July 27, 2010

Reef Check Board Interns Graduate

By Board Interns Josh Dubinsky & Marc Mund

From left to right: Gregor Hodgson, Sue Chen, Charles Hassell, Russ Lesser, Jerry West, David Fleming, Josh Dubinsky, Brian Miller

As some members of the Reef Check (RC) community may already know, we had the pleasure of joining the Reef Check Foundation as interns to the board of directors for the past 7 months. This amazing opportunity initially came about through the cooperation of RC’s Board Chair, Sue Chen, and Richard Diaz, the Director of the Riordan Volunteer Leadership Development Program (RVLDP), a Los Angeles-based organization established by the Honorable Mayor Riordan and governed under the umbrella of the Los Angeles Junior Chamber of Commerce (LAJCC). The RVLDP mission is to educate and train business professionals for life-long service in the governance of nonprofit organizations. As part of the RVLDP program, participants are required to partake in an internship with a nonprofit organization with the aim of gaining knowledge about the functions of a board of directors.

Last December, RC joined the RVLDP internship fair for the first time and immediately attracted a lot of high potential intern candidates through Sue Chen and Dr. Gregor Hodgson’s energetic and passionate presentations. As a result, RVLDP decided to assign six interns, a record number, to the RC organization. Within a few weeks, all interns were integrated within the organization, met all board members, and participated in the annual weekend retreat in downtown Los Angeles.

Offering skills in board governance, fundraising, strategic planning, financial management, marketing, and public relations, the intern group participated in all board meetings and went on to join committees with the aim of supporting various initiatives. David Fleming worked with Russ Lesser on a direct mail campaign, while Nikki Dossman supported Gregor Hodgson on the EcoDiver initiative. The remaining four interns—Josh Dubinsky, Charles Hassell, Brian Miller, and Marc Mund—joined Regina Rubino in drafting a strategic plan to attract corporate partners and establish long-term relationships profiting Reef Check.

From left to right: David Fleming, Marc Mund, Nikki Dossman, Charles Hassell, Brian Miller, Josh Dubinsky, Sue Chen

Josh Dubinsky also championed a public outreach campaign through the proposal of a short film, Love is Like an Ocean.  Alongside screenwriter and director Chele Gutek, Josh has continued to advance the project forward and has successfully acquired numerous corporate sponsors for the film including Aqua Lung and Body Glove—with additional targeted partners on the horizon. With the internship coming to a close in late June, we decided to continue working with Reef Check because our experience had been so positive. We both hope to continue building on what we have learned and to make an impact on the future of the organization.

Our RVLDP graduation and fundraiser was held on June 27th at the J Lounge in downtown Los Angeles. We were honored among 36 other classmates for our dedication and commitment to life-long service in the nonprofit sector. Attendees included trustees from the LAJCC among numerous board members from this year’s participating nonprofit organizations, including Sue Chen, Gregor Hodgson, and Russ Lesser. The keynote speaker was NBA Legend and Northern Trust Open Executive Director Jerry West. The Class of 38 successfully raised $5,260 for RVLDP. In addition, the California Community Foundation donated $100,000 to support the program over the next two years.