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Catalyst Annual Conference 2022

Thursday, November 3, 2022 @ 9:30 am - 4:00 pm


Thursday, November 3, 2022
9:30 am - 4:00 pm
$50.00 – $350.00
Event Category:


San Ysidro Civic Center
212 W Park Avenue
San Diego, CA 92173 United States


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In this unique moment, what is required of us as funders? At our first in person conference in two years, “Here & Now” is a deep dive into the relationships we hold with one another, the communities we fund, and our region. What informs the decisions we make as funders to invest time and capital? What does it truly mean to build trust? How do we build new relationships, nurture existing ones, and expand our thinking about the investments we make?

Dr. Carmen Rojas, President & CEO of the Marguerite Casey Foundation, will join us as a keynote speaker. As a funder herself, Dr. Rojas will share her unique perspective on the power and position of funders, and where our impact is most necessary.

We will spend our day in San Ysidro, a microcosm of the intersections and complex issues our region faces: what happens there reverberates throughout our region in powerful ways. Join us for an immersive day of learning in partnership with Casa Familiar, a leading service and community development organization in San Ysidro, to explore what it means for all of us, living in the transborder communities of San Diego and Imperial Counties.

Come ready to celebrate! Join us at our Block Party after the closing to enjoy drinks, snacks, and networking with your peers, sponsored by Blair Search Partners.

Special offer! Public transportation is an important tool for equitable access in San Diego and a key environmental concern. Support local systems and reduce your carbon footprint by taking public transportation or carpooling with fellow attendees to get a ticket for an exclusive opportunity drawing.

Safety Protocols

With the safety of our community in mind, we utilize a standard set of protocols for all in-person events. We ask all participants to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 (waived for religious or medical exemptions) and to wear masks indoors. Please view our safety protocol in full here.

These protocols are subject to change based on county guidelines.

If you require any accommodations to fully participate in this program, please contact [email protected].

Scroll down for an event map

9:00am: Registration & breakfast

9:30am: Welcome & Keynote with Dr. Carmen Rojas

11:00am: Morning breakout sessions

  • Political determinants of health and supporting people’s fight for the right to thrive
  • Data as a path towards illumination, inspiration, and accountability

12:30pm: Lunch

  • Curated vendor market
  • Sound bath
  • Tour of The FRONT Gallery
  • Connection with peers

1:45pm: Afternoon breakout sessions

  • Sustaining social changeA thriving ecosystem of land, communitieseconomies, and organizations
  • Unlocking the power of transformative narrative change

3:15pm: “Death Has Butterfly Wings” Performance and Closing Remarks

4:00pm: Block party!

Click here for full speaker biographies.


Dr. Carmen Rojas

President & CEO, Marguerite Casey Foundation

Welcome & Land Acknowledgement

Lisa Cuestas

President & CEO, Casa Familiar

Paul Cuero

Cultural Icon, The Campo Kumeyaay Nation

Political Determinants of Health and Supporting People’s Fight for the Right to Thrive

Alejandra Perez

External Affairs Manager, San Ysidro Health

Ana Melgoza

Vice President of External Affairs, San Ysidro Health

Arcela Nunez-Alvarez

Co-Founder & Co-Director, Universidad Popular

Bernice Paipa

Chairwoman, Iipay Nation of Santa Ysabel

Data as a Path Towards Illumination, Inspiration, and Accountability

Andrew Strong

Director, County of San Diego, Office of Equity and Racial Justice

Kim Desmond

Chief of Race & Equity, City of San Diego

Stephen Minix

Senior Director Community Strategy, UpMetrics

Sustaining Social Change: A Thriving Ecosystem of Land, Communities, Economies, and Organizations

Christina Snider

Tribal Affairs Secretary to Governor Newsom

Ginger Hitzke

Developer, Hitzke Development

Kris Lin Bronner

Executive Director, Dr. Bronner’s Family Foundation

Lisa Cuestas

President & CEO, Casa Familiar

Vino Pajanor

CEO, Catholic Charities Diocese of San Diego

Unlocking the Power of Transformative Narrative Change 

Andrea Guerrero

Executive Director, Alliance San Diego

Emily Burgueno

Head Seed Keeper, Maat Hetemii

Joey Espinoza

Outreach Supervisor, Imperial Valley LGBT Resource Center

Omar Lopex

Director, Standard Fantastic Pictures

Rosa Diaz

CEO, Imperial Valley LGBT Resource Center

Vince Pollizzi

Program Manager, Imperial Valley LGBT Resource Center


Ianne Celeste Rivera

Embodiment Composer, One Thread LLC

Throughout the day, attendees will have two opportunities to break out into smaller groups to dive deeper into the topics below: 

11:00AM – 12:15PM

Topical Session: Political determinants of health and supporting people’s fight for the right to thrive

Description: If “health” conjures images of sterile rooms, fluorescent lights, and waiting in doctors’ offices, this session is for you. Join the conversation to get energized by a new definition of health that takes into account all the elements of a person’s life that impact their health and how they can have a hand in improving those conditions. In particular, we will discuss civic engagement – voting, volunteering, social organizing – as essential, not only for the health of democracy but for the health of all people. You will gain insight into health-centered community engagement strategies and the key role of advocacy and cross-sector collaboration in demanding resources for disinvested communities.  

Skills Session: Data as a path towards illumination, inspiration, and accountability

Description: Data is a vital part of the funding journey: we want to see proof that our impact is working. However, are there blind spots or poorly lit areas in the collective understanding we have of our own sector? How do the questions we ask ourselves as funders differ from those we ask of grantees and why? One of data’s greatest uses should be as a tool to empower and enlighten. Data can augment our work by helping us build relationships and a more thorough and transparent accounting of how our grantmaking and investments are supporting community-led work. This session explores how funders can build trust and shared value, while also meeting accountability needs when discussing data and metrics with community partners. We’ll see a concrete example of co-designed data collection and how it was used to show and build impact, and discuss how your work could incorporate these concepts.  

1:45 PM – 3:00 PM

Topical Session: Sustaining social change: A thriving ecosystem of land, communities, economies, and organizations

Description: What does sustainability mean to you? Recognizing the connectivity of people and place, this session will explore opportunities to move beyond the notion that sustainability is solely in relation to our environment and the structures and systems we create and perpetuate. How do we move towards stronger relational and regenerative strategies for community health, wealth, and prosperity? Speakers will describe how they have approached a balanced and more equitable conception of sustainability that includes community ownership of land and property, investing in the skills and wellness of people, and what funding looks like in these situations.  

Skills Session: Unlocking the power of transformative narrative change

Description: Oppressive systems and structures continue to exist, not only through policy and politics, but through the power of language, symbols, and culture. Through the power to define and control narratives, public perceptions and norms are created that shape both how we think and how communities are viewed, treated, and funded. Changing these narratives requires altering not just words but attitudes, perspectives, and behavior – and that takes time. The work of social change happens within, and is influenced by, the stories people tell about themselves, their strengths, and their communities. This session seeks to impart the idea that funding work in narrative change is an essential element for social change. It will also require us to rethink our assumptions and understandings about narrative and cultural change to explore how funders can help build a new story that supports our diverse and thriving region.





Capdevilla Gillespie Foundation

Association of Fundraising Professionals

The Nonprofit Institute

Get ready to celebrate!

We are so excited to be together, in-person for the first time in two years. Join us after the conference for a cultural performance, “Death Has Butterfly Wings,” and a Block Party to celebrate, connect with peers, and enjoy drinks and snacks.

Photo of Luna Kali Beltran performing “Death Has Butterfly Wings”

“Death Has Butterfly Wings” is a performance with live music, performative dance, and digital imagery, invites the audience to musically experience Día de los Muertos. Through the story of a monarch butterfly that carries the souls of those who have passed, we are reminded that life is a network of endless possibilities.

The Block Party will be held outside of the Living Rooms at The Border, a 13,469 square-foot mixed-use project with 10 units of affordable housing and Casa Familiar’s immigration services.

Special thank you to our Block Party Sponsor:

How do I get to the conference?

Here & Now will take place in several spaces operated by our partner Casa Familiar in the heart of San Ysidro. We highly encourage carpooling and the use of public transportation.

Attendees who carpool or use the trolley will be entered into a special opportunity drawing!

Trolley Station:

Public transportation changes lives: 70% of San Diego community members can’t access jobs on public transit and fast and frequent transit isn’t available for 93% of San Diego’s low-income residents. Help us support and promote a stronger public transit system by taking the trolley to Beyer Boulevard, a two-block walk from Casa Familiar. Learn more about the importance of public transportation in our region.

If choosing to use the trolley, you can easily park at the Iris Avenue trolley station (3120 Iris Avenue, 92154) and then take the trolley one stop to the Beyer Boulevard trolley station, which is two blocks away from the San Ysidro Civic Center (registration and start of the conference).

Parking Options

There are several parking options near the San Ysidro Civic Center. We would encourage you to first keep your eyes out for street parking, given there should be many spaces available nearby the conference center. If you cannot find street parking, you can try parking at the following locations:

    1. Casa Familiar Parking Lot (133 Cypress Drive, 92173): There is space for approximately 50 cars in the Casa Familiar Parking Lot, off of Cypress Drive and Blanche Street. (3-minute walk to San Ysidro Civic Center).
    2. San Ysidro Senior Center Parking Lot (129 W. Park, 92173): Depending on availability there may be 10 open parking spaces in the lot nearby the San Ysidro Senior Center (3-minute walk to San Ysidro Civic Center).
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