77.4 F
San Diego
Sunday, Sep 25, 2022

Nonprofit Profile: Jeanne McAlister


Name: Jeanne McAlister.

Organization: McAlister Institute for Treatment and Education Inc.

Titles: Chief executive officer, founder.

- Advertisement -

No. of employees: 106.

Web site: themcalisterinstitute.com

Education: Certificate in Alcoholism Counseling, UC San Diego; Registered Addiction Specialist Certification, Breining Institute.

Birthplace: San Diego.

Age: 78.

Current residence: Chula Vista.

Family: A daughter who lives in Del Mar with her husband and two


As the CEO and founder of the McAlister Institute for Treatment and Education Inc., Jeanne McAlister continues to be a pioneer in effective drug and alcohol addiction recovery services. Through her vision, tens of thousands of youth and adults have successfully regained their lives.


Mission of organization: McAlister Institute provides professional services that attempt to heal the lives of individuals and families while improving the quality of life in communities through the miracle of recovery from addiction.

Year founded: 1977.

Milestone: We have had many milestones in 30 years; one was opening the Kiva residential program so women could keep their children with them in treatment. We were the first in San Diego County — and the fifth in the nation — to do this.

Annual revenue: Approximately $8.8 million.

Administrative expense as percent of revenue: 15 percent.

Corporate support as percent of revenue: 15 percent.

Board chair: John Cleary.

Number of board members: 14.

Number of employees: 106.

Number of volunteers: 10.

Events: McAlister Bingo Nights, annual golf tournament (scheduled for Oct. 7).

Wish list: Sufficient unrestricted funds to continue our mission in perpetuity.


Recent challenge: Providing the same amount of services with less money.

Measures of success: Thousands of saved lives.

Smartest move: Hiring a top-notch staff with a heart for our mission and having an outstanding and committed board of directors.

Missed opportunity: We grab hold of every opportunity we see. We need unrestricted funding, and we hope not to miss any opportunity to find donors and ongoing financial support.

Misconception: That recovery doesn’t work — it does.


Personal path to nonprofit work: Having battled addiction in my own life, I saw the need in San Diego County for services that provide education and support. That led to me founding McAlister Institute 34 years ago.

Toughest aspect: Flowing with the ups and downs of county funding and finding funds to fill the gaps so we can provide our full range of services.

Biggest pain: Finding ongoing unrestricted funds to provide services.

Greatest pleasure: Witnessing people succeeding and regaining their lives.


Best recent moment: Watching a client recover and learn to take care of her own basic needs for the first time.

Worst recent moment: Not having a bed for someone needing one.

Dream for another life: No dreams for another life — my life is a dream, and I live it.

Downtime: Family, friends and dogs.

Causes: Homelessness, recovery, helping those who suffer.

Most like to meet: Vincent Jackson of the San Diego Chargers.

Favorite quote: “Do your best and forget the rest” — I said it!

Most influential book: “Coach Yourself to Success: How to Overcome Hurdles and Set Yourself Free from Mind Traps,” by Tom Rusk and Natalie Rusk.

Favorite place for business meetings: My office.

Favorite way to spend time: With family, friends and dogs.


Featured Articles


Related Articles