Community Leadership

What Words Alive Accomplished in 2018!

By Jennifer Van Pelt

In 2018, Words Alive accomplished many goals and held several events that are cause for celebration! With the help of our 261 active volunteers and 39 collaborative partners, we ultimately donated 14,642 books and served 3,725 students and parents in 2018! Join us in taking a look at 2018 in review...

Image of several people toasting with glasses of Boochcraft kombucha. Source:  Boochcraft

Image of several people toasting with glasses of Boochcraft kombucha. Source: Boochcraft

In April 2018, Words Alive partnered up with Boochcraft to celebrate their new special release flavor. As a San Diego based kombucha brewery, they give back to their community by facilitating projects that support education, food, and energy. All of the gross proceeds from the event were donated to Words Alive, resulting in our ability to serve over 75 families in our Family Literacy Program! Partnerships such as this one have allowed us to reach more families and make a bigger impact than either organization could have done individually.

A picture from 2017’s Share Your Love of Reading campaign! The VIP reader had students get up and dance!

A picture from 2017’s Share Your Love of Reading campaign! The VIP reader had students get up and dance!

Our Share Your Love of Reading Campaign was celebrated once again this May and was our most successful yet! We were able to distribute another 2,778 books to our Read Aloud Program participants due to the success of the campaign. Words Alive partnered up with local news stations, council members, and sports team representatives to make appearances in classrooms to read to elementary school students to help encourage their love for reading.

Image of a person with their back turned towards the camera. They are standing in front of one of the sculptures our students made for this year’s Art & Literacy Project.

Image of a person with their back turned towards the camera. They are standing in front of one of the sculptures our students made for this year’s Art & Literacy Project.

In June 2018, our Adolescent Book Group students participated in an exhibition at the San Diego Art Institute titled The Love You Give. Students created pieces of art and poetry focusing on the theme of “duality” and the novel The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas. Local artist Isaias Crow then combined these works of art into communal sculptures. With nearly 100 visitors coming to the exhibition, students were able to showcase their work to their closest friends and family. Students felt proud of themselves for learning and expressing themselves.

We had three Words Alive Westreich Scholarship (WAWS) recipients graduate this year! Zaphire Alonso Duarte, Zaira “Lexi” Martinez, and Domminiece Willis are proud graduates of San Diego City College and Southwestern College who are all continuing their studies at SDSU. When speaking about the program and scholarship, Lexi Martinez said, “My love for reading has been restored since I have been involved with them and I’ve always found a valuable support system within the organization.” We look forward to seeing where their degrees take them and helping more WAWS scholars in the future!

A group picture of The Butterfly Project presenters with Stephen Keiley's 8th grade class at Monarch School and Words Alive ABG volunteers.

A group picture of The Butterfly Project presenters with Stephen Keiley's 8th grade class at Monarch School and Words Alive ABG volunteers.

Words Alive provided the literacy piece of the Holocaust unit for Monarch School’s 8th graders. The students read three books: Night by Elie Wiesel, Maus by Art Spiegelman, and American Ace by Marilyn Nelson — then discussed the books and wrote about the themes with their volunteer team in bi-weekly sessions. As a culminating project, Words Alive partnered with The Butterfly Project, a local Holocaust education initiative. Children of Holocaust survivors led an engaging presentation and invited the Monarch students to each paint a butterfly to represent a child who died in the Holocaust as part of a larger global awareness campaign.

An image of the 2018-2019 Words Alive Westreich Scholars!

An image of the 2018-2019 Words Alive Westreich Scholars!

In August, we recognized our 2018-19 WAWS scholarship recipients. Words Alive awarded $37,500 in scholarships for the upcoming academic year. Nine of the scholars are returning to the program after participating in at least one other year and are receiving a $3,500 scholarship, while three first-time scholars are receiving a $2,000 scholarship from the organization’s Julia & Zoey Shenkman Award. Additionally, each scholarship recipient is matched with a mentor. The mentors meet with their student throughout the school year to help provide guidance and, often times, a shoulder to lean on.

An image of our audience at the 15th Annual Author’s Luncheon & Fundraiser watching Brittany Jackson, former ABG and WAWS participant, give her speech.

An image of our audience at the 15th Annual Author’s Luncheon & Fundraiser watching Brittany Jackson, former ABG and WAWS participant, give her speech.

Our largest event of the year was the 15th Annual Author’s Luncheon & Fundraiser. The marketplace, silent auction, and raffle gave patrons the opportunity to win spectacular prizes while also directly benefiting the three primary programs of Words Alive: Read Aloud Program, Teen Services Program, and our Family Literacy Program. The funds generated at the Author’s Luncheon & Fundraiser make up a considerable portion of what Words Alive needs to continue serving thousands of children and families each year.

Author Mark Oshiro poses with one of our classes from Monarch School after giving a talk about his book, Anger is a Gift.

Author Mark Oshiro poses with one of our classes from Monarch School after giving a talk about his book, Anger is a Gift.

Most recently, we had author Mark Oshiro speak with students from Monarch School and Lindsay Community School. He focused on his life and his book, Anger is a Gift, which tells the story of resilience and loss. The students in attendance read the book over the past semester and were able to discuss the book and the themes surrounding it. Our programs focus on new, diverse, and relevant texts such as this one so that students can see themselves and their experiences represented.

2018 has been one of our best years yet and we are excited to continue inspiring a commitment to reading with the help of you, our community supporters. If you would like to get more information on upcoming events and programs, visit our page here. If you would like to donate or become a fundraiser to help us continue providing these programs, check out our Champions for Youth campaign that is running through January 27, 2019!

Join Us & Become a Champion for Reading!

By Jennifer Van Pelt

November 27th was #GivingTuesday, a day to start the holiday season by donating to nonprofits as an act of philanthropy. Gaining more support each year, there was an estimated $274 million given to nonprofits in the United States on Giving Tuesday in 2017. Words Alive is joining in the season by launching our exciting new peer-to-peer fundraising campaign, Champions for Youth.

An image of a young child in our Read Aloud Program holding up a copy of “Are You My Mother?” and smiling at the camera. The image has text that says “Join us and become a champion for reading.”

An image of a young child in our Read Aloud Program holding up a copy of “Are You My Mother?” and smiling at the camera. The image has text that says “Join us and become a champion for reading.”

What is Peer-to-Peer Fundraising?

Peer-to-Peer fundraising is a social form of campaigning that focuses on building relationships with our supporter’s closest network -- their friends, family, or coworkers. As a non-profit, much of our time is spent writing extensive grant requests to donors and organizations. However, nothing compares to when our existing supporters reach out to their own social circle and seek connections that we would not otherwise be able to make. You are much more likely to support a cause that is important to a close family member or friend than from someone you have never met -- which is why we are so excited to get your support for our new campaign!

What is the Champions For Youth Campaign?

Champions for Youth is the key charitable initiative of the 2019 Farmers Insurance Open. Administering the program is the Century Club of San Diego, who selected 10 organizations that support youth and their families to participate. Words Alive will receive 100% of each donation with the potential to earn bonus money from the Farmers Cares Bonus Pool (which contains $260,000), based on the amount of donors and money we receive in relation to the other participating charities. For example, when 150 people donate at least $10 to our campaign, we’ll earn a bonus of at least $10,000 on top of what we’ve already raised. Incentives such as these continue throughout the campaign!

How do I Get Involved in the Campaign?

An image of Read Aloud Program students exploring a book together with Words Alive volunteer Sharon Gruby! A $100 donation to our Champions for Youth campaign provides 75 new books for children to take home and build their libraries.

An image of Read Aloud Program students exploring a book together with Words Alive volunteer Sharon Gruby! A $100 donation to our Champions for Youth campaign provides 75 new books for children to take home and build their libraries.

There are two ways to get involved: you can donate directly on our campaign page or become a fundraiser for Words Alive. By becoming a fundraiser, you are directly participating in the peer-to-peer aspect of the campaign by helping Words Alive reach new potential supporters that we wouldn’t normally be able to reach. To help realize the impact that certain donations have, the following show how important a small or large donation can be to children in need:

$10 Helps support one child in the Read Aloud Program for a month

$25 Provides a Kindergarten Readiness Tool Kit for a child

$50 Helps send a scholarship recipient to a workshop

$100 Provides a set of 5 brand new, diverse, and relevant books for a teen

A graphic featuring a quote from one of our Champions for Youth donors:  “I am very pleased with the work that Words Alive has championed, and I am impressed with all the young people they have been able to help. It's a great work - helping children read more can change their lives forever, and helping students get through college when they otherwise would not be able to, is an immesurable gift! Well done.” - Alesa Gibbs

A graphic featuring a quote from one of our Champions for Youth donors: “I am very pleased with the work that Words Alive has championed, and I am impressed with all the young people they have been able to help. It's a great work - helping children read more can change their lives forever, and helping students get through college when they otherwise would not be able to, is an immesurable gift! Well done.” - Alesa Gibbs

Our goal is to raise $60,000 dollars throughout the campaign, which will allow us to serve 300 students and families with high-quality programs. At Words Alive, we know that when children and their families are fully prepared to confidently approach and embrace their education, and when young adults are equipped with the knowledge and support to pursue higher education, they have the power to embody the true meaning of success. This all starts with reading and giving our communities the tools to thrive. Some of our supporters have gotten a head start on fundraising and have received the following comments from donors within their social circles:

“I am very pleased with the work that Words Alive has championed, and I am impressed with all the young people they have been able to help. It's a great work - helping children read more can change their lives forever…”

“Thank you for spending your time opening a new and, hopefully, kinder world for these kids!”

“Reading has always been important to me. I started reading very young and fell in love with the adventures in Narnia and the Shire. I hope that my small contribution can help a child build the skills they need to enjoy the beauty of literature.”

If you are interested in learning more about our participation in Champions for Youth or would like to see our training dates that support you in carrying out peer-to-peer fundraising, visit our page here.

Sources:

https://philanthropynewsdigest.org/news/2017-givingtuesday-raises-estimated-274-million-for-nonprofits

https://www.causevox.com/blog/peer-to-peer-fundraising-primer/

Board Spotlight: Kristina Houck!

An image of Kristina Houck standing in front of bookshelves and holding up a copy of Where the Sidewalk Ends by Shel Silverstein.

An image of Kristina Houck standing in front of bookshelves and holding up a copy of Where the Sidewalk Ends by Shel Silverstein.

Kristina Houck came to Words Alive when we folded Rolling Readers into our portfolio of programs in 2014. She is an award-winning journalist and currently works as an editor for Patch, covering San Diego and Marin counties. She previously served as a staff reporter for U-T Community Press, a group of community newspapers in San Diego's North County. 

With a background in journalism and public relations, Kristina sits on Words Alive’s Board, serves as Board Secretary, and chairs the Communication & Marketing committee. She earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism and political science with minors in English and religious studies from San Diego State University. 

Kristina lives in the San Diego area with her husband, Jason, and son, Harrison.

Let’s hear more from Kristina herself!

When was the first moment you fell in love with reading?

I developed a love of reading at an early age. From Dr. Seuss books as a young child, to "The Baby-Sitters Club" series as a preteen, I constantly had a book in my hand. 

How do you use literacy in your day-to-day life?

As a writer and editor, literacy is crucial to my everyday success. I read and write for work. I also read and write for pleasure. Most importantly, I read to my 19-month-old son, Harrison. It has been an absolute joy watching him discover books and already develop a love of reading. Some of his favorite books include "The Very Hungry Caterpillar," "Where Is Baby's Belly Button?" and "Chicka Chicka Boom Boom," which was one of my favorites as a child. 

What inspired you to join the Words Alive board?

I joined Words Alive by way of Rolling Readers, where I served as a board member and chaired the marketing committee. When Words Alive folded Rolling Readers into their programs in 2014, it was a natural fit for me to join the team. I whole-heartedly believe in the mission of the organization and have seen the impact of the Read Aloud, Adolescent Book Group, Family Literacy and Westreich Scholarship programs on the community. 

In addition to sitting on the board, I serve as Board Secretary and chair the Marketing & Communication Committee, which strives to share the amazing work we do with the greater public. As Marketing & Communication chair, I also spearhead our annual Share Your Love of Reading campaign, which invites San Diego's most prominent politicians, media personalities and other local celebrities to act as honorary readers in Words Alive classrooms. Students receive free books during the month-long campaign, which aims to raise awareness about the importance of literacy and reading aloud.

What has been your favorite aspect of being a Words Alive board member?

From working on the Share Your Love of Reading campaign, to visiting Words Alive classrooms and attending events, I've made so many memories and worked with amazing people while serving as a board member. It’s been truly rewarding to be a small part of an organization that has made such a big impact on the lives of children, teens and families in San Diego County. 

Thank you, Kristina, for all you’ve done for Words Alive! Learn more about our Board of Directors here!

Jennifer Van Pelt - Volunteer of the Month - July 2018

 
Jennifer Van Pelt.jpg
 

Please join us in congratulating Jennifer Van Pelt - Words Alive Volunteer of the Month for July 2018!

Jennifer has been a lead writer for the Words Alive Blog since February. Her ability to research and create content around relevant topics is a tremendous asset to our communication team and our organization. Her efforts continue to boost our blog views and highlight Words Alive as a leader in transforming lives through literacy.

We are so appreciative of the nearly 100 hours she has given in writing time so far!  And, we are thankful she shares her talent with our organization.

Thank you, Jennifer!

 

Check out the Volunteer of the Month Interview with Jennifer below:

Tell us a little about yourself.
I am a San Diego Native and attended SDSU for a Business Management Degree, emphasis in Human Resources. I enjoy talking to and helping people and also volunteer to teach English Second Language -- nothing is more rewarding to me than seeing others succeed. 

When and how did you first get involved with Words alive?
My passion for helping people is what attracted me to Words Alive. I love that we give our participants the tools to achieve their goals and inspire those around them to do the same.

What is the most rewarding part of your volunteer role(s)?
The most rewarding part of volunteering with Words Alive is being able to witness all of the good that Words Alive does -- our success stories, photos, and events speak volumes for the organization and the impact we have on others. I am excited to see how Words Alive grows!

What have you been reading lately?
I have been reading the Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller, inspired by my recent trip to Greece!

Sponsor Highlight: Partners in Thought

An image of the Partners in Thought logo, featuring the tagline "Science-Based Coaching for High Achievers."

An image of the Partners in Thought logo, featuring the tagline "Science-Based Coaching for High Achievers."

Words Alive's signature fundraising event is the Annual Author's Luncheon & Fundraiser. Celebrating its 15th year, the Author's Luncheon has featured world renowned authors such as Salman Rushdie, Jodi Picoult, and Isabel Allende.

Each fall, the Author's Luncheon is attended by over 600 patrons including book lovers, philanthropists, educators, civic organizations, and people invested in creating a more literate and thriving San Diego. This intellectual, elegant, and fast-paced fundraising event helps Words Alive raise over $200,000 annually, funds that make up a considerable portion of what Words Alive needs to continue serving thousands of children and families each year with high-quality literacy programs.

This event would not be possible without the support of our sponsors, the generous people, companies, and organizations who know how important literacy is for a prosperous community, and support our mission of opening opportunities of life success by inspiring a commitment to reading.

Partners in Thought provides science-based coaching for high-achievers through self-discovery, change, achievement, and providing confidential advisor services. Offering a variety of objectives including peak performance, organizational development, time management, or happiness, they provide tools backed by science to leverage people’s efforts into continued and sustainable growth. The company not only assists CEO’s, entrepreneurs, and professionals, they also include educators and non-profits in order to multiply those results by helping those who help others. The organization also donates an amount equal to 20% of all their profits to non-profit programs that help those without homes or with mental illnesses. Words Alive is excited to work with Partners in Thought as a first-time sponsor for the 2018 Annual Author’s Luncheon.

Thank you Partners in Thought for supporting Words Alive with the 15th Annual Author’s Luncheon & Fundraiser! Promoting sponsors for this event not only receive recognition on press releases and printed collateral, but they help Words Alive continue to serve thousands of students and families in San Diego with high-quality literacy programs.

We still have many sponsorship opportunities available! If you, or the company you work for, believes in the importance of literacy and is interested in helping Words Alive foster a more literate community, check out sponsorship details here. We have benefits available from social media promotion, to recognition on centerpieces, to the opportunity to announce our featured author, Mary Kubica, at the event!

Sponsor Highlight: Rancho Valencia

An image of the Rancho Valencia Resort & Spa logo.

An image of the Rancho Valencia Resort & Spa logo.

Words Alive's signature fundraising event is the Annual Author's Luncheon & Fundraiser. Celebrating its 15th year, the Author's Luncheon has featured world renowned authors such as Salman Rushdie, Jodi Picoult, and Isabel Allende.

Each fall, the Author's Luncheon is attended by over 600 patrons including book lovers, philanthropists, educators, civic organizations, and people invested in creating a more literate and thriving San Diego. This intellectual, elegant, and fast-paced fundraising event helps Words Alive raise over $200,000 annually, funds that make up a considerable portion of what Words Alive needs to continue serving thousands of children and families each year with high-quality literacy programs.

This event would not be possible without the support of our sponsors, the generous people, companies, and organizations who know how important literacy is for a prosperous community, and support our mission of opening opportunities of life success by inspiring a commitment to reading.

Rancho Valencia Resort & Spa is a luxury hotel in San Diego and is the Marketplace Sponsor for our 15th Annual Author’s Luncheon & Fundraiser! Marketplace Sponsors not only receive recognition at the event on all raffle or silent auction materials, but have the unique opportunity to announce raffle winners.

The award-winning Rancho Valencia Resort & Spa opened in 1989 and has an impressive reputation as one of the West’s most sought-after five star resorts. This Mediterranean-inspired all-suite property is tucked away in 45 acres of lush gardens and olive groves near Del Mar, California. It features guest casitas with private patios, two restaurants and a bar, a meeting space, The Spa with rejuvenating treatments, a fitness center with well-oriented programs, and a champion tennis program. Rancho Valencia has been selected by Forbes Travel Guide as one of the finest five-star hotel and spas in the world and has won the AAA Five Diamond award, both for five consecutive years. Additionally, this paradise has ranked as the #1 resort in the country by U.S. News & World Report in 2015 and was listed on Condé Nast Traveler's 2016 Reader's Choice Awards List.

Thank you Rancho Valencia Resort & Spa for your help with this event and for recognizing the importance of literacy! With your support, Words Alive is able to provide high-quality literacy programming for students and families in San Diego communities.

Interested in availability for our sponsorship opportunities? If you, or the company you work for, believes in the importance of literacy and is interested in helping Words Alive foster a more literate community, check out sponsorship details here. We have benefits available from social media promotion, to recognition on centerpieces, to the opportunity to announce our featured author, Mary Kubica, at the event!

Sponsor Highlight: Our Community Supporters!

Words Alive's signature fundraising event is the Annual Author's Luncheon & Fundraiser. Celebrating its 15th year, the Author's Luncheon has featured world renowned authors such as Salman Rushdie, Jodi Picoult, and Isabel Allende.

Taking place each fall, the Author's Luncheon is attended by over 600 patrons that include book lovers, philanthropists, educators, civic organizations, and people invested in creating a more literate and thriving San Diego. This intellectual, elegant, and fast-paced fundraising event helps Words Alive raise over $200,000 annually, funds that make up a considerable portion of what Words Alive needs to continue serving thousands of children and families each year.

This event would not be possible without the support of our sponsors, the generous people, companies, and organizations who know how important literacy is for a successful and thriving community, and support our mission of opening opportunities of life success by inspiring a commitment to reading.

We are so thankful to our Community Supporters for donating to make this event successful. The money raised at the Author’s Luncheon & Fundraiser helps keep our programs running throughout the year, and through our programs we are able to deliver 3,714 literacy program sessions to students and families throughout San Diego.

Hear more about our Community Supporters:

Christopher Weil & Company

An image of the Christopher Weil & Co. logo, featuring the tagline: "Investors - Managers - Advisors."

An image of the Christopher Weil & Co. logo, featuring the tagline: "Investors - Managers - Advisors."

Christopher Weil & Company, Inc. (CWC) is an investment service company that has focused on treating their clients like family for nearly 30 years. As part of their company principles and emphasis on client experience, they co-invest alongside their clients in all investments that they recommend. CWC partners with several causes to promote communities that flourish and develop. Christopher Weil & Company, Inc. is proud to partner with Words Alive as a Community Supporter and a return sponsor.  Words Alive’s mission is to open opportunities for life success by inspiring a commitment to reading, and they continue to make strides to help children and families become more literate and experience the joy and power of reading. CWC believes communities are made stronger and healthier when businesses collaborate with and support their local non-profit organizations, and they are pleased to be a Words Alive sponsor for this year’s Author’s Luncheon.

Filice Insurance

An image of the Filice logo, featuring the tagline: "benefits consulting."

An image of the Filice logo, featuring the tagline: "benefits consulting."

Filice Insurance is a privately owned full service accounting firm that has been providing insurance solutions for nearly 30 years. Filice Insurance knows that companies of varying sizes and industries require different services in order to continue to grow, a service they are quick to provide. As one of the largest independent employee benefits and insurance consulting firms in California, they emphasize involvement in major insurance and human resource organizations in order to fully understand the environment of which their clients operate in. This involvement also extends to their time within the communities they operate in through volunteerism and direct financial support. As a first time sponsor of Words Alive, we are proud to include them in the event and look forward to working with them more in the future.

Pacific Coast Grill & Belly Up Tavern

An image of the Pacific Coast Grill logo.

An image of the Pacific Coast Grill logo.

We are delighted to have Pacific Coast Grill and Belly Up Tavern as a returning sponsor for the Author’s Luncheon & Fundraiser. As an oceanfront restaurant in Southern California, Pacific Coast Grill is a destination for seafood and sunsets in Cardiff, California. Since 1995, the restaurant has used fresh, local, and free range ingredients to provide quality dishes. Open for brunch, lunch, and dinner, Pacific Coast Grill offers a private reef room for parties as well, with the perfect view to watch surfers and waves.

An image of the Belly Up logo, with the added line indicating they were established in 1974!

An image of the Belly Up logo, with the added line indicating they were established in 1974!

Belly Up Tavern is also a returning sponsor for our Annual Author’s Luncheon & Fundraiser. A famous venue in Solana Beach, California, they feature artists of all genres including alternative rock, indie rock, rock, reggae, hip-hop, jazz, blues, latin, and more. They have had stars such as the Rolling Stones, Lady Gaga, and the Foo Fighters play at their venue as well as several local bands. With an event nearly every night, the Belly Up Tavern is a staple Southern California locale.

Edward Jones

An image of the Edward Jones logo.

An image of the Edward Jones logo.

Edward Jones is a company with 16,000 employees focused on giving investing advice and guidance that is tailored to the individual client. The values and culture they have built within the company has earned them a number of awards for the experience they deliver to their clients as well as the experience of their employees. Edward Jones recognizes the importance of commitment to the community. With a long list of causes they support as a company, they also know that it’s important for the employees to get involved, with many serving on local boards, as Chamber of Commerce presidents, and professional organization members in addition to the companywide food, toy, and blanket drives. We welcome Edward Jones into sponsoring Words Alive at the 2018 Author’s Luncheon.

We have many sponsorship opportunities still available! If you, or the company you work for, believes in the importance of literacy and is interested in helping Words Alive foster a more literate community, check out sponsorship details here. We have benefits available from social media promotion, to recognition on centerpieces, to the opportunity to announce our featured author, Mary Kubica, at the event!

Sponsor Highlight: Moss Adams

Moss Adams.PNG

Words Alive's signature fundraising event is the Annual Author's Luncheon & Fundraiser. Celebrating its 15th year, the Author's Luncheon has featured world renowned authors such as Salman Rushdie, Jodi Picoult, and Isabel Allende.

Taking place each fall, the Author's Luncheon is attended by over 600 patrons that include book lovers, philanthropists, educators, civic organizations, and people invested in creating a more literate and thriving San Diego. This intellectual, elegant, and fast-paced fundraising event helps Words Alive raise over $200,000 annually, funds that make up a considerable portion of what Words Alive needs to continue serving thousands of children and families each year.

This event would not be possible without the support of our sponsors, the generous people, companies, and organizations who know how important literacy is for a successful and thriving community, and support our mission of opening opportunities of life success by inspiring a commitment to reading.

Moss Adams is one of the largest public accounting firms in the U.S., a spot they have earned through 105 years of offering accounting, consulting, and wealth management services. The company has earned several firmwide awards including three for being an exceptional workplace for women. Forbes also named them as one of the best midsize employers in 2017, as a company that makes their employees feel happy, inspired and well-compensated. Lastly, they have won six diversity awards in the last seven years.

Moss Adams also ensures they are making a difference in the world today. They do this by having commitment to their people, investing in their communities, and minimizing their environmental impact. The company and its employees volunteer in the community, serve on boards and make charitable donations to help build up the communities around them. Moss Adams has an extensive understanding of the issues foundations, their donors, and their for-profit entities often grapple with as well as the opportunities available to solve those issues. San Diego is just one of the several communities they have supported. Moss Adams will receive recognition on all wine bottles and champagne available in the Marketplace at the Author’s Luncheon & Fundraiser.

As the Beverage Sponsor, Moss Adams is helping Words Alive provide high-quality literacy programs to thousands of students and families in San Diego during the next school year.

We have many sponsorship opportunities still available! If you, or the company you work for, believes in the importance of literacy and is interested in helping Words Alive foster a more literate community, check out sponsorship details here. We have benefits available from social media promotion, to recognition on centerpieces, to the opportunity to announce our featured author, Mary Kubica, at the event!

Sponsor Highlight: Gurtin Municipal Bond Management

By Jennifer Van Pelt

An image of the Gurtin Municipal Bond Management logo.

An image of the Gurtin Municipal Bond Management logo.

Words Alive's signature fundraising event is the Annual Author's Luncheon & Fundraiser. Celebrating its 15th year, the Author's Luncheon has featured world renowned authors such as Salman Rushdie, Jodi Picoult, and Isabel Allende.

Taking place each fall, the Author's Luncheon is attended by over 600 patrons that include book lovers, philanthropists, educators, civic organizations, and people invested in creating a more literate and thriving San Diego. This intellectual, elegant, and fast-paced fundraising event helps Words Alive raise over $200,000 annually, funds that make up a considerable portion of what Words Alive needs to continue serving thousands of children and families each year.

This event would not be possible without the support of our sponsors, the generous people, companies, and organizations who know how important literacy is for a successful and thriving community, and support our mission of opening opportunities of life success by inspiring a commitment to reading.

An image of two people shaking hands in the Gurtin Munucipal Bond Management offices.

An image of two people shaking hands in the Gurtin Munucipal Bond Management offices.

Gurtin Municipal Bond Management is an investment management firm committed to making their investors and their advisors feel more comfortable with their investments and financial future. The firm focuses on diversity and employing the best people, in part by including recruitment in schools from underserved areas. Being a company that places such emphasis on diversity, we are proud to have them as a sponsor in helping us provide literacy education to prepare students for higher education and career placements.

As a return sponsor for Words Alive, Gurtin Municipal Bond Management’s philanthropic funds go towards improving San Diego communities through causes such as education, culture development, and youth development. The San Diego based company believes, “teach a child to read, educate them for a lifetime”.

Gurtin Municipal Bond Management recognizes Words Alive in their efforts to promote literacy and a joy of reading. Gurtin is excited to partner with Words Alive to provide students from K through 12+ with this essential skill set for their future. As an Impact Sponsor, Gurtin not only has the opportunity to introduce the moderator or MC at the Author’s Luncheon & Fundraiser and be recognized on our Words Alive bookmarks, but they are also contributing to Words Alive’s commitment to provide high-quality literacy programs to thousands of students and families in San Diego.

We have many sponsorship opportunities still available! If you, or the company you work for, believes in the importance of literacy and is interested in helping Words Alive foster a more literate community, check out sponsorship details here. We have benefits available from social media promotion, to recognition on centerpieces, to the opportunity to announce our featured author, Mary Kubica, at the event!

Meet Our Author's Luncheon Moderator: Dr. Seth Lerer!

Seth Lerer.jpg

Our 15th Annual Author’s Luncheon & Fundraiser is being held on October 19th and will feature best-selling author Mary Kubica. Once again, Dr. Seth Lerer will be joining to moderate the conversation with our featured author, and this year marks his fourth time joining us at our signature fundraising event! Since 2014, Dr. Lerer has moderated conversations with Anna Quindlen, Isabel Allende, and Salman Rushdie for the Author's Luncheon & Fundraiser.

Seth Lerer is a distinguished professor at UC San Diego, where he served as the Dean of Arts and Humanities. His studies and teachings focus on Medieval and Renaissance Literature, History of the English Language, Children’s Literature, as well as Shakespeare. He has several published works that focus on these areas, as well as multiple literature and teaching awards. He is a Guggenheim fellow, a prestigious award for those who have demonstrated exceptional capacity for productive scholarship and ability in the arts.

One of Dr. Lerer’s many pronounced works is titled Children's Literature: A Reader's History from Aesop to Harry Potter. His book outlines the history of Western Children’s Literature, looking at stories from Mother Goose fables to J.R.R. Tolkien. As a professor who has extensively studied, published, and edited literature-based works, we are excited to welcome him back to our Author’s Luncheon & Fundraiser!

Now, let's hear directly from him:

What first compelled you to work with Words Alive? Why do you continue to work with Words Alive on the Author’s Luncheon?

Words Alive shares many of my own professional and community goals: a commitment to developing literacy and a love for reading; a recognition that the human imagination matters; and a philanthropic mission to bring the magic of books to young people who may not have those books. Words Alive is one of those organizations that, I believe, is preparing young people to become my future college students. The Author’s Luncheon provides a wonderful opportunity for me, personally, to meet and talk with leading writers and to find ways of getting them to share their craft and their own devotion to the written word. The audience for the Luncheon is always receptive, and I hope that when the authors leave, they can recognize what a great reading community we have in San Diego and, thus, spread the word.

What is your favorite Author’s Luncheon memory?

There are so many: joking with Salman Rushdie about the satiric quality of our current lives; sharing the sensitivity of Anna Quindlen on life choices; and flirting with Isabelle Allende while discussing her stories of love and friendship.

What do you most look forward to at the Author’s Luncheon?

I most look forward to finding a point of contact with an author: finding out not simply what we have in common, but how a creative writer and a scholarly writer (me) can learn from each other about the meaning of books and the imagination. And, of course, doing all of this with some five hundred of San Diego’s most committed readers makes it fun.

What are you most excited to talk to Mary Kubica about after reading her latest book, When the Lights Go Out?

I have just started the book. But clearly, it is a work of suspense and narrative propulsion. I think it will live up to its arresting opening. I’ll look forward to talking with Mary Kubica about holding an audience, building reader interest, and shaping plot.

Why is reading and literacy important to you?

Through reading, I discovered myself. We all read not only books but the world: experience is made up of signs and symbols, stories and tales. We can aspire to be the heroes of our own novels. When I teach literature, I try to show how fiction is not a lie: it is the artful re-imagination of experience. It is a lesson in living and a goad to our creative understanding of the world.    

Secure your seat at the 15th Annual Author's Luncheon & Fundraiser today! www.wordsalive.org/authorsluncheon