Jacobs Center for Neighborhood Innovation Enters New Phase of Long-Term Community Success in Southeastern San Diego

 In Community News

Community Members Make Up Majority of Organization’s Board; Next Milestone to Transition to Community-Run Public Charity


SAN DIEGO (Feb. 3, 2022) – Today, Jacobs Center for Neighborhood Innovation announced Lonnie Lucas and Alberto “Beto” Vasquez as its newest board members, marking a significant milestone of majority community leadership on the board. The board makeup is four family members and five community members, including continuing board members Juan Carlos Hernandez, Louie Nguyen and Paul Robinson.

“A vision of the Jacobs family is community governance. Residents are coming on to the board to help inform direction for the future,” said Reginald Jones, president and CEO of Jacobs Center for Neighborhood Innovation. “We’re excited to welcome Southeastern San Diego natives Lonnie and Beto, to help enhance our consciousness around community development.”

The organization began as a family foundation established by Joe and Vi Jacobs and his family, and was created with a goal to transition to a community-guided organization. Despite the neighborhood’s social and economic barriers, the Jacobs family recognized the area’s promise and has spent more than 25 years – in partnership with government organizations, nonprofits, business and community members – working toward developing a sustainable community through real estate and economic development and neighborhood engagement.

In the first year of majority community leadership and community guidance, the Jacobs Center’s goal is to further strengthen its work and connection to the community. Jacobs Center board members have an opportunity to work alongside staff and partners, support the organization’s mission to build community and lift lives through economic development, real estate development and community engagement.

Lonnie Lucas was born and raised in Southeastern San Diego. After obtaining her Juris Doctor degree with a certificate in Business & Corporate Law from Washington University School of Law, she was chosen to represent Washington in South Africa in its Global Public Interest Law Program. As a Global Public Interest Law Fellow, Lucas traveled to South Africa and provided legal assistance to low-income individuals with immigration, civil rights, land rights, environmental, housing, family and criminal matters. She is currently studying for the California bar in which her practice will focus on business and community building.

“I understand the importance of the work the Jacobs Center is doing and believe this is a great opportunity to pay it forward to the community that has shaped the person I am today,” said Lucas.

Dr. Alberto “Beto” Vasquez, a resident of Southeastern San Diego, is an interdisciplinary scientist employed with University of California San Diego’s Center for Research on Educational Equity, Assessment and Teaching Excellence (CREATE), an educational research center with equity at its core. Dr. Vasquez is very active in the community and has assisted with designing programs and events supporting education, social justice, justice reform, system-impacted populations, and minorities in STEM. He has worked in local government, education and the nonprofit sectors.

“It’s a pleasure to use my education and experience to continue to serve such a vibrant community,” said Vasquez.

To learn more about how the Jacobs Center for Neighborhood Innovation supports community development and partnerships in Southeastern San Diego, visit jacobscenter.org. In 2021, Jacobs Center became a 501(c)(3) public charity that works to benefit the Southeastern San Diego community through the generosity of individual and corporate donors. For sponsorship and program support opportunities, please contact Selina Castillo Hudgins at schudgins@jacobscenter.org.

About Jacobs Center for Neighborhood Innovation

Founded in 1995, the Jacobs Center for Neighborhood Innovation is focused on building communities and lifting lives. As a creative catalyst and incubator, the Jacobs Center works with the community to revitalize Southeastern San Diego’s Diamond Neighborhoods. This means transforming nearly 60 acres into sustainable developments that provide residents with greater access to resources and amenities that improve their quality of life. Additionally, the Jacobs Center works with community organizations and partners to increase residents’ economic opportunities, leadership skills and educational success. Learn more at jacobscenter.org and follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, and Twitter.