During EPIP’s ongoing transition, we strive to keep our members and our chapters in the loop with each other. Our Board Member Series seeks to familiarize our networks with our Board of Advisors on a more personable and pleasurable level. This month we welcome Janet Sandoval- an active member of EPIP’s Los Angeles Chapter. Ms. Sandoval is not at all new to us, but joined the Board of Advisors in September. Our Research and Communications Fellow, Christie Saint-Vil was able to interview her to speak more about her time with us thus far as well as her expectations for EPIP.
How did you become involved with EPIP?
I became involved with EPIP many years ago through an institutional membership that The California Wellness Foundation provided to its employees. They are a very large funder in the state of California so they have the capacity to organize such a membership. Oddly enough, that is not how the strength of my involvement with EPIP came about. When I joined Avery Dennison several years ago, I realized that I no longer had that local network aspect that I used to. It was clear that, being a global funder, most of the funding is delivered internationally. That was a pivotal point for me in deciding to rely on EPIP to keep me well networked and professionally developed. Considering that I am currently in a corporate setting, it was essential for me to tie that with philanthropy. Attending EPIP conferences, and seeking opportunities domestically and building myself from my current role while still being able to address social impact and social justice was crucial. It is a wonderful combination and EPIP really does a great job providing the opportunities to their membership.
Can you tell us about the philanthropic landscape on the West Coast as compared to the East Coast? How have you used that landscape to remain involved in your communities?
As I mentioned earlier, my previous role was at The California Wellness Foundation. THey are strictly a funder within the state of California. In my current role at Avery Dennison, I fund on a global level. Most of my work is abroad. I haven’t really been exposed to funding solely on the East Coast. However, I do interface with East Coast-based cornerstone organizations with whom we partner. In that regard, there is a lot of interaction on that level. My relationship with philanthropy on the West Coast is much deeper as I’ve worked with a California state-specific funder in the past. I’ve dealt with health issues throughout the state and ensuring the funding wasn’t only benefiting urban inner cities, but also spreading out to rural areas. My networks currently are in India, China, South America, etc. but I have remained active with grantmakers here in California. For example, I am involved with Environmental Grantmakers Association, I am also a huge supporter of Southern California Grantmakers. Additionally, I play a major role here at Avery Dennison in regards to employee engagement and volunteerism. I am responsible for getting employees out of their corporate settings and into our local communities.
Can you tell us more about your role at Avery Dennison? How do you see that contributing to social good and philanthropic initiatives like EPIP?
My role here at Avery Dennison is multi-faceted. I wear multiple hats on the corporate side and on the foundation side - both of which are two completely separate entities. The Foundation was established in the 1970s, but it really didn't have a strategic grantmaking program until about five years ago. Our Foundation funds in the areas of education and sustainability. In many countries, these areas are very broad. We work heavily and specifically on deforestation issues. We also work on sustainability issues focused on women’s empowerment.
As I mentioned before, employee engagement is a major part of my work. We like to complement our financial funding with employee volunteer hours. One of our employee-driven, signature grantmaking programs is the Avery Dennison Granting Wishes. It is a smaller level of funding, and the employees have autonomy on organizations with which they work. This program works on a wide range of social issues and isn't only limited to sustainability and education. On the corporate side, I work on campaigns and sponsorships - anything community related. My job is very rewarding in that we are investing in our communities. I feel I can bring my global experience to EPIP’s board, by sharing my perspective on broader philanthropy, and hopefully, focus on local issues and global ones.
Is there specific issues or areas/population(s) you wish philanthropy would pay more attention to? Why?
EPIP has really had a strong case on race and diversity. They’ve really been at the forefront of that. I would like to deepen that a bit more with perspectives on women’s empowerment and inclusion. Sometimes when one thinks about diversity, they limit themselves to ethnicities. But, generally speaking, I would like to see philanthropy put emphasis on gender diversification. I’m a really big proponent of that. I am actively seeking ways to engage and uplift women through my work and within the networks that surround my career. If there is an important social issue right now, it is certainly women, and I would be proud to stand behind that movement.
What are your expectations here at EPIP? What responsibilities are you prepared to face as a board member?
Being fairly new, it is my responsibility to just take it in, and observe the processes that have been in place. It is also to important to recognize that the organization is going through a transition. We have a new Executive Director who has been a part EPIP for some time, but in a different capacity. I think one of our biggest responsibilities for the board right now is to strengthen our leader and be available to him. In a corporate setting there are changes every single day - so you have to quickly adapt. With that being the nature of corporate, I believe it helps when dealing with the changes of nonprofits and philanthropy. If you’re a person who does well with that, then you would view the changes at EPIP as nothing but an exciting time for all of us here. We are really lucky to have such a great and hardworking team.