Summit on Advancing Gender Equity

Wednesday, September 5, 2018 | 9am - 2pm 

Great Hall, International House, University of California, San Diego
9500 Gilman Dr, La Jolla, CA 92093

Current events, combined with long standing gender inequality, have highlighted the need to advance gender equity in all segments of our society.

The half-day summit provides a space to learn with your fellow funders, community, and thought leaders about the most pressing gender equity issues that are facing our region and strategies that have been developed to balance the playing field.

Don’t miss out on this opportunity to learn and share your thinking with you peers about how you can make your philanthropy work even better for our most vulnerable communities.  


  • Increase awareness and understanding of the intersection of gender and a range of challenges facing the region.
  • Create a forum for robust discussion between SDG members and between members and subject matter experts.
  • Provide a suite of tools necessary for action internally (within organizations) and externally (through grantmaking and investing strategies).


Saru Jayaraman is the Co-Founder and President of the Restaurant Opportunities Centers United (ROC United) and Director of the Food Labor Research Center at University of California, Berkeley. She was listed in CNN’s “Top10 Visionary Women” and recognized as a Champion of Change by the White House in 2014, and a James Beard Foundation Leadership Award in 2015.

In January 2018, she attended the Golden Globes as the guest of actor Amy Poehler, where she brought widespread attention to the issue of sexual harassment in the restaurant industry. Saru was one of eight women activists who attended the Globes as part of the #TimesUp initiative. Saru authored Behind the Kitchen Door (Cornell University Press, 2013), a national bestseller, and Forked: A New Standard for American Dining (Oxford University Press, 2016). She has appeared on CNN with Soledad O’Brien, Bill Moyers Journal on PBS, Melissa Harris Perry and UP with Chris Hayes on MSNBC, Real Time with Bill Maher on HBO, the Today Show, and NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams.

Surina Khan, Executive Director, the Women’s Foundation of California (WFC). Surina oversees the WFC’s strategic direction which is focused on building community-based power through investing in effective community-based organizations, training community leaders in policy advocacy, connecting key partners, and mobilizing significant financial resources. Prior to becoming WFC’s CEO, Surina was at Ford Foundation, helped design and launch Ford’s LGBT Rights Initiative and went on to become a Director in the Democracy Rights and Justice Program where she shaped more than $30 million in annual grantmaking around the world to expand rights for women, LGBT people, people living with HIV/AIDS, and in the areas of strengthening democratic participation and governance. As WFC’s CEO since 2014, she is dedicated to engaging more people to join the Foundation and its partners to support those who are most impacted by the problems in their community to develop solutions to advance gender, racial, and economic justice.

Susan M. Armstrong, Senior Vice President of Engineering, Qualcomm, Inc. was a pioneer in bringing internet protocols to the cellular industry, resulting in the first web surfing on a cellular phone in 1997, and Qualcomm’s commercialization of packet data in 1998. Since then she has held various leadership positions, first responsible for the development and commercialization of the all of the software that drives Qualcomm's chipsets, and then as the head of worldwide Customer Engineering, the group who integrates and commercializes the company’s products in phones and other wireless devices. In addition to her work on Qualcomm's inventions and new technologies, she has worked extensively with base station makers, carriers, phone and device makers in the US, Asia and Europe to bring those technologies to market.


Dr. Kyra Greene is Executive Director of the Center on Policy Initiatives, a nonprofit research and action institute dedicated to creating economic prosperity, sustainable communities, and a healthy environment in the San Diego region by providing analysis, policy solutions, education, and alliances that advance social and economic justice for working people and diverse communities. Before joining CPI, Dr. Greene was an Assistant Professor of Sociology at San Diego State University, where she taught courses on socioeconomic inequality and race. Dr. Greene’s past research has focused on social movement messaging/framing, legislative processes, and public policies affecting the lives of people of color and people with disabilities. Dr. Greene earned her M.A. and Ph.D. in Sociology from Stanford University. Presently, Dr. Greene serves on the boards of the San Diego Unified School District Select Committee to Review District Progress on Graduation Standards and Strategies, San Diego City-County Reinvestment Task Force, League of Conservation Voters San Diego, Engage San Diego, and the Partnership for Working Families.

Caroline (Cara) Dessert, Esq., is the Chief Executive Officer, The San Diego LGBT Community Center. Prior to being named CEO, she served as the organization’s Chief Development and Community Engagement Officer. A queer Latina, Dessert is an attorney and non-profit executive with 15 years in social justice leadership. Dessert was previously the executive director of Immigration Equality, a national organization focused on LGBT immigrant rights. She worked closely with the Obama Administration, as well as local, state and national organizations working at the intersection of LGBT and immigrant rights. She served in the California Department of Justice in the Office of the Attorney General as a Deputy Attorney General in the Public Rights Division, Consumer Law Section where she also worked with then-California Attorney General (now U.S. Senator) Kamala Harris’ executive team. Dessert has deep roots in the San Diego area. A native of El Centro, she previously served as The Center’s public policy and community organizing coordinator, and as San Diego’s field director for the No on 8/Equality for All campaign. She completed her JD at the University of California-Los Angeles School of Law, where she was the editor-in-chief of the Chicana/o Latina/o Law Review and earned degree specializations from the Epstein Public Interest Law and Policy and Critical Race Studies programs. She earned her BA at the University of California-San Diego.

Riki Wilchins is the Executive Director of TrueChild. TrueChild improves possibilities and life outcomes for all youth by eliminating rigid gender norms. It is a network of leading experts and social science researchers dedicated to helping funders, policymakers, and nonprofits adopt "intersectional" approaches that are race- and gender-responsive. The author of three books on gender theory, TrueChild Executive Director Riki Wilchins was a recipient of EPIP’s activist award and has written on philanthropy for the Council on Foundations, GrantCraftGuideStar and the National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy. Her writing and research on gender have been published in periodicals like The Village Voice, GLQ, Research on Adolescence, and Social Text. She is currently working on a book on gender transformative philanthropy. Riki's work has been profiled in The New York TimesTIME Magazine selected her one of "100 Civic Innovators for the 21st Century." Riki has conducted trainings for such institutions as the White House, CDC, Office on Women’s Health, and Office on Adolescent Health and philanthropic networks like Philanthropy NY, Jewish Women’s Fund Network, Women Donors Network, Women’s Funding Network, and Women Moving Millions.

Hei-ock Kim is the Founder and Executive Director of The Kim Center for Social Balance. She has devoted more than 10 years to nonprofit administration in the arts, environmental conservation, and social justice. She has also been a passionate educator for over 30 years as a teacher, professor, and lecturer. Her professional involvements include being a member of the San Diego County Commission on the Status of Women and Girls, and past executive board member of the California Native Plant Society. After graduating from Princeton University and The Juilliard School, Hei-ock earned her doctorate in classical piano performance from The Catholic University of America. She continues to share her love of music as an adjunct professor at National University.


Topics Covered

  • Gender equity in the workplace
  • Advancing LGBT issues
  • Addressing gender norms as a key to improving life outcomes for youth of color
  • Sex trafficking
  • Girls and women in STEM
  • Census 2020 and funding for gender-based programs
  • Gender lens investing


8:30am  Registration and light breakfast

9:00am  Welcome

9:15am  Opening plenary

9:45am Gender, gender equity, gender norms

10:15am Lightning talks

11:15am Morning break

11:30am Fireside chats (Round 1)

12:15pm Fireside chats (Round 2)

12:50pm  Lunch

1:15pm Closing plenary

1:50pm Closing remarks

2:00pm  Networking

About San Diego Grantmakers

San Diego Grantmakers is an association of over 120 philanthropic and impact investing organizations, networks, and individuals. It connects and activates them to learn, lead and invest in our community. Our vision is an equitable, collaborative, and impactful social change ecosystem that improves the lives of all residents in the San Diego region.

RSVP for the Summit on Advancing Gender Equity here!



Wednesday, August 15, 2018 | 5:00pm - 7:30pm 

Digital Gym Cinema
2921 El Cajon Blvd, San Diego, CA 92104
Price: $10 per person

There are 2.13 male short-film directors for every 1 female director. 2.13 male voices to every 1 female heard. 2.13 male stories to every 1 not yet told.  

As part of the lead up to the San Diego Grantmakers’ Summit on Advancing Gender Equity, we invite you to join us for LUNAFEST, a national film festival that seeks to amplify the voices of strong women everywhere.  These films celebrate the unique, touching and inspirational roles of women in our local, national and international communities. We will also be screening short films by young filmmakers from San Diego from the Digital Gym’s Teen Filmmaking Camp, showcasing stories that are close to home.

At the end of the screening, we will hear from selected filmmakers about their films and their experiences creating those films.

Pre-film reception starts at 5:00pm | Program begins at 5:30pm | Q&A with filmmakers starts at 7:00pm

Watch the trailer!

RSVP or learn more about the films that will be showing here.