Olivenhain resident to receive Distinguished Achievement Award at Scripps Memorial Hospital Encinitas event


Sandy Marriott Bertha, longtime Olivenhain resident and philanthropist, has been chosen to receive the 14th Annual Distinguished Achievement Award at a fundraiser to benefit the launch of the Newborn Safe Sleep Center at Scripps Memorial Hospital Encinitas.

Sandy Marriott Bertha
(Scripps Health)

Bertha has been active with numerous local and international organizations for years, including Rising Star Outreach, ChildFund International, Hope Projects of Peru, Friends of the Poor, Friends of San Pasqual, Ecke YMCA, Community Resource Center, Center for Community Solutions and Casa de Ampara. She sits on the advisory board of the BYU International Pathway program, BYU’s Marriott School of Business and the Woodbury School of Business at Utah Valley University. She also serves on the board of the Marriott Daughters Foundation, as well as the JW and Alice S. Marriott Foundation.

Through Bertha’s direction, the Marriott Daughters Foundation has committed multiple grants over the past decade to Scripps Encinitas to benefit the expansion of the emergency department, launch the robotic surgery program, purchase other medical technology and provide support for the Healing Arts Collection.

“My father always emphasized the importance of giving to your local hospital,” said Bertha, “because he said there will be a time at some point in your life where you will need good care and good doctors. Scripps has come a long way since my move to Encinitas 21 years ago. It’s been exciting to see the evolution. If you have the ability to contribute, why not put your money to good use supporting your local hospital to make it the best it can be!”

Bertha is also a former two-time world champion hydrofoil surfer. (A hydrofoil is a long and hydrodynamically-designed fin with wings which helps surfers glide effortlessly and smoothly above water.) She won her second World Championship title a month shy of her 40th birthday as a mother of four. “I loved that chapter of my life,” she recalls fondly. “I proved to myself that I can do hard things and that anything is possible with enough determination, practice and grit.”

Even though her world championships are impressive, she doesn’t consider them at the top of the list of her accomplishments. That place is reserved for her kids. “By far, my greatest accomplishment is that of being a mother and raising four wonderful children who are independent, service oriented, educated and have strong morals and values. Everything was secondary to me when it came to raising my kids, they were first!” Bertha and her husband of 30 years, Albert, are now the grandparents of a baby girl.

Her dedication to all children is emphasized by her generous contribution to the Newborn Safe Sleep Program in the Leichtag Birth Pavilion at Scripps Encinitas.

“I read up on the Newborn Sleep Program and it sounded like an excellent program, and who doesn’t love babies? The program focuses on keeping mothers and their newborns safe while in the hospital, as well as educating families about safe sleeping practices at home. Don’t we all wish babies the best experience for their first days on earth?”

According to Rachel Wissner, patient care director, the program provides education to new parents and caregivers about safe sleep practices for infants to reduce the incidence of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).

Bertha will be given the Distinguished Achievement Award by the Circle of Life 100, an organization that raises awareness and financial support for Scripps Memorial Hospital Encinitas, and honors members of the community who demonstrate outstanding leadership and philanthropic spirit. Scripps Health was founded in 1924 by philanthropist Ellen Browning Scripps and treats more than 700,000 patients annually.

The 14th Annual Distinguished Achievement Awards will take place Thursday, April 18, at the Del Mar Country Club located at 6001 Clubhouse Drive in Rancho Santa Fe. The event is from 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. and will include hors d’oeuvres, wine and refreshments. Tickets are $125 per person and proceeds will benefit the launch of the Newborn Safe Sleep Program in the Leichtag Birth Pavilion at Scripps Memorial Hospital Encinitas. For more information or to purchase tickets, go to Also call 760-633-7722 or email

Sandy Bertha helping someone with leprosy care for their feet.
(Scripps Health)