Whether you are well aware of the Lucky Duck Foundation or just recently heard about us, we wanted to take this opportunity to share a little bit about who we are, what we do, what we believe, and the people we do it for.
#1 We’ve Been Sharing Our Luck Since 2005
Since our formation by co-founders Pat and Stephanie Kilkenny alongside dedicated company employees, friends and family, we have successfully raised funds and awareness for various charitable causes, including Father Joe’s Villages, Helen Woodward Animal Center’s Pets Without Walls (PWW), and the Challenged Athletes Foundation. Several years ago, we recognized the opportunity to focus our efforts to make a more substantial impact on the growing homelessness epidemic in San Diego County. Since 2017, in addition to securing funding for multiple temporary bridge shelters, we have concentrated our fundraising efforts on high-impact strategies that alleviate the suffering of homelessness.
#2 Our Co-Founders Match Every Dollar Donated
Pat and Stephanie Kilkenny formed the Lucky Duck Foundation because they knew that they had a moral responsibility to share the luck they had been so fortunate to receive. And they didn’t stop sharing the luck when they formed the Lucky Duck Foundation and instead generously commit to matching every donation, dollar-for-dollar, up to $1 million per year. So, for every $50 donated, $100 is deployed into the community in support of best-in-class, fact-based and, cost-effective programs.
#3 We Don’t Care Who Gets the Credit
Harry Truman said, “It is amazing what you can accomplish if you do not care who gets the credit.” We couldn’t believe in this more. We want results through strategic and collaborative efforts to get people off of the streets and into shelter and housing. It’s not about politics. And it’s certainly not about who gets the credit because we believe that we all share the responsibility to give a hand up to those in need.
#4 We Follow the Facts
In January 2020, we launched an online petition campaign alongside the results of a comprehensive poll we commissioned, which found that well over 80% of registered voters polled believe the City and County should play a significant role in addressing homelessness. The petition drive enables interested individuals to urge elected officials to do the right thing of opening and activating vacant government-owned buildings to provide shelter and critical services for the homeless.
#5 Our Board Members are Passionate Advocates
We are lucky to be surrounded and supported by our board members who are passionate advocates for San Diego’s homeless community. Not only do our board members represent the voice of the public, but they are strident in their advocacy. In addition to regular board responsibilities, many members participate in the “Tuesday Group,” founded by Peter Seidler, General Partner of the San Diego Padres and Managing Partner of Seidler Equity Partners, and Dan Shea, Managing Partner of Donovans Steak and Chop House and Paradigm Investment Group. The Tuesday Group is comprised of business and civic leaders that convene weekly to study the issues and develop best-in-class strategies and action steps for improving the San Diego Region’s homeless situation.
#6 We Established a Homeless Employment Program
We recently announced a new, region-wide employment and job training initiative to hire and provide job training for the homeless. The program is made possible by an anonymous $1 million gift to enable participants to become job-ready and provide them with the necessary training to secure long-term employment across several verticals, including food rescue, culinary skills, outreach, community work, Transition Age Youth (TAY) support services, and intensive job training.
#7 We Don’t Just Help People
Pets are essential and often the only companions to many people who are living unsheltered. We understand the importance of the bond between humans and their pets. To that end, we are proud to support Pets Without Walls (PWW), a program within Helen Woodward Animal Center that provides health checks, microchipping, spays and neuters, preventative care, vaccinations, and flea and tick medication to the animals cared for by area pet lovers experiencing homelessness. In supporting the health of these pets, PWW helps to keep them with their owners through the hardship of homelessness.
#8 Food Redistribution is an Important Part of Our Work
In addition to providing hundreds of thousands of meals as well as food for youth at school food pantries, we recognize the sheer volume of food that goes to waste in our City. In support of food reclamation efforts, we partnered with Feeding San Diego, the Salvation Army, and Starbucks to significantly increase food rescue at numerous Starbucks and grocery stores. The recovered food is provided to numerous homeless and charitable organizations to help ensure everyone has nourishment available to them. It is anticipated this partnership will rescue anywhere from 250,000 to 300,000 pounds of food in 2020, and through our homeless employment and job training initiative, it will employ the homeless to do so.
#9 We Believe in Providing Shelter and Housing
Women face unique challenges when experiencing homelessness. Being pregnant and taking care of newborns is one of the most difficult to navigate. We are grateful to our collaborative partners at Home Start who provide affordable, supportive housing and services for women who are pregnant or have small children and find themselves in unstable living environments through their Maternity Housing Project (MHP). MHP offers these mothers a safe home and educational programs to give them the tools to become self-sufficient and develop healthy relationships with their children.
#10 We Fund and Support Access to Technology
Technology is open pathways for everyone. We understand that our lives are online and knowing how to use technology is crucial for accessing education, employment, and more. Without access to computers, families are less likely to get ahead financially. Through a collaboration with Computers 2 Kids, we have committed to providing computers to Transitional Age Youth (TAY) at Urban Street Angels, an organization dedicated to serving homeless youth.
There are Many Ways to Get Involved
We’ve shared 10 things about the Lucky Duck Foundation but there’s still a lot more to learn about why we do what we do. Our website has many different ways that you can get involved – from volunteering with one of our collaborative partners to starting your own fundraiser in support of researched-backed, results-oriented programs. To make sure you don’t miss a story that matters, you can sign up for our newsletter, too. When you do, we’ll donate 4 pairs of socks to shelter residents.
Thank you for sharing your luck. Together we can make meaningful progress in alleviating the suffering of homelessness.