CARLSBAD — City Council tapped a pair of residents with deep philanthropic ties as the 2018 Citizens of the Year.
Yvonne Finocchiaro and Scott White were recognized July 16 at City Hall for their contributions to the city over the years.
The Citizen of the Year program is more than 40 years old and honors community members who have given their time and energy toward the civic improvement, beautification and betterment of the city of Carlsbad.
“Since 1980, besides my family and friends, Carlsbad has been a love of my life,” Finocchiaro said. “I like to help maintain it and keep it that way.”
Finocchiaro has served as the interim chief executive officer for the Carlsbad Chamber of Commerce and graduated from the Carlsbad Citizens Academy.
Finocchiaro has long been giving back as she is active with the Carlsbad Charitable Foundation (and also a founding member) and Hi-Noon Rotary Club, and served as president for both organizations, which combined have raised more than $1.8 million for causes in Carlsbad.
“The foundation has distributed almost $1 million since its inception to nonprofits who are working to improve Carlsbad, and that feels really good,” Finocchiaro said.
In addition, she was on the board of directors for the Carlsbad-Oceanside Women’s Resource Center and the Carlsbad-Oceanside Armed Services YMCA from 1984 to 1988 and 1985 to 1989, respectively.
From a regional perspective, Finocchiaro, who is a certified association executive, served as president and CEO of LEAD San Diego Inc., which trains many of San Diego County’s leaders in the public and nonprofit sectors. She was also a founding board member of the Naval Training Center Foundation/Arts District in San Diego’s Liberty Station from 2000 to 2008.
Finocchiaro said the aim of LEAD was to develop individuals, generally business people but also public officials and nonprofit leaders, to be more effective decision makers. LEAD was a nonprofit organization while Finocchiaro was president, a position she held from 1988 to 2001.
“It’s a training program for adults that says you really can do anything you set your mind to,” she said of LEAD. “I trained about 1,300 people while I was there.”
She also served as a board member of the National Association of Community Leadership from 1993 to 2007, co-authoring a book, “Taking Leadership to Heart,” in 1995. She served as president of that association in 2005 and 2006.
White, meanwhile, is also a graduate of the citizens academy and has been critical in turning around the finances of New Village Arts Theatre. After a successful career with Boeing and Rockwell International, White turned his attention to philanthropy, where he incorporated a fundraising campaign and forecast system to maintain financial health.
“We did all of the shows and within the year we were almost at break even,” White said, while crediting theater founder Kristianne Kurner and the board with stabilizing the theater’s finances. “I’m not an arts guy, just a businessman who loves live theater. I have a financial background and knew exactly what to do.”
He also volunteered with Service Corps of Retired Executives (SCORE), and is a member of the Carlsbad Charitable Foundation, the Carlsbad Chamber of Commerce, the North Coast Vettes (a Corvette club) and continues his service as a Carlsbad Arts Commissioner.
“We were fortunate that we came across each other at the right time,” White says of the theater he has grown to love. “That’s how my whole career’s been. I’ve been very fortunate.”
Photo Caption: Carlsbad residents Yvonne Finocchiaro and Scott White were recognized as the city’s Citizens of the Year on July 16 at City Hall. Courtesy photo