SD Foundation expands civic engagement effort

The San Diego Foundation recently announced the establishment of the Malin Burnham Center for Civic Engagement, advancing the foundation’s effort to find solutions to community issues.

The idea behind the center is to create a movement of people coming together to solve problems, Bob Kelly, president and CEO of the Foundation, said in a recent interview.

The hope is that the center will serve “as the hub of civic leadership for San Diego — a place that generates information and ideas, spurs vigorous conversations about San Diego’s future, helps launch ambition initiatives and contributes to the development of action plans,” a press release announcing the center states.

Named for one of the county’s better known business and civic leaders, the center will afford county residents an opportunity to become part of the process, Kelly said.

Burnham, a Point Loma resident, has shown his philanthropic nature through the Burnham Foundation, the Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute and the countless positions on boards, committees and as a volunteer for multiple organizations.

He established a $5 million endowment to help underwrite the civic engagement effort. The San Diego Foundation will also provide operational funding for it.

“I believe that if we each embody a commitment to community before self, we enhance our communities; we see safer neighborhoods and create a prosperous region,” he said in the release. “My hope is that the Center for Civic Engagement creates an epicenter for the convening of nonprofits, businesses, foundations, community leaders and government agencies to address the issues of our region.”

Bob Dynes, former president of the University of California and a former UCSD chancellor, is chairman of the center, which expects to hire a director by the end of the year.

The San Diego Foundation is in the midst of an effort they’re calling “Our Greater San Diego Vision” initiative, engaging residents in developing “a vision plan and roadmap for our region’s future to create positive change,” said Jennifer Adams-Brooks, who chairs the foundation.