Del Mar resident is co-founder of a women’s donor circle

Linda Katz (Photo/Jon Clark)

By Arthur Lightbourn

After 30 years as a community volunteer and civic activist in San Diego, Linda Katz has come to a conclusion with a unique twist.

“With so many challenges facing the world,” the 57-year-old local resident says, “rather than focusing on what’s wrong and how can we fix it, I prefer to look at what’s right and how can we make more of it.”

Her most recent philanthropic endeavor is as co-founder of Women Give San Diego (WGSD) that provides grants to nonprofits in San Diego that are helping low-income women and girls achieve economic security and self-sufficiency.

WGSD is a newly formed donor circle of the Women’s Foundation of California, which for 30 years has been supporting and training women leaders and providing opportunities for hands-on community activism. It currently has nine donor circles throughout the state.

Local donor circles connected to larger philanthropic organizations, such as the Women’s Foundation of California, are catching on across the country, Katz says. They have become a trend and model for effective, targeted philanthropy.

“While we need to think globally,” Katz added, “we need to act locally.”

Katz co-founded WGSD a year ago with La Jolla residents Gayle Tauber and founding president Jan Tuttleman.

They are convinced that when women and girls become thriving members of a community, their communities also thrive and do better.

With a growing membership of 78 women, the San Diego donor circle announced recently it is providing $46,000 in its first grant cycle to three local nonprofits committed to increasing the level of self-sufficiency and security among San Diego women and girls.

The grantees will receive the funding over a period of two years.

The organizations selected for funding are: Just in Time for Foster Youth and its program supporting young women in their transition from foster care to independent adulthood; Dress for Success, which assists low-income women find and retain jobs and build careers; and Supportive Parents Information Network (SPIN) promoting self-sufficiency through loan funding, banking opportunities and advocacy efforts.

In keeping with the organization’s determination to include women of every generation in their membership, 40 percent of WGSD members are under the age of 40. Members in their 20s are asked for a minimum gift of $250 a year; members in their 30s, $500 a year; and founding members $1,000 to $25,000 a year.

As a 501(c) (3) nonprofit, WGSD membership fees and donations are tax deductible.

Non-member donations are also welcome.

WGSD members, in addition to contributing money through their membership gifts, are also being encouraged to bring in their talents to the organization and to serve as volunteers and mentors with the nonprofit grantees selected for support.

Katz was born Linda Narramore in Phoenix, Arizona, where she grew up with two older brothers who “took really good care of me,” she said. Her father was a career-long executive with AT&T.

“My mom and my dad were always active in the community and I volunteered as a little girl with my mom. We were candy-stripers in a senior center and in hospitals. We were raised with the idea of how lucky we are and how fortunate with what has been given to us and how wonderful to have the ability to give back and share with others.”

At Arizona State University, she majored in textiles and clothing in business; and after college went into retail. She became a buyer for a department store where she met her husband, Mel Katz, who was also a buyer.

“We moved to San Diego from Scottsdale. My husband and his best friend bought a franchise here, Manpower, a temp help personnel agency. My husband’s business partner’s wife is my best friend. So the four of us rented a car and moved here 33 years ago.”

She worked for a time as a buyer for Bullock’s Department Store.

“When we had children, it wasn’t a particularly family-friendly field to stay in, having to work nights, holidays and weekends; so when we started a family, I chose community work as my career.”

She and her husband have three grown children. “They are all four years apart, (31, 27, and 23) and I tease that’s what 10 years on the Planned Parenthood board did for me: three children and nobody in college at the same time. Perfect family planning.”
Katz is also the founding president of The San Diego Women’s Foundation, and past board chair of Planned Parenthood of San Diego and Riverside Counties, LEAD San Diego, Senior Community Centers, and Children’s Hospital Auxiliary.

Asked what specifically prompted her to co-found Women Give San Diego, she said, after turning 50 and seeing the passing of a number of her good friends, she realized how special every single day is and how every day has to matter.

She also decided that she would only be involved with organizations and activities that fuel her “positive energy and bring out the best in me.”

“So, with limited resources and limited time, I have found that if I concentrate and dedicate myself to bettering the lives of women and girls, the world will be a little bit better, a little bit quicker.”

Katz believes there are all sorts of reasons why women should be involved in philanthropy. “We live seven years longer than men. Women make most of the philanthropic decisions in families. I’m not sure of the exact numbers, but I think women give 5.3 percent of pre-tax dollars to charities; men give 1.3 percent.

“And yet women don’t necessarily have the confidence and the knowledge to be the philanthropic decision-makers that we are going to be called upon to become.”

WGSD helps develop that confidence and knowledge in philanthropy, Katz said.

Before she and her companions formed WGSD, they commissioned a study that concluded there is a clear and compelling need in San Diego to focus on economic security and sustainability for women and girls and that those most in need are immigrants, military families, and the elderly.

More information on Women Give San Diego is available at its website:

Quick Facts

Name: Linda Katz

Distinction: One of three co-founders of Women Give San Diego, a newly formed donor circle of the Women’s Foundation of California, providing grants to nonprofits in San Diego that help underserved women and girls achieve economic security and self-sufficiency.

Born: Phoenix, Arizona

Education: B.S. degree from Arizona State University with a major in textiles and clothing in business.

Family: She and her husband, Mel, have been married 33 years. They have three grown children: Lindsey, 31, Ashley, 27, and Jeffrey, 23; and three grandchildren.

Interests: Volunteerism, community activism, family, reading, and participating in the 60-mile Susan G. Komen Marathon for the Cure of breast cancer. Although she never had breast cancer, her closest friend is a cancer survivor and they have walked or crewed together in 10 marathons so far.

Physical Regimen: Daily walks with her 3-year-old Labradoodle, Charli; circuit training three times a week; and Pilates twice a week.

Recent Reading: “Little Bee,” a novel by Chris Cleave about the fates of a teenage Nigerian orphan and a well-off British couple.

Favorite Foods: Mexican

Favorite Vacation Spot: Costa Rica

Philosophy: “Do unto others…and each of us has different gifts to give and together it all makes magic.”

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Posted by admin on Feb 2, 2011. Filed under Del Mar, Featured Story. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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