In Honor of Jan Tuttleman, Generosity Warrior - Women's Foundation California
Jan Tuttleman

The world lost a great warrior for justice and philanthropy on October 29. Our board member, Jan Tuttleman passed away at her home in La Jolla, CA surrounded by family and friends. She was 56.

Jan was a thoughtful philanthropist and inclusive community leader who always did more than write a check. She rallied others to co-create, engage, support and lead the efforts that she initiated. Her deep Jewish faith and devotion to her daughters—and to all daughters—inspired Jan to be a leader on issues affecting women and children and in serving the Jewish community.

Jan joined our board in 2010. By then, she was already a seasoned philanthropist, having helped found the San Diego Jewish Women’s Foundation, now 100 members strong. Jan brought her intellect and empathy to the Women’s Foundation of California’s work. She believed in solid research, thorough analysis, strategic planning. She believed in building strong organizations in addition to supporting strong leaders. She joined the board in the aftermath of the 2008 Great Recession, when we were rebuilding our fiscal strength and her imprint is clear.

Jan lived her life in community. And she approached her philanthropy that way, joining forces with Gayle Tauber and Linda Katz to co-found Women Give San Diego, a unique donor circle under the banner of the Women’s Foundation of California. Before she and her Women Give co-founders officially launched this circle, they invested in research to understand the needs of women and girls in San Diego. They documented that there were 250,000 women living in poverty in San Diego, yet very little funding going to programs run by and for women and girls. They saw great need. And great opportunity.

Through that research and her years of active engagement in the community, Jan knew there were organizations worthy of investment. She knew that the wellbeing and success of San Diego depended on the economic self-sufficiency and security of all women and girls. She also knew that changing the situation of so many living in poverty in San Diego would require a new generation of philanthropists and community leaders to invest in and champion the solutions and dreams of  women striving for economic security.

Jan’s inclusive nature is evident in how Women Give provides the opportunity for younger women to be philanthropists. The circle’s tiered membership structure engages new donors at a modest entry point and provides extensive leadership opportunities. More than half of the 100 members are women under 40 years old.

Jan approached her fight with cancer the same way—in community—chronicling her journey in a moving blog called brainwarrior. As she wrote in the blog last April:

“Through it all, I am keeping my spirits up and my sense of humor. I have peace of mind and appreciate each moment of this precious life. As I look out my window each morning over breakfast, the ocean’s breeze and movement remind me of the beauty of this existence in this life, and how blessed I am to have all of you as a part of it.”

We thank Jan for her deep commitment to women and girls, for her leadership, for the ways she brought others in – for her legacy. We will miss her.

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