The San Diego Foundation has named BongHwan (BH) Kim as its first Vice President/Executive Director for The San Diego Foundation’s Malin Burnham Center for Civic Engagement (the Center), after an extensive nationwide search. Kim’s appointment comes at the most opportune time for the Center with the release of Our Greater San Diego Vision, the culmination of a massive effort spanning three years to determine the collective hopes, dreams and priorities of San Diegans about the future of the region.
As the Vice President/Executive Director of the Center, Kim will spearhead the conversation about the future of the San Diego region and work to sustain the energy, passion, and vision of the people. He will become a catalyst for change, convening forums and working side-by-side with partners in all sectors to effect measureable results in important areas of community life.
“We are thrilled to have someone with BH Kim’s energy and experience to lead The San Diego Foundation’s Malin Burnham Center for Civic Engagement at this exciting moment,” said Bob Dynes, Chair of the Center for Civic Engagement. “We look forward to introducing him to the many business, government, philanthropists, and community leaders – all the stakeholders – who will begin the discussion of scope and implementation of Our Greater San Diego Vision.”
Bob Kelly, president and CEO of The San Diego Foundation, added, “This is an ideal opportunity for Mr. Kim. The Center will serve as the region’s principal convener and resource for research and policy dialogues, to train young leaders, and to bring together government, business, philanthropy, academia, and the media to work together on pressing region challenges. Mr. Kim has proven to be a tremendous resource to each organization and community in which he’s become involved, and we believe that his leadership will help the entire San Diego region move in the right direction for our people.”
Appointed by Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa in 2007, Kim served as the General Manager for the Department of Neighborhood Empowerment (DONE). The department was approved by a majority of voters as part of the City’s Charter reform in 1998 to improve government responsiveness to local concerns through a city-wide network of 95 Neighborhood Councils. The Los Angeles Neighborhood Council system is one of the most ambitious civic engagement initiatives in the country. Kim was responsible for the overall management of the department, advising policy makers, and building strategic partnerships with community-based stakeholders and public and private institutions. Prior to this, he led a number of non-profit, community-based organizations involved in a range of social and community development missions including the MultiCultural Collaborative and the Korean Youth and Community Center.
Kim has served on a number of federal and local government commissions as well as corporate and foundation advisory boards. He has served as the co-chair of the Black-Korean Alliance during the LA Civil Unrest of 1992, the California Attorney General’s Violence Prevention Policy Council, the National Immigration Forum, and the US Census Bureau. He is currently a Senior Fellow for the School of Public Affairs at the University of California, Los Angeles.
He was a recipient of the NAACP Equality Award, the Southern Christian Leadership Conference Drum Major Award, and the California Wellness Foundation’s Peace Award in recognition of his efforts to fight for the civil rights of all people. Kim holds a master’s degree in public administration from Harvard University.
“The foresight of our business and philanthropic leaders has been integral to the growth of our region. The San Diego Foundation believes that it is possible to achieve continued accomplishment throughout all sectors by assembling the resources and leadership to significantly accelerate civic engagement and action,” said Malin Burnham, community leader and founding donor for the San Diego Foundation Malin Burnham Center for Civic Engagement. “BH embodies a commitment to community before self and that is what we hope to foster with the Center.”
“I’m am deeply honored and humbled by the decision of The San Diego Foundation to name me as Vice President/Executive Director of The San Diego Foundation Malin Burnham Center for Civic Engagement,” said Kim. “I realize the magnificent scope of this organization and its commitment to the people of San Diego, and I am committed to do my part in helping the region move forward in achieving its vision.”