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Q&A: Dan Lynch, Carmel Realty Company CEO, on encouraging other companies to make an impact.

By: Priscilla A. Caballero

Dan Lynch has been actively involved in youth development through the Future Citizens Foundation (FCF). As member of The Future Citizen Foundations Board of Directors, Dan has been integral in raising donations through the Carmel Realty Foundation, most recently he has raised $10,000 from a staff-driven campaign. The following is an edited Q&A with Mr. Lynch about his impact and how he has encouraged 100 people to make an impact as well.

Q: How did you and your wife get involved with the Future Citizens Foundation and their programs?
 A: My interest in The First Tee of Monterey County (The First Tee) was born out of the understanding that there are thousands of children across the Monterey Peninsula and the Salinas Valley who would benefit greatly from the type of support that The First Tee offers. I was aware of the need and was looking for an institution that we felt could really make the biggest impact on the lives of these children. We were introduced to the program through some friends and began to attend a few of the charity events. One of the most impactful things we experienced was hearing a few of The First Tee participants speak about the impact the program had on their lives and in their community. It was at that moment that I knew this was a great program to get behind.

Q: How and why did you decide to invite FCF to come to your company meeting to present their programs? Do you hope that this will springboard other FCF Board members and business to do this?
 A: Our organization, Carmel Realty Company generates 100% of our income from local business and because of that, we believe that it's our obligation to give back and support our local community. We created the Carmel Realty Foundation with a mission to support as many local causes as we can to improve life on the Peninsula and Salinas Valley.

Q: The presentation was a success raising $10,000. Why do you think it was so successful?
 A: Our team gained a better understanding that their money was actually going to make a significant difference in the lives of the children here on the Peninsula. When Bill Shelton and Nick Nelson spoke at our company meeting, everyone felt empowered to change the lives of children around the Peninsula. That inspiration and confidence led to outstanding individual contributions by most of our team.

Q: What are your future plans or ways you would like to continue helping FCF? goodwill
? A: It's my hope that these types of meetings are just the beginning of a lifetime of support that people can give to FCF. When I introduced FCF to 100 people, my hope is that many of them become lifetime supporters of the cause. I am pleased that we were able to exceed $10,000 in donations immediately following the meeting, however, I expect that this is only the beginning. There are many ways we can all help and just getting involved is the hardest step. From that point forward more and more good is always created.

Q: How do you see surpassing what was accomplished by Carmel Realty this year for FCF?
A: I hope it continues to grow and grow each year. In addition to the Carmel Realty Foundations ongoing support, we expect that a number of the people we have introduced the program will make financial donations, donations of time or other goodwill that can help make a difference for FCF. We are going to work on nourishing new relationships with the FCF ensuring more and more people become aware of the impact The First Tee is making on the lives of children in need.

Q: How would you recommend other organizations or board members to get involved with the FCF? How might anyone else introduce this opportunity to an organization? 
A: I know that all of our fellow business leaders across the peninsula share our interest in supporting important causes like The First Tee. It's important for organizations to scale their impact by informing their employees about how the FCF is improving life on the Peninsula. One great way to do that is to bring in our leadership team at FCF such as Bill, Nick, Jessica, and others. Our leadership team is inspiring. They have specific examples, proof in numbers, and real-life stories that connect with employees and make them want to engage and help.

Q: What companies would you like to participate in giving back? 
A: Any company of any size would benefit from this. My hope is the larger employers across the Salinas Valley and the Peninsula will be able to make time to do this. We once did a study to identify how many employers have children across the Salinas Valley who have benefited from The First Tee and it's pretty impressive. A very large number of large employers across Salinas have children who benefit from The First Tee. In return, those companies are better off because their employee’s children have a safe place to go and are getting support with education and other life skills. I think those organizations that are already benefiting are a great place to start for increased corporate support and involvement, but it is not limited to just big companies. Any company across the Peninsula can make a significant impact by introducing this program to their team.

Located just about three hours northeast of Sacramento, the beautiful Lassen Volcanic National Park can be found. The Lassen Park Foundation has been introducing youth to the adventures and wonders of camping for over 15 years. Thanks to Bob Simpson, a sponsor of the Lassen Park Foundation and Vice Chair of The Future Citizens Foundation (FCF), the Lassen Foundation, and FCF granted the opportunity for 12 participants and coaches to go on this 4-day, 3-night adventure. Coaches Nayeli Barragan and Tim Bearden​, along with six boys and six girls traveled on a six-hour drive to ​Lassen​ Volcanic Park for an unforgettable trip.

I had the chance to hear first hand from Bob, Nayeli, Tim, and participants Timmy and Erika, about this memorable experience.


The following is an edited transcript of our conversation.


Q: Bob, what is Lassen Volcanic Youth Camp and how did you get involved with it?


A: ​I got involved with the Lassen Park Foundation 25 years ago. The Lassen Park Foundation is a group of volunteers that raise money for projects on the Lassen Park Facility. Lassen Park is one of the great natural wonders of California, it has volcanoes and an echo system up there that contains every conceivable type of wildlife from mountain lions to deer, coyotes, hawk eagles, you name it! It's just one of the most beautiful places in California and the foundation raises money for areas that the park do not have money for.


Q: Nayeli, Tim, what was it like spending four days out there with the kids? Can you tell me more about some of the activities you did during the experience?


A: Nayeli Barragan: ​The girls and I, we had a lot of fun and we saw that the boys were really enjoying themselves. Being in the outdoors somewhere they don't really spend a lot of time, it was great seeing them go out on an adventure and try to figure out new things like pinecones and how they are different. Some activities we did the first day when we got there after unloading the vans and the gear, we went to the Vista Lake evening program and it talks about the Lassen Park and its history. The next day we did the Cinder Cone hike and we also spent a little bit of time at the lake so the kids did a little bit of swimming after the very famous hike. That night we made a campfire, we had some s'mores, we loved that. The next day we did Sulphur works, it was beautiful and after coming back to camp we had a little snowball fight. We had a lot of fun.


Bob Simpson, FCF Vice Chair with 2019 TFTMC Lassen Youth Camp attendees. From left, first row: CJ and Erika Nunez. Second row: Timmy Allen, Tim Bearden, Bob Simpson, and Nayeli Barragan

Q: How and when did the Lassen Camp get started, Bob?


A:​ Well three years ago, I talked to Nick Nelson at The First Tee of Monterey County and I told him about our program up at Lassen Foundation and I talked to John Cober, the chairman of the board of the Lassen Foundation. Both thought it was a great idea to have our kids apply for this. The first year we were just a little bit late to get it going but I believe we got it started, sending groups two years ago. I believe we are going to be making another application this year providing that the kids love the experience.


Q: Bob, how and why did you think it was important for Taylor Farms Center for Learning and The First Tee of Monterey County to have selected only 12 participants to be involved with the Camp Lassen experience?


A: ​I think the 12 participants was not a limitation, it was a start. We host groups ranging inside from 10 to 120 youth. So it's just a matter of what we can put together and how many kids we can get there and where the applicants are that year. In fact, our foundation does not limit the number of kids but my feeling was that The First Tee’s nine core values was an extremely important thing to bring to nature. In our nine core values we are talking about life and a huge part of life is nature.


Q: Tim, Nayeli, what was the goal when deciding to take all these children out camping?


A: Tim Bearden:​ I would say, getting as many of them to experience something that they might not usually experience in a place that they probably don't go very often.


Q: Were there any interesting and exciting memories you would like to share?


A: Timmy Allen (participant):​ I just bonded with everybody that went, just getting to know each other is great. It's kind of hard to explain but it's like we all know each other, it feels like we've known each other for years now.


Q: Lastly, what future plans do you have as far as expanding participation and board support?


A: Tim Bearden: ​Definitely continue what we are doing but I would say that the size of the group that we took for the coaching staff to the adult ratio was about a good portion. It would be awesome if we could take more but we would definitely need to have a larger adult group.

A: Bob Simpson:​ My plan is to get a good reaction from the kids and if they really like the program and if they like going to Lassen and they get something out of it, then I would want to push for funding some transportation for more children to get as many up there as we could. The Lassen grant is around $1000 per group to help fund the trip so that is not enough money to take a lot more than what we've done, so that would require board support or encourage the kids to do some fundraising to support their camping trip. So we have lots of options going forward. I really want to see how the kids like the program and how many would really like to go and we can work forward with that with the help of our CEO, Bill Shelton! That is my hope, that we can get a lot of kids participating, a lot of adult participation going in order to supervise the kids and work with them.


Q: Erika, Timmy, what was the experience like, what did you learn on this trip?


A: Erika Nunez (participant):​ It was a good experience and I learned that if you get lost you can use the compass and it can lead your way back. We figured out how to use it! You make a lot of memories with the people you get to meet, you get to know your buddies and who they actually are.


A: Timmy Allen (participant):​ I came back knowing that climbing Cinder Cone was a very taxing trip!


The annual Boots, Bottles and BBQ (BB&B) event that has been successfully benefiting the Monterey County Future Citizens Foundation (FCF) for the past eight years is once again being held on Saturday, September 7th at Future Citizens Foundation Campus. To find out more about the event, I had a conversation with Future Citizens Foundation Board’s Chairman and Co- Founder of Gill’s Onions, David Gill.



The following is an edited transcript of our conversation.


Q: With all the companies you have and with the limited time you have since you're a busy man, what makes you want to give back?


A: It's the right thing to do, to give back. I have a high priority on education and youth programs that help the community's youth so it's just something that I enjoy doing. I like seeing a program like the First Tee, how it benefits a lot of young kids, hopefully change their lives going forward, and help them make better life-changing decisions.


Q: How and when did the BB&B get started?


A: The BB&B started back when I became chairman about eight years ago. We were trying to come up with an event in the Salinas area to create awareness of the FCF programs. Most people and businesses didn't know what The First Tee was doing, they didn't know what it was about, they thought it was more of a golf program and not an educational program, so we created the BB&B to bring people to show them the program and we thought we would do it on campus with a tent that way we can have everyone come see the program in action, see the kids, learn more about it, and raise more money. The fundraising was secondary when we started. It was really primarily to get the awareness out to the community.


Q: As a chairman, what are your expectations for the BB&B and what will you do differently this year as opposed to the last?


A: What we want to see is a continuation of the same excitement and enthusiasm that we have had for the past eight years. I don't see us doing a whole lot different as much as trying to increase attendance, to get more people to come and see the program.


Q: What is your biggest achievement with the BB&B?


A: The first goal was to create the awareness and then raise money, but I think what we are most proud of is the fact that we did raise a lot of money, and now it's a major contributor to our budget. It's always good to see some of the young kids get up there and speak, talk about the program. It's a combination of seeing the fundraising part along with the continuous awareness.

We’re generating more enthusiasm in the community, more knowledge in the community we're getting more volunteers from people that want to get involved.


Q: You said you raised a lot of money last year, can you give me an estimate of last year's funds?


A: Last year, we broke a record, the previous year we were at $450,000 - $470,000, around that range. Then last year, we got to $610,000; that was the gross amount of money that we raised. We are really proud of that, it was surprising that people see it and what we're getting is people coming back and donating year after year now that never were donating before.


Q: How did you get involved with the Future Citizens Foundation?


A: I became involved through The First Tee program, but I am involved in all the programs, including Pay It Forward and the Taylor Farms Center for Learning. I am involved because I am committed to the kids in Monterey County.


Q: Where do you see the Future Citizens Foundation program going in the future? Do you have any new ideas or plans you're currently working on?


A: I think we're really excited to keep expanding the program. We want to see the King City expansion, we want to see more expansion in Greenfield, South County. We are looking for more expansion in the Salinas area and possibly in Seaside and Marina. We have a master plan and a master set of goals to keep the program going. Our plan is to continue to do that, it's just a matter now of developing the resources so that we can expand it.


Q: Lastly, other The First Tee chapters look up to our chapter here in Monterey County. Will we ever see the ideas we have that makes our program so diverse be expanded into other The First Tee chapters?


A: I've heard feedback from the national trustees, our program is one of the top premier programs in the whole system, there's a lot of chapters that are trying to emulate what we are doing. We've set a pretty high goal on our program with diversity with the Pay it Forward, the Taylor Farms Center for Learning, The First Tee program underneath the Future Citizens Foundation umbrella. We've definitely got a really great program we have to be proud of.

Future Citizens Foundation 
945 South Main Street, Suite 210
Salinas, CA  93901
Main: 831.800.3458
Fax: 831.676.0154

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Future Citizens Foundation is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) Federal Tax 26-0015069.

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