City Heights residents honored for philanthropy

Three City Heights residents are among 10 selfless community leaders who will be honored with National Philanthropy Day Awards at a banquet this fall.

Jody Carey and his husband, Dennis Wood, are being honored as Outstanding Organizational Volunteers. Leslie Renteria is being honored as an Outstanding Youth Volunteer.

The awards, presented by National University’s Sanford Institute of Philanthropy, will take place Nov. 9 at the Hilton San Diego Bayfront Hotel. National Philanthropy Day, now in its 43rd year, is organized by the Association of Fundraising Professionals, San Diego Chapter. This year’s theme is “Celebrating Philanthropy: Gifts of Time, Talent and Treasure.”

“National Philanthropy Day puts the spotlight on the power of philanthropy in San Diego and is a high-energy celebration that brings together the people who make a great difference in supporting hundreds of organizations that are strengthening our community each and every day,” said Dani Dawson, senior director of development in the UC San Diego Office of Gift Planning and chapter president of AFP San Diego. “Every year it’s difficult to select the honorees because we receive so many nominations. This day gives us the opportunity to celebrate the impact of philanthropy in our community. It reminds us of the difference one person or organization can make in the lives of many.”

Carey and Wood are well known for their work in City Heights, where they have committed thousands of hours of their time over the year to improve their community. Most recently, Carey and Wood provided their leadership and expertise while donating significant contractor services in transforming a neglected patch of dirt and weeds at the mouth of Manzanita Canyon into a City Heights jewel – the Manzanita Gathering Place.

Renteria, a graduate of Hoover High School who is now attending UC Merced, has been a familiar face with Mid-City CAN and played a critical role in securing funding for a planned skatepark next to the old Copley Family YMCA. She also has been active in pushing for successful restorative justice programs at several San Diego high schools and she is engaged in a number of homeless outreach efforts.

“Through their passion and dedication to the public good, philanthropists and nonprofit organizations are creating hope, opportunity and a better future for our San Diego region,” said Nancy Rohland, National University executive vice president and co-chair of the National Philanthropy Day San Diego 2015 planning committee. “Philanthropy is aligned with our core value of community and this is a wonderful opportunity to honor those who give so much of their time, energy and dedication to causes that have a profound impact in our everyday lives.”

More than 100 nominations were submitted to a National Philanthropy Day Honorary Committee, comprising past honorees and community leaders.