Advocates on Steps of Congress 2013
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San Diego Chapter
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Dear Members of the Scleroderma Foundation Greater San Diego Chapter,

Celebrating our Organizational Growth and Success. Four years ago, we began to reenergize our chapter by improving communication, formalizing chapter meetings, and improving our education programs. In October 2011, our membership met and approved a plan to use our resources to continue further growth of the chapter, which involved hiring staff for the first time. As a result, Kelly Davidson started as the part-time Executive Director in January 2012. With the leadership of Kelly and the new board of directors, we have grown the chapter membership, increased funding, and enhanced support and education programs significantly over the past four years. Our outreach increased from 98 contacts to over 1400, revenue increased from $40K in 2010 to over $95K so far this year, our support groups have outgrown in-home meeting spaces, a Medical Advisory Board was created, we expanded our outreach to the desert area, and we received recognition from the National Foundation for Chapter of the Year in 2013 and Best Educational Program in 2014. We sincerely thank all of you, our patients and volunteers, who have contributed to the growth and success of the Scleroderma Foundation, Greater San Diego Chapter.  

A Look toward the Future. In the spirit of continued growth, patient support and outreach, our board of directors has remained focused on how to best serve the membership with our available resources. This summer, the board of directors of the Greater San Diego Chapter and the Southern California Chapter (SoCal) met to discuss areas where there may be synergies in our programs and services. The result of these discussions was a joint decision to merge the two chapters into one for all of Southern California. After careful consideration, a formal proposal was made to the National Foundation and approved by its board of directors this month. We believe this united chapter will give us the ability to leverage both financial and human resources, enhance outreach and patient support with increased efficiency over the whole territory, eliminate duplication of efforts, and increase funding for research to ultimately find a cure.

Next Steps. A press release will be published in the next few days, but I wanted to take this opportunity to communicate to you first. Effective, October 1st, 2014, the merged chapters will operate as the Scleroderma Foundation of Southern California under the previously established 501(c)(3) of the SoCal Chapter. The chapter territory will include thirteen counties, from San Diego to San Luis Obispo and the Inland Empire. The members of the Greater San Diego Chapter board of directors have joined the board of the SoCal Chapter, and Kelly Davidson will be the Executive Director. Our current Support Groups will continue to meet as previously scheduled; and the current programs and events, such as the annual Walks and Education Days, will continue to be held in San Diego. In addition, the databases, websites, Facebook pages and chapter communications will be merged in the near future. 

I think this is a wonderful opportunity not only for the Greater San Diego Chapter but also for the entire Southern California area! We plan to hold a chapter meeting in San Diego in the next few weeks to answer any questions and will communicate details very soon.

Thank You. On behalf of the Greater San Diego Chapter board of directors, I thank you again for your continued support of our efforts in furthering our three-fold mission of Support, Education and Research for everyone affected by scleroderma.


Sincerely,

Bill Martin
President
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