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Leadership SLO campaign aims to raise $250,000

Founded in 1991, Leadership SLO is a countywide nonprofit program designed to encourage new leadership in the community.
Founded in 1991, Leadership SLO is a countywide nonprofit program designed to encourage new leadership in the community. Courtesy Photo

Leadership San Luis Obispo, a countywide nonprofit program offered each year to encourage new leadership in the community, aims to raise $250,000 by the end of 2016.

The program, founded in 1991 and governed by an independent board of directors at the San Luis Obispo Chamber of Commerce, has already raised just over $100,000 for its L25 Sterling Anniversary Fund through a quiet fundraising phase, which began this summer.

The money raised will ensure that scholarships are available and tuition is affordable for participants for the next 25 years, Executive Director Sandi Sigurdson said. The campaign is being held in conjunction with the program’s 25th anniversary.

Barry VanderKelen, president of Central Coast Trust and former executive director of The Community Foundation San Luis Obispo County, is volunteering to lead the campaign.

Early donations to the fund include $25,000 from PG&E, $25,000 from Glenn Burdette and $10,000 from Cal Poly.

“It’s daunting to say we’re going to raise a quarter million dollars,” Sigurdson said. “To have PG&E step up with $25,000 at the get-go gave us the confidence to think about other companies that would be interested in creating a long-term vision for a sustainable financial future.”

Leadership SLO plans to seek contributions from individuals, companies and alumni.

The L25 Sterling Anniversary Fund will ensure that future classes continue to feature a diversity of voices, Sigurdson said. She added that the scholarship fund enables solo entrepreneurs, stay-at-home parents and community volunteers, among others, to enroll in the course.

PG&E has provided support for Leadership SLO since its beginning with a donation of startup money and an executive on loan to help create the first Leadership SLO class. In 2002, PG&E gave at least $20,000 to start an endowment fund as part of a legacy project of 11th class, Sigurdson said. The endowment fund, used to provide scholarships, now has $64,000.

Danielle Ames: 805-781-7902

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