Doing Good Where You Are

Deborah-SantanaDeborah Santana Shares her Story about The Do A Little Fund

Growing up in a lower middle class San Francisco home, Deborah Santana’s family always participated in Pound Fridays through their church – each week anonymously leaving a pound of flour or sugar or a loaf of bread on someone’s doorstep. This generosity was ingrained in Deborah from that young age, and it has motivated her throughout her life. “Everyday I feel gratitude for the goodness and abundance that’s in my own life,” she said. “Everyday I feel a beautiful obligation – not a punitive or forceful one – to make sure that I spend part of my life sharing my abundance with others.”

Deborah models for her now-grown children what she hopes they will do with their lives. From family trips to South Africa bringing much-needed supplies and supporting the lives of local communities, to her dedication to supporting health, youth, girls’ education, and domestic violence organizations, she is leading by example.

“The way I named my donor advised fund – the Do A Little Fund – is really the way I’ve raised my children and how I feel about giving in the world,” she explained. “Archbishop Desmond Tutu said, ‘Do your little bit of good where you are; it’s those little bits of good put together that overwhelm the world.’”

Deborah’s support reaches far and wide. She invests in local organizations like Stanford’s Martin Luther King, Jr., Research and Education Institute, Oakland Technical High School, and Marin Community Clinics. Deborah also joined a dynamic collaborative of funders, nonprofit organizations, and community leaders supporting The San Francisco Foundation Impact Fund. She previously chaired the Community Leadership Awards Committee and participates regularly in Foundation events. “Coming to events at The San Francisco Foundation, even just coming into the building, always raises my spirits,” she said. “The work being done at the Foundation and within the Bay Area community is so profound and inspiring to me.

Deborah says the Foundation has opened doors for her, bringing new insights that drive her philanthropy. “If I just listen to the news and read the newspaper, I wouldn’t feel the world is as fabulous as it is. When I come to the Foundation’s events, especially the Community Leadership Awards, and hear about the people who have overcome hardships and are doing so much in the community that we don’t read about in the newspaper, I’m flying, I’m soaring. I receive inspiration to do more, and I feel content.”

Deborah values her collaboration with The San Francisco Foundation. “I trust the Foundation staff and Board. I know that I can go to them to ask questions and receive answers that will further me along my path and provide a wealth of information. I feel so grateful to have The San Francisco Foundation as a partner, and I respect everyone there and the mission to be a vehicle for change.”