Douglas Pavese of Santa Rosa High School Foundation wins Nonprofit Leadership Award

Douglas Pavese is a nonprofit consultant and is a board member of Santa Rosa High School Foundation.


Douglas Pavese of Santa Rosa High School Foundation has won one of North Bay Business Journal’s Nonprofit Leadership Awards.

Describe your organization

Upon retirement in 2006 and because of my professional financial consulting background, I believed that I could help 501c3 organizations not only in the management of their money and investments, but with their organization, fund raising and governance issues. My services are pro bono and advisory only. My personal resources include my experience and templates that may be modified to work for their organization.

I do ask each group to have their attorney review any final recommendations. Upon finishing the task I have been selected to do for the organization, I remain as a resource by email or phone conversation. I do not want recognition for what I do and I never accept invitations to join their Boards. Local educational institutions have been my sweet spot, but I am currently completing work with PDI Surgery in Windsor.

Former organizations included SRHS Foundation, SRJC Foundation, Montgomery Alumni Assn., Piner HS Foundation, Ursuline Foundation and Elsie Allen Foundation. From outside this area, I have phone consulted with Foundations in Eureka, Modesto, San Diego, Tallahassee, Pittsburg and a city in West Virginia.

Tell us a little bit about yourself

I was born and raised in Santa Rosa and had an outstanding experience in growing up in this wonderful town. Having graduated from St. Rose School, it instilled in me the concept of helping others. At SRHS, I was a member of the Key Club and impressed by the business people who taught the concept of giving back to the community.

After college and my active duty in the U.S. Navy and getting established in the financial industry, my family was started and I joined the Naval Reserve in 1970 doing anti-submarine duty and then a staff war planning duty until retiring from the Navy as a Commander in 1988. I have two grown daughters with wonderful husbands and grandchildren.

I would like to say that their values contain community awareness and both give back in so many different ways. The organizations that I am still involved with for over 20 years are the SRHS Foundation where I have been the President twice and now serve as the Chair of the Investment Committee. The other is the SRJC Foundation where I have been Chair of the Foundation and currently the Chair of their Investment Committee.

What achievement are you most proud of?

Restricting my comment to the nonprofit community, I would say it would be a part of a 6 person team that established the Santa Rosa High School Foundation in 1988. Working with that dedicated team has been an honor to bring funding over the years to SRHS student programs and scholarships that never would have occurred because of the ongoing state funding crisis in California.

Two of the original founders, including myself are still active Board Members. We are proud that, because of our donor base, we have delivered over $2,600,000 to non-funded program enhancements and scholarships since inception. The organization has high credibility in the community and has served as a model for other public high schools.

What is your biggest challenge today?

Probably, because of my age, I’m wrestling with the idea of lessening my duties and letting the “new kids” take the torch. I’m sure I would always be available as a mentor to any of the organizations I have worked with. My heart is always with them.

What is the next major project either underway or on the horizon?

I really don’t have one other to be a good citizen to my community. Maybe a few more vacations would fit my future priorities.

What motivates you to volunteer your time and talent?: I was just raised to think that way

How do you think your profession will change in the next five years?

That’s a great question. Most younger folks (25 to 45) are working hard to bring up their children and establish their successes in life. Boards often become aged in their thinking and need new blood. Somehow, it needs to be stressed to people over 45 that it is their time to step in and take on these community responsibilities. Maybe the Chamber of Commerce could continue to work with the community to develop leaders for these important community board openings. That just makes good business sense to me.

Is there anything you would like to add?

I just feel lucky to have been raised and lived most of my life in a town that has community as part of its value equation. It was that way in 1941 and it is that same way now. That’s remarkable since the population has grown from around 15,000 to 175,000

Most admired businessperson outside your organization: There is no doubt that I would have to say Steve Yaeger, long deceased, who was an owner of Yaeger & Kirk Lumber. He was a neighbor and a mentor and always supported me in so many ways.

Current reading: Anything about the U.S. Constitution.

Most want to meet: James Bond

Favorite hobbies: Competitive and noncompetitive golf; digital photography including Photoshop; having lunch and talking with old friends.

Social media you most use: Facebook

Buzzword from your industry you hate the most: The market will rally from here or some point lower.

Words that best describe you: Honest, caring, self-starter, loyal, patriotic, father