• Donor Desk: Deborah Santana

    Donor Desk: Deborah Santana

    August 26, 2019

    San Francisco Fund donor Deborah Santana talks about the origins of her philanthropic values, causes she's passionate about, and shares her thoughts on SFF, which she sees as "a perfect fit for my values, my goals as a servant leader, and as a feminist and promoter and defender of women of color." Read more »

  • Visioning


    May 9, 2019

    The Oxford Living Dictionary defines visioning as: The action of developing a plan, goal, or vision for the future. I define it as the act of…

  • Sisters...


    March 1, 2019

    My sister has a “big” birthday coming up. It’s shocking, really, to sit with the memories of the years we have lived together, she…

  • Community


    February 1, 2019

    I love my community….but who & how large is my community? If I am true to my beliefs, everyone is my community, not only those who want…

  • Divine Order

    Divine Order

    January 3, 2019

    In this new year, I have set brave new intentions to expand my service to our world. This morning’s meditation with Daily Word read,…

  • The Adventure of Change

    The Adventure of Change

    October 23, 2018

    From my third story apartment, I see the Angeles National Forest in the distance; the roller coaster peaks draw me to them. I have been in San…

  • The Art of Words

    The Art of Words

    May 1, 2018

    Between the tall shelves of ten bookstores, in the salons of two museums, in the auditorium of a coworking space, and in two schools, the writers of All the Women in My Family Sing have spoken their written words. Each reading conjured a unique magic, a confluence of the writers’ life experiences with the receptivity of the audience.

  • All the Women in My Family Sing

    February 2, 2018

    Music: Salvador Santana All the Women in My Family Sing is now in bookstores and available online for purchase! We will have readings with…

  • All the Women in My Family Sing: Women Write the World—Essays on Equality, Justice and Freedom

    All the Women in My Family Sing: Women Write the World—Essays on Equality, Justice and Freedom

    December 8, 2017

    The anthology of essays by women of color writers is now available for purchase! The three years I worked on this project taught me new skills, showed me varied qualities in people, and ultimately, required me to listen deeply to everyone involved.

  • A Banquet

    A Banquet

    November 10, 2017

    The windows onto Church Street reached twenty feet high. The J streetcar clanged to a stop at the intersection with Market Street and people walked…

  • How to find Happy

    How to find Happy

    October 2, 2017

    My reverence for peace continues to motivate my actions. Some moments I am tempted to shake my fist in response to the voices screaming out with rage and fear, but I remember that those voices are not grounded in peace.

  • Choose Freedom

    Choose Freedom

    August 15, 2017

    The anger and hatred in our land is not new. People have fought to appear better than others and to have more than others since the beginning of time. Division is the simplistic way to live. To me, it is a fight between light and ignorance [...]

  • Poetry


    July 1, 2017

    For Lent, a time of living a simple life, giving up something important or enjoyable, and spending 40 days in alliance with Jesus’s 40 days in the wilderness, I chose to fast from the news. […]

  • Vocabulary


    May 17, 2017

    Every morning, words float into my email box, delivering wonder. They are sent by wordsmith.org, an online service I have subscribed to for years because I desire to expand and improve my vocabulary. Each email contains a new vocabulary word and “A Thought for Today.” With nearly 400,000 subscribers in 170 countries, I have found my tribe: Word Lovers.

  • Resistance


    January 24, 2017

    The clarity, wisdom, peace, and harmony I long for have always been a result of my meditation, reading, prayer, and a belief in the goodness of people I am fortunate to know. The end of 2016, the shocking result of the presidential election, and the preponderance of the “me against you” rhetoric, pushed me back to silence, to searching for resilience, faith, and joy inside myself. But I did not feel hopeful until flying to Washington, DC to participate in the Women’s March...

  • Freedom in this Country

    Freedom in this Country

    November 15, 2016

    This morning I hiked a hill above our home. It was so steep that my lungs began to explode with burning, short breaths. At the crest of the hill, my breathing returned to normal and I compared the tremendous effort and exertion with the energy it is going to take to maintain freedom in our […]

  • My Passion; My Philanthropy

    October 1, 2016

    Daraja Education Fund/June 2016 'My Passion, My Philanthropy': Deborah Santana Carries Forward Stewardship…

  • Service in Belize

    September 1, 2016

    The flyer read "Join us in Belize, Central America for our Global Citizenship and Human Service Delegation," an invitation from Ambassador…

  • Daraja Academy films

    June 1, 2016

    Daraja Education Fund/June 2016 I have just completed two documentary screenings & my annual fundraiser for the Daraja Academy in Kenya. Each…

  • Museums,  Art & Culture

    Museums, Art & Culture

    May 5, 2016

    In my first year as a Board Member of the Smithsonian Institution, the Washington, DC collection of 19 museums,  research centers, and a zoo, I have learned more about presenting art and culture to the public, and the controversy that can sometimes arise.  With 210 affiliates in more than 46 states, Puerto Rico and Panama, […]

  • Feeding Birds

    January 1, 2016

    “Millions of people all over the world feed the wild animals in their gardens,” writes Helen Macdonald in a New York Times Magazine…

  • Carl Lumbly

    Carl Lumbly

    January 1, 2016

    Dear friends, I do not always end the year with a life-changing event. Nor do I often share my personal life, other than cheering for my three phenomenal children & the girls at Daraja Academy in Kenya, which I do unabashedly. I usually write about the inspirations & insights I receive in nature, my morning […]

  • Sacred Activism

    Sacred Activism

    August 3, 2015

    The values and ideals I live by were inspired by Joanna Macy & Chris Johnstone’s book Active Hope: How to Face the Mess We’re in without Going Crazy. Macy, ecophilosopher, scholar of Buddhism & deep ecology, is the root teacher of the Work That Reconnects, & I had the great honor of taking one of […]

  • Girls' Education

    May 1, 2015

    I have believed in and supported the Daraja Academy, a free boarding school for girls in Nanyuki, Kenya, for six years. One of the great attributes…

  • Precious Fossils

    Precious Fossils

    April 13, 2015

    I feel gratitude for many things: sunlight, birds in the oak trees in my garden, Daraja Academy, the ability to learn & grow, being in a body & all of the discoveries that brings. It is a gift to receive each day & all of its moments, to accept what life offers, to do all […]

  • Red Lantern

    Red Lantern

    October 28, 2014

    This sculpture by Andy Cao & Xavier Perrot at Cornerstone Festival Gardens in Sonoma held me captive for many minutes. Called Red Lantern, the reddish orange crystals hanging over the water held the sun’s light on the windswept day I visited. I sat cross-legged at the end of the railroad ties, asking the art to […]

  • “In These Arms, A Song for All Beings,” Jennifer Berezan

    “In These Arms, A Song for All Beings,” Jennifer Berezan

    August 22, 2014

    In this time when the news shows humanity’s increased disharmony, forgotten interconnectedness, and our leaders using war as a solution to war, I send this beautiful song of remembrance from Jennifer Berezan. We all want to be happy and not to suffer. We all want love.  Let’s be that love.  

  • 2014 Smithsonian Folklife Festival

    2014 Smithsonian Folklife Festival

    July 8, 2014

    Deborah welcoming guests to the opening reception of the 2014 Smithsonian Folklife Festival celebrating Kenya and China. She was also one of the sponsors of “Divas Night,” celebrating women singers from Kenya.  

  • Career Girls

    Career Girls

    May 15, 2014

    “It isn’t enough to tell young girls to “dream big” or “aim high.” Without proper encouragement, or concrete methods for turning their abilities into tangible careers, many young women can simply flounder in the educational system. Career Girls is an organization dedicated to providing young girls of all income levels and ethnic backgrounds with the […]

  • Grace Lee Boggs

    Grace Lee Boggs

    March 25, 2014

    I describe myself as a social activist, philanthropist, and spiritual seeker. I study the history and expressions of women leaders who are working to make the world a better place for all. One of my sheroes is Grace Lee Boggs, who started a school to nurture creative, critical thinkers who contribute to the well-being of […]

  • Come see 2 films by Oscar Nominated filmmaker, Robin Friday

    Come see 2 films by Oscar Nominated filmmaker, Robin Friday

    February 13, 2014

    Dear Friends, Please come see 2 films by Oscar Nominated filmmaker, Robin Friday! The Barber of Birmingham has won numerous accolades, as well as an Oscar nomination; Riding My Way Back brings the story of soldiers suffering trauma from war healing through a connection with horses. Tuesday, March 4th in Oakland – join me!

  • Unsung Heroes of Compassion

    February 1, 2014

    Do A Little blog The Unsung Heroes of Compassion is an event that began in 1999, as a result of a private conversation between His Holiness, the…

  • Winter


    January 22, 2014

    January usually finds me hibernating in cold, rainy weather, my heater turned up, while I wait for warmer days. But this first month of 2014 is different — daytime temperatures are in the 70s, we have had no rain, and 62 percent of California has been classified as under “extreme drought”. On my morning hikes, […]

  • Education is Power

    September 1, 2013

    Do A Little just turned 5 years old. We have had the glorious opportunity to support over 40 non-profit organizations that bring positive change to…

  • A Moment to Reflect

    A Moment to Reflect

    August 2, 2013

    Instead of rushing to my usual Sunday church service, I stay home in quiet. It is freeing to break habits and allow myself to just be. I am comfortable listening to birds, wind, the pulsing of my heart, and thoughts that rise and fall. I read Clark Strand’s delicious book, Seeds From a Birch Tree, […]

  • Make a Beloved Community

    Make a Beloved Community

    April 30, 2013

    It seems violence is all around us, yet we continue with our lives wondering what we can do, being upset, throwing up our hands, and often looking around suspiciously, concerned for our safety. Some people buy guns. I am a true believer in nonviolence, a child of the Civil Rights Movement and Dr. Martin Luther […]