Board of Directors and Path to Discovery Campaign
Long-time San Diego resident Susanne Stanford became involved with San Diego Children’s Discovery Museum in 2011 after an introduction by fellow Board Member, Larry Zeiger. A self-described "global citizen," Susanne is a leading advocate of SDCDM's exhibits, programs, and initiatives, believing it is crucial for children to be exposed to, and experience world cultures, the arts, and science through hands-on learning. A long-time San Diego County resident, Susanne had largely focused her community involvement on arts, education, and legal organizations in the communities of La Jolla and downtown San Diego. After her introduction to the Museum, she spent some time getting to know Executive Director Javier Guerrero and Museum staff, learning their vision for the recently acquired larger facility. It was a vision Susanne could align with, and a perfect fit for her philanthropic focus.
A Perfect Fit
As an Elementary School teacher with a background in Early Childhood Education, and a career as a Family Law attorney, there are few things Susanne loves more than being involved with the education of children. She especially loves working with children from economically disadvantaged backgrounds and various ethnic backgrounds. Located in central Escondido, the Museum serves more Title One elementary schools than any other city in San Diego County, and is easily accessible by the many families who call North County home. In fact, the Museum is uniquely situated to serve Southern Riverside County, all of San Diego County, and Western Imperial County. Susanne believes that for each child inspired by SDCDM, hundreds more are touched over the course of that child's life and there is nothing more valuable than using her talent and energy to helping the Museum educate, inspire, and enrich children.
A Global Focus
The arts have long been Susanne's avocational passion, and over the years she has participated in countless children's theatre, puppetry, and imaginative and musical performances with her children and grandchildren. Significant time has been spent in museums, drawing with paint and clay, and building a personal art collection. Spirits soar with magic, and creativity, empathy, and imagination is enhanced by embracing the arts. Having traveled extensively, Susanne feels certain that the arts are a marker of historical unity – cultures and societies across the globe sing, play musical instruments, enact plays, and create pieces of art that have withstood the test of time. A void now exists in schools where art once existed, and she is grateful the Museum can fill this void for children today.
When Susanne was in school, it was largely “brainy” students who enrolled in hard science classes, like physics and chemistry, while most students received a cursory education in general science. Susanne has always regretted having a limited scientific education, and it is a point of pride that her daughter produces Sid the Science Kid, a PBS television show aimed at teaching science to preschool children. Everyday her daughter works to engage young children and build their interest in science to avoid the possibility of losing them as future students. SDCDM wants to be the spark by which children become fascinated with science, and give them the confidence they need to succeed in the courses and studies that will set them on the path to being the next generation of scientists. Susanne’s goal is that every child who visits the Museum will understand how the world works upon adulthood.
A World Connected
The world has grown smaller since her childhood, and Susanne believe today’s children need to know, understand, and respect global cultures and traditions. It is important to appreciate the differences and celebrate the similarities. The Museum celebrates the diversity of world cultures through its exhibits, programs, and special events, while inviting families of every socio-economic background to explore, imagine, and experiment together. Susanne knows this unity and welcoming inclusion will result in the success and prosperity of our world.
One Child at a Time
As a Board Member, Susanne is thrilled to be on the “ground floor” and is committed to the original vision Javier presented so many years ago – to be the model community children’s museum providing access to authentic hands-on learning experience that develop the whole child, lifelong learners, and global citizens. She loves that staff use recycled materials to build exhibits, and that leadership genuinely stewards donations to benefit the children and families who visit the Museum daily. Susanne is proud to be part of a wonderful Board of Directors, some of whom have been actively involved in guiding the Museum’s development since its beginning as a 1,000 square foot storefront. She is grateful and appreciative of all the donors and supporters whose funding enable the Museum to fulfill its Access for All initiative and provide scholarships, memberships, and admission to Title One schools, low-income families, and active-duty military and veteran families.
With 12,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor space, Susanne is confident SDCDM will become a national role model for Children’s Museums and will make this world a better place, once child at a time.
Learn more about volunteering with SDCDM. Volunteers work in almost every area of the Museum. Some lead exhibit demonstrations and school workshops, while others assist with general operations, lead as Board of Directors, or serve as information ambassadors.