Few people know more about the inner workings of CEID than Board President Victoria Carlisle.
Victoria has been the President of the Board of Directors since 2015, but she has worn many hats for the organization long before that.
Victoria started as CEID’s Development Director in 2005. At the time, she was the only full-time employee in the Development Department so she wrote grants, worked with the board, solicited individual donations, and helped with day-to-day operations at the office. In the years since, she has been a steadfast donor, led and worked on fundraising committees - like the Walk-a-Thon and the Golf Tournament - and is a regular at all CEID staff and community events.
Victoria’s passion for CEID is no coincidence. From a young age, Victoria understood what it meant to live with people who require specialized care. Victoria's brother was born with a rare chromosomal disorder that resulted in profound cognitive and developmental disabilities and he has never been able to live independently. And when Victoria was still a young child, her father suffered extensive brain damage from an accident, severely impacting his day to day functioning.
Sadly, there was never any community or family support available as Victoria grew up. No social workers, no respite for her mother – nothing.
“My experience with my dad and my brother was dysfunctional. I had not gotten any real community support,” explains Victoria. “But what I see in CEID is the (focus on the) whole family. The parents are looked after, the siblings are taken care of, and everyone’s needs are met. It is great to be part of something that takes care of the whole family as a unit.”
Along with managing the board and raising key funds for the agency, Victoria believes one of her key CEID responsibilities is being a sounding board and support for Executive Director Cindy Dickeson. “Cindy joined CEID three months after I did, and I feel that one of my primary roles is supporting her. Whether she needs to problem solve, discuss strategy, or talk to someone who completely, totally supports her in every way - my main role is to be a support to Cindy as she leads the staff and programming,” says Victoria.
While Victoria believes CEID is an extremely well run and impactful organization, she worries that “CEID is the best kept secret” in the Bay Area. As she looks towards the future as Board President, Victoria is dedicated to helping with marketing efforts for CEID that will help sustain the organization for generations to come, for example by paying off the mortgage to free up resources to increase our program and support for children and families.
“I’ve always wanted a marketing campaign to get CEID’s name out there more. Everything about our building is for the children we're in service to. This isn't a school for just anyone, this is for us” says Victoria. She also hopes to “spearhead a movement among those of us who can give - now is the time."
Victoria feels very fortunate to be able to lend her time and resources to CEID and other non-profits as she raises her three children, Jack, Lucinda and Margot, to understand their responsibility to give back.
“From very early on, my husband Todd and I have had frank and honest conversations about the privilege our children have,” said Victoria. “We really wanted to set in the ideal that ‘to those whom much is given much is expected.” Our children participate in the Walk-A-Thon; they go to CEID and play with the kids; and they are always a part of our family conversations around giving. We want them to understand that giving is not just about money but also about time and focus on an organization.”
The Carlisle family’s, and especially Victoria’s, commitment to CEID is immensely appreciated today and every day, just as it has been for the past 15 years.