On Nov. 4, Hill was honored for 30 years of community service at the Junior League of San Diego’s annual gala.
Her credits include winning a $5 million-grant to lower San Diego’s dropout rate and support students from immigrant families. She has also lobbied in Sacramento and Washington, D.C. for a range of bills to improve the quality of life for communities across Southern California.
The Junior League of San Diego (JLSD) is a not-for-profit corporation committed to promoting voluntarism, developing the potential of women and promoting and improving communities through the effective action and leadership of trained volunteers since 1929. Junior League members in San Diego have confronted society’s most pressing issues and tackled its toughest problems, leaving a legacy of reform.
“In the '80s I was a new mom and a young attorney, but I knew it was important to carve out the time for Junior League,” Hill recalled in her Nov. 4 acceptance speech. “I already realized that through volunteering, I would enjoy some of the most enriching and educational experiences of my life. Through the JLSD, I learned about the then new LEAD San Diego program, and LEAD provided a broader conversation about the issues facing our 'Finest City,' and truly raised my sites as to what was possible.”
LEAD San Diego provides balanced education and dialogue on issues of critical regional importance, helping community leaders become more informed, civically engaged and active participants in work that positively impacts the San Diego region.
Hill noted her professional career “was greatly influenced by my volunteer training and experience,” adding she has followed through on the Junior League Mission while serving on a variety of nonprofit boards.
To make her home a better place for all her neighbors, Hill was instrumental in chairing the first national dropout prevention conference, with keynote speaker (then governor) Bill Clinton.
“Also, we won a $5 million, five-year grant for the San Diego City School District, that was renewed for another five years,” said Hill. “I learned about large foundations and the grant process. Today, this is the focus of my law practice.”
Hill said her Junior League volunteerism yielded some unexpected educational challenges.
“We worked with parents of students from very different cultures, and they didn't understand that they could ask their child's teacher why they weren't doing well in school, as such requests in a more authoritarian country were not allowed,” said Hill. “We had to teach parents how to deal with the new school system, which was pivotal for their children to open up the opportunities available to them in America.”
A native San Diegan, and Point Loma High grad, Hill has served as a trustee of the University of Southern California, as a member of the UC San Diego Chancellor’s Advisory Board, and as the chair of the Board of Councilors for the USC School of Social Work. She was one of the founders of Town and Gown at UC San Diego, now in its 10th year providing community outreach and student scholarships. She has been a board member of the San Diego Unified School District’s San Diego Education Fund, and has served as a committee member at The Preuss School UCSD and The Bishop’s School. As a member of Rotary Club 33, she serves on the Peace Committee, recognizing individuals and organizations that promote peace in the community.
Noting the Junior League is coming up on its 90th anniversary in San Diego next year, Hill hailed the organization for “always taking on the somewhat unattractive, tough issues in the community," like dealing with transition-age foster youth, young people ages 16 to 24 leaving state custody or foster care who are at-risk.
“Many of these transition-age foster children don't realized laws have just changed, and that they can get (government) benefits, like Medicaid, that they qualify for,” Hill said, adding she feels lucky to be a San Diegan.
“San Diego is a marvelous, dynamic city which has many needs, as does any large city,” said Hill concluding, “It's been heartwarming, gratifying and inspiring to be part of a number of organizations that really are working to make our city a better place.”