diego, where she has been a board member since May 2007. Newman is senior vice president of marketing for AMN Healthcare, where she is responsible for the corporate marketing and communications strategy for the nation’s largest healthcare staffing and workforce solutions company. Her more than 25 years experience in the healthcare field includes positions as program development director for Women First HealthCare, Inc., education coordinator of Prevention and Early Detection Programs at Scripps Health and at MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Texas, and as a consultant for Methodist Hospital in Houston. Her passion and commitment to disease prevention and cure and support services led Wendy to her position on the board of directors for the National Association for Women’s Health. Locally, she has served on the board of directors for the American Melanoma Foundation and the advisory board of the Scripps Breast Care Center.

Christina de Vaca was chosen as secretary of the board of trustees for Ronald McDonald House Charities of San Diego, where she has been a board member since January 2010. de Vaca is the director of the Master of Science in Executive Leadership (MSEL) program at the School of Business Administration of the University of San Diego, where she is responsible for strategic development and implementation of the MSEL program, as well as its leadership development and executive education. Her background includes senior executive positions in operations, administration and governance. She has also served as a governance and communications advisor to chief executive officers of public and nonprofit organizations. A resident of Carmel Valley, de Vaca is a member of the governance practices committee and the small and mid-cap companies task force of the Society of Corporate Secretaries and Governance Professionals based in New York City. She chairs the programs committee for the Corporate Directors Forum in San Diego, where she is also a member of the executive committee and board of directors.

Encinitas resident Daniel Grimmer has been elected treasurer of the board of trustees for Ronald McDonald House Charities of San Diego. Grimmer is the operations supervisor for a group of four McDonald’s restaurants in San Diego County. He oversees daily operations to ensure profitability and manages reinvestment plans, in addition to overseeing technology upgrades for the restaurants. Grimmer brings a valuable small business perspective to the charity, as well as experience in hospitality and government affairs. Previous to his work in the family McDonald’s business, Grimmer was a government affairs manager for MGM Mirage in Nevada. Grimmer has served on the operations committee for the Ronald McDonald House of San Diego for three years, and as a board member, he will now chair the operations and finance committees. Grimmer also acts as a liaison between the strong community of San Diego County McDonald’s owner-operators and their charity of choice, Ronald McDonald House Charities of San Diego.

Founded in 1980, Ronald McDonald House Charities of San Diego provides a “home away from home” to families with children being treated for serious, often life-threatening conditions at local hospitals. The Ronald McDonald House of San Diego features 47 guest suites and a Family Care Center that’s open to anyone with a child in an area hospital, not just overnight guests. The new facility serves nearly 20,000 family members each year with a range of programs including lodging, meals, enrichment activities, computer access, recreational facilities, and more. To learn more, visit www.rmhcsd.org.

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