Diana, what drew you to become involved with Seedling?
“I’ve been with Seedling as a board member for nearly three years now. I was introduced to it by my children’s elementary school principal, (my children are now adults), who spoke about the mentoring program so glowingly that I couldn’t say no! I was invited to come learn about its mission in mentoring children challenged by parental incarceration and was drawn to helping students/ families in this unfortunate situation by supporting advocacy efforts and fundraising both in the community and to my friends.”
What inspires you to donate to Seedling as your charity of choice?
“I donate as part of my board member stewardship, but I also find different and creative ways for contribution opportunities and to bring more people into the Seedling family. This past year when I had a birthday party to celebrate with friends and family, I suggested that attendees donate to Seedling in lieu of gifts. Many people had not heard of Seedling so it helped to bring awareness to a whole new group of potential members and supporters!”
“Another unique opportunity presented itself over a glass of wine with my good friend Tom Gilliland, owner of Fonda San Miguel restaurant. He and his business partner, Miguel Ravago, were holding their 40th year anniversary of their signature, private event, The Monster Ball. They throw this party in appreciation of their customer patronage each year, but this one was special. We talked about plans, and he discussed recognizing a deserving nonprofit as part of the event. He asked me to help in this effort and I suggested Seedling Foundation and another nonprofit. Guests made donations as part of the party proceedings, and $10,000 was raised and split between Seedling and the other nonprofit. “It takes a village to raise a child,” and outreach efforts like these help cast the net farther and provide critical services to an often underserved and overlooked group of needy children.”
“I think that by investing on the front end, whether it’s $20, $100, $1000, or $10,000, we gain so much as a society by creating smarter and thriving future generations, rather than using even larger amounts of investment to fund prisons or crisis programs.”
What is your favorite part of being a Director on the Seedling Board?
“I like the efficiency of the meetings and the excellent fiduciary responsibility our board has to the organization. Seedling has a sustainable business model and up-to-date metrics. I also like the training delivery model that the staff provides to incoming mentors. It is one of the best informational and educational sessions I’ve attended in this area.”
“As an ‘ambassador’ for Seedling, I like to connect people to a great cause and Seedling is a class act organization that I’m honored to be leading with my fellow board members. A wonderful feature of our board meeting is hearing stories from our mentees and mentors. Their stories are the narrative that affirms our choice to focus on these children and they are also tributes to the life long power of mentoring.”
“While I’m not a currently a mentor due to other commitments, I do take my role as a board member as a great responsibility and like to think of myself as an ambassador and advocate for children in this program! There are many dedicated board members and staff who are so passionate about the mission and reaching out to help these children. Education is such a huge game changer for a child in many ways; confidence, self-esteem, social connectivity and economic impact. As a mentor, giving 30 minutes a week provides a lifetime of opportunities for a child and their family!”
What is your favorite Seedling event and why?
“I’ve seen the Austin’s Fab Five event grow from a conversation at one of our board meetings to a signature event in such a short time, and is truly my favorite event. It gives me an opportunity to invite friends and business colleagues to come learn about Seedling in a festive atmosphere. I’ve had friends donate and become mentors after experiencing this event!”
Diana, everyone can read your biography on the Seedling website, but is there something more that you would like to share?