Ten Questions: Philanthropist active in Tijuana, locally


Yolanda Walther-Meade is an active philanthropist and community catalyst in the Tijuana and San Diego communities. She has sat on the board of the University of San Diego since 1989, the board of governors of The University Club since 2001 and the board of the Center for U.S.-Mexican Studies at UCSD since 1997.

Walther-Meade has also been vice president and founder of the Fundación Internacional de la Comunidad, A.C. since 2000, the first community foundation in Baja California.

With her daughter, Yolanda S., she has served as co-chair of the Dos Aguilas/Two Eagles Binational Gala for the San Diego Natural History Museum since 2002.

The La Jolla resident is the mother of five accomplished adults and grandmother of six.

What brought you to La Jolla?

My late husband and I were looking for a vacation home, and I’ve been on vacation ever since.

What makes La Jolla special to you?

This is a wonderful place to be. I am sure that, like me, people appreciate the beautiful views, beaches, schools, the feeling of a small town, tight-knit and giving community.

I love the fact that I can go down to the Village and I have everything I could need: the post office, church and some shopping.

If you could snap your fingers and have it done, what might you add, subtract or improve in La Jolla?

I would add more parking, improve the in and out of La Jolla and add more security. I still miss the movie theater.

Who inspires you?

There are plenty of role models in our San Diego area, but three women living come to mind: Deborah Szekely, with her last dream come true, the New Americans Museum; former Sen. Lucy Killea, a mentor for many people; and Sister Sally Furay, former provost at USD, a great educator.

How do you juggle all the different philanthropic organizations with which you’re involved?

Definitely a color-coded calendar so I know right away what are my family or social responsibilities. A BlackBerry because I travel a lot. Organization is key in my life. When you have a mission in life, everything kind of falls into place.

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

Bob and Karen Hoehn, President Obama and Michelle, Darlene Shiley, Liam Neeson and Sidney Poitier.

What are you currently reading?

The anniversary edition of Fr. James Keller’s “You Can Change the World” and “The Piano Teacher” by Janice Lee.

What do you do for fun?

Anything that has to do with learning, like travel, theater, dancing and movies.

Describe your greatest accomplishment.

First of all, raising five successful and happy children and being part of their lives. Second, being part of the community and enjoying what I do.

What is your motto or philosophy of life?

Everything happens for a reason; try to learn and go on. I can’t live my children’s life, but I can try to do my best, and if I can share what God has given me, then I am happy.