10 Questions for Community Resource Center’s Rebecca Palmer


Rebecca Palmer is the director of programs for the Community Resource Center in Encinitas.

The Community Resource Center is a nonprofit social services agency serving coastal North San Diego County. It helps women and children become safe and self-sufficient by providing critical assistance in the form of domestic violence services, food programs, and emergency and transitional housing help.

Palmer’s career has included being a management consultant to for-profit and nonprofit organizations, with an emphasis on development and strengthening of organizational systems resulting in increased program innovation, growth and diversity.

She has experience in building and growing social enterprises as well as in designing and managing workforce development initiatives aimed at program participants with barriers to employment.

Before moving to San Diego, she was the executive director of a private nonprofit in Maine, where she expanded programs and services by 40 percent. In 2000, she relocated to the San Diego region and became the executive director at a leading international children’s charity providing volunteer medical surgical missions to infants and children in developing nations.

Palmer holds a master’s of science in management of community behavioral health services and a bachelor’s of science degree, obtained in Vermont and Maine, respectively.

What brought you to Encinitas?

I have family here in San Diego, daughter, sister and father, and had visited often over the years. Although I thought my next career move was going to be Zimbabwe to oversee a children’s orphanage, when my second granddaughter was born, I had a change of heart!

If you could snap your fingers and have it done, what might you add, subtract or improve in Encinitas?

I find Encinitas a very diverse community: both quaint and progressive. The citizens are well informed and substantially involved in addressing community needs. I have developed both personal and professional relationships with community members who have a high net worth as well as those who are experiencing homelessness, with lives fragmented by poverty, disability or victimization. At both ends of that spectrum and in between, Encinitas offers a community that integrates both.

Who or what inspires you?

I would say my greatest source continues to be my dad. He is now 92 and remains a very active educator, still teaching at a school for deaf children in Mexico. My entire adult life he has not had a financial “paycheck,” instead choosing a life to serve as a teacher in mission schools. And, he is one of the richest persons I know.

I also am inspired daily by the people that CRC serves in our programs, the courage and resiliency. Through CRC’s dedicated staff, community volunteers and donors, we are assisting people along the paths of safety, stability and self-sufficiency. And it is complicated and messy at times!

If you hosted a dinner party for eight, who (living or deceased) would you invite?

Answer: Mother Teresa, Bono, Malala Yousafzai, my papa and mum, Sister Dorothy Ammon, Dr. Matthew Varghese, my daughter and her daughters (sorry, that is a dinner party for 10!)

What are your favorite movies?

Answer: “Titanic,” “Slumdog Millionaire,” “The Lion King,” “Schindler’s List,” “Windtalkers,” “Pooh’s Grand Adventure: The Search for Christopher Robin.”

What is your most prized possession?

I suppose I’m supposed to name a material possession — which would be our family cabin back in Maine that my father built many years ago, from what was the barn that my great-grandfather had built. We go back every year and relish every moment a gift that continues to bless many generations. A rich heritage and legacy we all enjoy now and for years to come.

What do you do for fun?

I enjoy biking, puttering in the back yard, visiting with friends, walks. I really enjoy travel, in particular, to other nations.

What is it that you most dislike?

Mean people and the injustices that affect the most vulnerable.

What would be your dream vacation?

A multicontinental trip where I would meet friends and beneficiaries of humanitarian aid and the children who received life-saving surgeries through previous projects in which I participated.

What is your motto or philosophy of life?

“Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”