Robert J. Borthwick named Serving Seniors board of directors chairman

Robert J. Borthwick
Robert J. Borthwick

Del Mar resident Robert J. Borthwick has been named chairman of the board of directors for Serving Seniors, a nonprofit organization. Borthwick will serve a two-year term from July 1, 2021 to June 30, 2022.

Borthwick, a longtime volunteer and financial supporter, has served on the board as Finance Committee Chairman since 2017.

“Rob Borthwick is the right leader at the right time for our organization,” said Paul Downey, CEO of Serving Seniors. “We face unprecedented need for our services, but we also see exciting opportunities to support older adults threatened with the loss of housing and improve coordination among many agencies.

“Rob is a consensus builder with impressive legal and financial credentials. But more important to us, he is a compassionate advocate for people in our community who cannot always speaks for themselves, including older adults. Rob is truly their champion,” said Downey.

Borthwick assumes his leadership role after an unprecedented year in the half-century history of the Serving Seniors organization due to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic. For the first time, dining rooms and other congregate services were closed on March 12, 2020. Staff needed to build a new delivery and takeout meal service from scratch in 24 hours, and devise new remote programs and services to keep low-income and homeless older adults safe, healthy, and connected. During the closure, Serving Seniors successfully delivered 2.1 million meals, a 145% increase in service.

After 481 days, the Gary and Mary West Senior Wellness Center is now reopened, and both meals and other services are available at five remote locations. But tremendous new challenges remain ahead as economic forces continue to affect older adults at risk of losing housing.

“Serving Seniors and I share a commitment to supporting our community’s low-income and homeless older adults,” said Borthwick. “The far reaching impact of this well-run organization is built on its efficiency, dedication, and financial solvency. Its impressive half-century of service provides the foundation for achieving even more ambitious goals in the years to come. I hope to contribute to this effort in my role as board chairman.”

Borthwick is deputy general counsel for Sempra. In this role, Borthwick leads the litigation, employment law, law department operations, and compliance functions.

Borthwick has served in various capacities since joining Sempra in 2003. Most recently, from 2018 to 2019, he was general manager of Sempra Renewables, leading all aspects of Sempra’s renewable energy business segment, including commercial development, finance and operations, as well as supporting the sale of its U.S. wind and solar assets.

Prior to Sempra, Borthwick practiced law at Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP in Los Angeles and served as a federal prosecutor in the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Los Angeles.

In addition to his role with Serving Seniors, Borthwick serves as a court-appointed special advocate (CASA) for children in the foster care system.

Borthwick graduated with honors and holds a bachelor’s degree from Stanford University, and graduated cum laude with a law degree from the University of Michigan.