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Friday, Sep 30, 2022

Nonprofit Profile , Charles I. Cheneweth Foundation


Name: Lisa Kramer.

Title: Executive director.

Organization: Charles I. Cheneweth Foundation.

Mission of organization: To provide services that enhance the quality of life of individuals challenged by severe and profound physical and/or cognitive disabilities.

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Telephone: (619) 267-7054.

Web site: www.cheneweth-foundation.org.

Founded: December 1998.

Milestone: October 2006 opening of the Alfred and Elaine Barrack House, a six-bedroom home in National City, owned by the Cheneweth Foundation. The Craftsman-style home was specially designed for individuals with developmental disabilities who need physical accommodations to meet their specific needs.

Annual income: $645,618 (FY ending June 30, 2006. This includes vehicle donations from the California Department of Transportation.)

Expense allocation: 85 percent.

Corporate supporters: Union Bank of California, Belville Enterprises, Paradise Valley Credit Union, Innovative Compounding Pharmacy, Inline Prosthetic & Orthotic Systems, Sycuan, Viejas Enterprises, P.T. Rehab Strategies, Kuhn Optometric Corp., Friendship Developmental Services.

Board chair: Nic Cheneweth.

Board members: Juanita Rettinghaus, Alfred Barrack, Elaine Barrack, Sister Mary Bartosh, Michael Crossley, Loretta Rhea, Lea Zanjani, Lisa Kramer.

Employees: Two full-time, 10 part-time.

Volunteers: About 12-15 regular volunteers, more during special events.

Events: Annual fund-raiser, year-end support drive.

Wish list: Major donation(s) that would enable us to expand the Community Access Program and also replicate this one-of-a-kind program beyond San Diego County. Volunteers for weekend outings.


Recent challenge: Trying to balance outreach efforts with the fund raising efforts required to support our services to more participants. We try not to turn people away so it is a careful balancing act.

Measures of success: Every weekend our participants get out and have a good time.

Smartest move: The decision I made that has had the greatest impact was making some organizational and staffing changes that have improved operations and enhanced our ability to meet program challenges.

Missed opportunity: Being a small organization, our greatest struggle is finding the time and resources to take advantage of all the opportunities available. We prioritize based on the greatest potential benefit to the Foundation and go from there.

Misconception: When our visibility is high enough that there are misconceptions about us.


Personal path to nonprofit work: Long and winding. I started my career as an industrial engineer.

Toughest aspect: I’m rather idealistic, and I was pretty disillusioned with my previous experiences in the nonprofit sector. It’s a privilege to work for the Cheneweth Foundation where the board of directors, volunteers and staff are so genuinely committed to the organization’s mission.

Most surprising aspect: How easy it is to bring our clients joy.

Biggest pain: There’s just never enough time or money to do everything we’d like to accomplish.

Greatest pleasure: Knowing how greatly our efforts are appreciated by the people we serve and their caregivers.


Best recent moment: Will probably occur in a few weeks when we donate a wheelchair accessible van to a local resident.

Worst recent moment: Seeing evidence that a participant we took out wasn’t being adequately cared for at his group home. The situation has been addressed, but it’s frightening to be reminded just how vulnerable some of our clients are.

Dream for another life: Greater community involvement, and philanthropy, in Southern California.

Greatest inspiration: The people I meet who devote their lives to caring for the chronically ill, aged and severely disabled members of our society. This is not a path chosen for its financial rewards, or for the faint of heart.

Downtime: Long hikes and walks on the beach, live music, spending time with friends and family.

Causes: Human rights, environmental issues.

Most like to meet: Charles Cheneweth.


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