University of San Diego's Kaleidoscope Award Highlights Excellence in Nonprofit Governance

The University of San Diego’s Institute for Nonprofit Governance presented its third annual Kaleidoscope Award for exceptional governance during the recent 5th annual symposium. The purpose of the award is to recognize, celebrate, promote and inspire excellence in nonprofit governance.

The 2009 award honorees were Volunteers of America of Southwest California and the San Diego Jewish Academy. USD Assistant Professor Mary McDonald said it was “impossible to say one is more excellent than another.” McDonald served on the selection committee for the award. She said what set the agencies apart was the fact that they didn’t separate passion from good, true work.

Volunteers of America was founded in 1896. The goal of the nonprofit health and human services organization is to “assist less fortunate individuals and families by providing them with the tools to improve their quality of life.” The organization emphasizes programs that focus on social, spiritual, psychological and physical well-being of recipients in San Diego, Imperial, Orange, Riverside and San Bernardino counties. The organization’s primary service areas include: Children and Family, Elderly and Disabled, Public Safety and Rehabilitation and Treatment and Recovery services. For more information on Volunteers of America of Southwest California, go to

San Diego Jewish Academy is an independent, private Jewish day school. The goal of the school is to provide “an unparalled general and Judaic education for students in kindergarten through twelfth grade by offering a challenging, integrated curriculum and opportunities for discovery, growth and enrichment in a caring and nurturing pluralistic Jewish environment.” For more information, go to

Each organization received an honorarium of $500, a plaque of recognition and a proclamation from San Diego County Supervisor Greg Cox. The organizations were selected based on their ability to show board accountability through evidence of principled fiduciary, strategic and generative governance. They were charged with proving that they were able to safeguard the organization’s mission, oversee operations and ensure accountability. Could they move the organization wisely into a preferred future, shape the work to meet it and offer technical assistance on the way? They also had to show they were able to define core problems, to discover what is important to the organization and to make sense of it all, while focusing on the values, assumptions, insights, culture and judgments about the organization's past and present circumstances.

About the University of San Diego

The University of San Diego is a Catholic institution of higher learning chartered in 1949; the school enrolls approximately 7,500 undergraduate and graduate students and is known for its commitment to teaching, the liberal arts, the formation of values and community service. The inauguration of the Joan B. Kroc School of Peace Studies brings the university’s total number of schools and colleges to six. Other academic divisions include the College of Arts and Sciences and the schools of Business Administration, Law, Leadership and Education Sciences, and Nursing and Health Science.


About the University of San Diego

The University of San Diego sets the standard for an engaged, contemporary Catholic university where innovative Changemakers confront humanity’s urgent challenges. With more than 9,000 students from 69 countries and 50 states, USD is the youngest independent institution on the U.S. News & World Report list of top 100 universities in the United States. The university's eight academic divisions include the College of Arts and Sciences, the School of Business, the Shiley-Marcos School of Engineering, the School of Law, the School of Leadership and Education Sciences, the Hahn School of Nursing and Health Science, the Joan B. Kroc School of Peace Studies, and the Division of Professional and Continuing Education. USD's Envisioning 2024 strategic plan capitalizes on the university’s recent progress and aligns new strategic goals with current strengths to help shape a vision for the future as the university looks ahead to its 75th anniversary in the year 2024.