VCCF Donor Spotlight: Interview with Christine Dale by Ginny Claborn
August 23, 2021
Who or what has most inspired you on your philanthropic journey?
Vanessa Bechtel, President & CEO of Ventura County Community Foundation. I’ve been involved with national and international causes for many years. My passion is animal welfare. However, I was unfamiliar with community effort. What is a community foundation? What can it do locally?
What was your first experience in giving to a cause?
Both my parents were pediatricians and were always giving to causes. When I was eight years old, my mom donated to a global child sponsorship in my name. I corresponded with the young girl we sponsored.
If you could grant one wish to your community, what would it be?
Never give up.
We have been facing many problems over the past five years. Political strife, fires, global warming and COVID-19. I see the weariness and compassion fatigue.
What is your greatest fear?
Global warming and what it will cause.
What fills you with hope?
Over 50 percent of human beings are good people. We can prevail; don’t give up.
How would you describe your current state of being?
With so many difficult challenges over the past few years, how to make sense of what has happened and is happening. I went through the five stages of grief—denial, anger, bargaining, depression and now acceptance. But I feel that acceptance of sad or dire situations is not the same as loss of hope, and I try to put my efforts into continuing to fight the good fight rather than fretting.
Who do you most admire?
Forty-fourth President Barack Obama, author Neal Stephenson and CEO Vanessa Bechtel! I’d love to have dinner with all three of them at once.