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Lending Hands

BY Ann Wycoff | October 31, 2018 | Feature Features National

This year, San Diego has been crowned the most philanthropic city in America. Meet some of the altruistic locals who are making a huge difference in San Diego and beyond.
Flor Franco

Culinary Crusader
Armed with a whisk and ladle, chef Flor Franco is a goodwill crusader who has rightly earned the moniker of “The Cross Border Chef.”

Born in Veracruz, Mexico, and based in Bankers Hill, she is the heart and soul of the cross-border culinary scene, having masterminded myriad dinners and nonprofit events that have unified the San Diego and Baja communities and championed great causes. For the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, Franco co-chairs the Chef Throwdown Gala, where 35 of the finest chefs from San Diego and Baja compete for best dish, and the Chef Flor Franco Award for Culinary Excellence is bequeathed to an industry pro. Most importantly, this annual fall event at Hotel del Coronado raises serious funds to fuel cystic fibrosis research. Her other focus is the Berry Good Food Foundation, a nonprofit dedicated to education, sustainability and connecting consumers to upstanding local food producers in San Diego and the border region. As culinary director, she oversees its hot-ticket, chef-driven events and cooking classes that raise monies for educational programs and school garden projects in both San Diego and northern Baja. She’s also a mentor to young chefs; great supporter of South Bay Community Services, which aids families impacted by domestic violence; mother of five; caterer to celebs and A-listers; and owner of Franco on Fifth, a chef’s atelier that helps empower aspiring artists and cooks. So how does she find time to do it all? “You don’t find the time—it finds you. When you are willing to give to others, time multiplies in your everyday life. If you stop and think about it too much, you won’t do it. Besides, the most amazing people are the ones around organizations that are helping others. How can I say no?”

Advocates of Change & Equality
Philanthropy is the foundation on which the Mintz law firm was built, and the organizations it works for are as diverse as the team itself.

Mintz law firm prides itself on its progressive approach to diversity and inclusion, and an unyielding commitment to pro bono work. Philanthropy is also a keystone of this firm’s corporate culture, dating back to its founding in the 1930s. “When we started the Mintz San Diego office in 2006, I was tasked to bring the firm and its dynamic culture from east to west, and leverage this long-standing tradition of community involvement, and from the day we opened, we carried that mandate forward,” explains David Salisbury, director of business development for Mintz. “This is not a marketing strategy, but rather, true philanthropy through community engagement. The Mintz team is genuinely interested in being an active part of their community and giving back.” The highly successful San Diego outpost dedicates time and resources to LGBTQ equality, domestic violence prevention, workplace equality, rape crisis, senior abuse, human trafficking, inner-city youth education, and bar associations supporting diversity in the legal profession—to name a few. “What makes Mintz different is our dedication to sweat equity. We do active boots-on-the-ground fundraising to help change the trajectory of organizations at a community level.” The Mintz team members serve on not-for-profit boards, fundraising working committees, pro bono volunteer lawyers programs, personal fundraising campaigns and more. “Anyone can write a check or be a donor or sponsor, but how many do the work? We show up,” says Salisbury.

Photography Courtesy Of: