On June 1, Reimagine’s Board of Directors announced Sofia Martinez as its new Executive Director.
“With Sofia’s long tenure and outstanding leadership as Chief of Programs and Service Operations, there is truly no one better to lead Reimagine forward. Her knowledge of Reimagine’s services, participants and operations is unparalleled. Sofia has the board’s full support and we are excited about having her partner with Reimagine’s dedicated and talented employees to continue the extraordinary work to relentlessly pursue possibilities for Reimagine participants,” said Ron Murray II, Board President.
“In my new role as Executive Director, I look forward to an even stronger partnership between our staff, participants, families and supporters who bring our mission to life. A summer of new possibilities is on the horizon, and I thank you for your ongoing commitment to the success of every participant we are so proud to serve.” said Sofia Martinez, Executive Director
Even though our start to the New Year isn’t all we’d hoped, there’s still room to be grateful for all we achieved together. That’s why I’m proud to share the highlights of the past year
with you as well as our exciting plans for 2022.
From the opening of our new Santa Ana campus to the launch of our new Leadership Circle plus the strengthening of our most essential services, your commitment to our participants inspires us every day. Let’s reach higher and create new ways to thrive beyond expectations in 2022!
As we transition slowly and safely to our new 30,000 square foot campus and fitness center, we plan on a new year of continued growth and improvements. I thank you for helping to create the experience of a lifetime for our participants, providing the services they need and the programs they love that go beyond expectations.
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Dr. Glenn Motola, CEO
Over the past year I have had the wonderful opportunity to get to know and support Reimagine OC and their visionary CEO, Glenn Motola. They recently hosted an evening to highlight the new 30,000 square foot state-of-the-art-facility and fitness center in Santa Ana. There I met Marti Sullivan who leads their Fund Development efforts and inspires us to give to participants in our community with developmental disabilities.
I asked Marti to share more about her work in philanthropy, what led her to Reimagine and how we can support this incredible mission.
Sherry: Tell me about what drew you into the nonprofit world early in your career?
Marti: I actually started off in sales as an account executive for a cosmetic company, Estee Lauder and represented them in eight states. I moved to California for another company and learned that I was good at selling products and services. I started volunteering for the San Francisco Symphony and the first funding effort was to help sell advertising for a children’s holiday event program book. I then wrote grants for my kids’ school, which moved me further into selling the intangible. It was wonderfully challenging and I discovered what a giving philanthropic community we had in the Bay Area.
I was learning about what it meant to be “donor centered” and learned the importance of communicating what funds were to be used for and how in the longer term they contributed to progress and those we served. What kept me engaged was that our funds were for a very important need and not for ourselves. The idea of meeting a need and offering benefits to good causes captured my heart.
Sherry: Has philanthropy changed over the years? What is the future challenge?
Marti: Yes, it has changed, in so many ways for the better, thanks to technology! When I first started in 1987, it was with my symphony event and then my kid’s school, which was the one of the only ones in the Bay Area without a gym. I learned that large capital projects captured the interest and generosity of our parents at the school. We had an enormous response from the families and giving was at all different levels. From that experience, many increased their giving and volunteering; we built a relationship over time and remained connected.
Today, engagement is across a diverse mix of individuals thanks to the internet, and that is good. The pandemic highlighted that remote engagement is not only possible, it is effective! The challenge, however is that our operating costs, salaries and administrative costs keep going up. Just keeping the lights on is more of a challenge today and raising funds for operations is less enticing to some.
Peer to peer crowd funding is also a new and expanding trend. It is less relationship building and more transactional in responsive to an immediate need. The good news is that this opens the door to more donors and gives everyone a chance to give. Converting initial transactions to long-term relationships requires significantly new and different cultivation strategies. Our overall goal at Reimagine is to find ways to engage our donors so that they get to know us well and we get to understand what matters most to them. We see this as a two way street. We get to know them and they get to know us too.
Sherry: Why is mentoring new talent into the nonprofit world important to you?
Marti: I care about developing others in philanthropy. Over the many years I have been in this work I can reflect on 8 or 10 people that I have mentored over the years who are now heads of Development. It feels great to know I have had that kind of impact.
There are many stories of individuals who have started with and remain in this work. A young colleague, who is now the CEO of a similar agency to Reimagine in the Bay Area, started with my development team over fifteen years ago and over time got a degree in Public Health. She has dedicated herself to human services leadership. She, like many, have developed their career in non-profit administration, and is a stronger CEO with her experience in fundraising and communications. It has been so rewarding to watch her and others grow.
Sherry: How would those that you mentored describe you?
Marti: I think they would say I am flexible and fluid. The work is all encompassing at times and I want them to enjoy the work and value their family time too. I believe in professional development and career growth. I know they would say I value that for them.
I also believe in giving talented people performance reviews and honest feedback. In one situation, I gave my direct report eleven things I felt she could work on and we created a plan to do so over time. Surprisingly this was appreciated and became part of our plan to continuously improve. She is now a consultant working with non-profits on data management.
Sherry: As you look ahead at Reimagine, what is your goal for 2022?
Marti: I am excited about establishing a program that can be adjusted over time once we see results and eventually expand. I can see a broad suite of programs for our participants, family members and volunteers. We want a series of seasonal campaigns that offer regular ebb and flow so that we can pace our work and track our results. I also want to meet people where they are and get to know them. Personal relationships matter in this New Year and in our approach to our community. Once we have a program that we can review and reflect upon we can more effectively look at year two and plan for exciting enhancements.
Our holiday campaign is called the Season of Possibility and it is starting now through the end of the year. We will be reaching out in various ways for others to get to know us and our work and learn ways that they can support us. The first year is our baseline and we will build from that.
Sherry: Tell us about Reimagine OC?
Marti: Reimagine is an extraordinary community, a wonderful history of seventy plus years. We are continuing our innovative programming at our new state-of-the-art campus in Santa Ana. Our participants have the runway and support to achieve what we all want in life – friends, community, love relationships, a home and for some, a job that leads to a career. We deliver the support to them that allows them to achieve those things.
We partnered with and are grateful to Goodwill Industries who previously owned the space in Santa Ana, with the Rogers A. Severson Fitness Center that is now a fully adaptive center.
Sherry: How can the OC community get involved in supporting Reimagine?
Marti: Anyone in our community can use our fitness center and visit our facility. We want our neighbors to come and get to know us. In the New Year we will be establishing a volunteer program for individuals and groups. We will have workout buddies and host participant after-hours recreational events. Some of our participants will be part of a workforce development program and volunteers will help us execute on this too.
You ask, “How can you help during Reimagine’s Season of Possibility?” Make Reimagine one of your charities of choice this year!
Tell your networks about our innovative programs for people with developmental disabilities
Schedule a visit at our new state of the art Santa Ana campus, complete with an adaptive fitness center.
Follow us on Social Media on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn
Volunteer your time with us as a workout buddy, a dinner club sous-chef, or a dance club DJ!
Donate to the Season of Possibility, which makes a huge difference for our participants all year long.
For more information about programming or to donate, visit https://reimagineoc.org
To schedule a tour or learn more about volunteering, contact Marti Sullivan, email@example.com
Celebrating Pride at Reimagine
By Dr. Glenn Motola, PSY.D.
At Reimagine, it’s imperative that our current and future participants know that they have a safe place to turn to, no matter how they identify, and we are dedicated to welcoming and serving everyone. People with disabilities are as diverse as the general population, and this includes sexual orientation and gender identity.
As the leader of this organization, I am proud to provide a safe space for our participants and their families to feel comfortable to be themselves. My husband and I have seen firsthand how hard it can be to find a community that embraces our children as full individuals, and I always keep that top of mind as we foster an inclusive culture at Reimagine.
It can be difficult to navigate access to disability services, and at Reimagine, we know that any additional barrier to services, whether real or perceived, can discourage a potential participant from reaching out for help. We want our current and future participants, their families, and our staff to know that Reimagine supports the LGBTQIA+ community wholeheartedly. We are part of this community and if you are too, we are here and delighted to serve you.
Our mission is to relentlessly pursue possibilities throughout the lifespan of every person with disabilities, and our vision is to create a world in which all people with disabilities have equal opportunities to thrive in healthy, inclusive communities. Although not spoken of enough, there is a large, proud community of individuals who in addition to being disabled, are also fighting issues of equality and acceptance when it comes to their gender identity and sexual orientation. We honor every person and celebrate them at Reimagine.
The LGBTQIA+ community, like the disabilities community, has faced a history of misunderstanding, as well as separation from their community and limited access to building a full life. These shared histories have overlapped for some, and when both communities come together, it makes Pride Month all the more meaningful for our Reimagine family to celebrate.
Reimagine is grateful for everything that Pride and the month of June represents, not only for the impact on the LGBTQIA+ community, but for its general messages of inclusion and celebration of living life to the fullest, proudly. We know that our staff, our participants, and our Reimagine families live this pride on a daily basis, and we will always take every opportunity to celebrate this important month, and all that it stands for.
From One Father of a Child with Disabilities to Another – Let’s Chat
By Dr. Glenn Motola, Psy.D.
When a father first learns for the first time that his child may have a disability, it’s not uncommon to feel overwhelmed, grief stricken and even alone. You may be a dad who is in the process of coming to terms with the news that your child may have a disability to face for the rest of their lives. I welcome you. The fact that you are here, reading this post means that you have already taken a huge step toward thinking about and beginning to proactively plan for this new life adventure.
You may not have started to draw out the mental map that you will need for this journey, but by reading this, you have taken a first step, a critical first step. I would like to offer to have a conversation with you.
No matter what happens, please know that you are not alone. Many of us have been down a path that is similar to yours. My husband and I found out that our daughter had a disability before we adopted her at 8 months old. Some parents find out that their child has a disability before they are born, and others encounter diagnoses later in life. While every parent of a child with disabilities must determine the best route for themselves and their families, there are some challenges that we all have in common, and this is where seeking support is the most important.
I will tell you from personal and professional experience that accessing support can be difficult, and that the systems that parents of children with disabilities must move through are complicated to navigate… but not impossible.
Come sit with me. I mean it! I will help you begin to think about that map and perhaps we can establish a first step for you. Reimagine is here for YOU… not just your children. You won’t be alone. You will have parents of other children with disabilities all around you. You will have a staff of professionals that will help to support and guide you. We’re in this together.
Ready for that next first step? Give me a call at (714) 633-7400. Not a fan of the phone? No problem. You can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I look forward to sitting with you or beginning an online chat with you.