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United Way Bay Area

A Day with Barbara Siemer, A Life of Philanthropy

Posted on May 8, 2017, by Missa Perron in Latest News Featured

Barbara Siemer, the co-founder of the Siemer Institute, is a busy - and brilliant - woman. In addition to providing multi-year grants, and building partnerships with United Ways across the country in order to support intergenerational programming, she also is a key member of our Tocqueville Society affinity group.

So that's why we knew we had to take advantage of Barbara Siemer’s visit to San Francisco on April 27. In a whirlwind of a day, we were honored to introduce Barbara to staff at one of our SparkPoint centers, host a luncheon at U.S. Bank, and throw a cocktail reception at the home of our friends, the Greenes. Certainly a busy day for all involved!

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The Siemer Institute provides funding and research to ensure that Sparkpoint clients of every generation receive the financial training they need to make smart and fully-informed decisions about their money. During Barbara’s visit, we gathered with staff from six SparkPoint Centers throughout the Bay Area. We learned more about the incredibly innovative ways the program staff advocates for the financial health of multi-generations. “Housing is a huge issue in the Bay Area…it’s getting hard and harder to save and stay here,” said Tejal Shah, SparkPoint Oakland. “SparkPoint has been an intentional way to bridge financial stability and affordable housing.”

Our friends at U.S. Bank graciously hosted a luncheon to welcome Barbara with United Way’s affinity groups, Emerging Leaders and Women United. We were thrilled to learn more about Barbara’s journey from a concerned English teacher to a high-powered philanthropic donor. Her affinity for teaching English was apparent as she gushed about books she recommended we read, including Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City by Matthew Desmond and A Framework for Understanding Poverty by Ruby Payne. Barbara concluded the conversation by admitting, “This work is exhausting - but rewarding.”

The grand finale of our rewarding day with Barbara was a cocktail reception hosted by fellow philanthropists Jamie and Marritje Greene. It was a beautiful way to end an inspiring day!

Missed Barbara Siemer’s visit but want to join other United Way events? Consider attending our Believe cocktail party on June 12 in San Francisco! Keep an eye on our website for more details.

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