Lori Bickel and Maeve Pesquera bring their past philanthropic knowledge to the nonprofit

PASO ROBLES — Must! Charities, a nonprofit organization dedicated to fostering community development and social impact, is celebrating its 12th anniversary while simultaneously announcing the addition of two professionals, Lori Bickel and Maeve Pesquera, to its Executive Board.

Since its inception, Must! Charities has been steadfast in its commitment to change the model of philanthropy throughout the northern region of San Luis Obispo County. As the organization celebrates another year of service and impact, it remains dedicated to its mission of uniting donors, pooling resources, and investing strategically in the community.

“The past 12 years have flown by,” said Becky Gray, founding executive director of Must! Charities. “In that time, we have experienced the incredible power of collective giving that has changed the trajectory of nonprofits in our community and positively impacted thousands of lives. But we are just scratching the surface on the potential of what can transpire … we’ve got more work to do.”

As part of its ongoing commitment to advance its mission, Must! Charities welcomes two individuals to its Board of Directors. The newest members bring a wealth of experience, expertise, and a shared dedication to serving the community. Bickel and Pesquera both embody the essence of Must! Charities: the power of everyday people, giving back to their community, and together making big impacts.

“We are honored to welcome our new board members, whose passion and leadership undoubtedly strengthen our organization’s capacity to make a meaningful difference,” Gray said. “Their diverse perspectives and invaluable contributions are already further propelling our efforts to build a brighter future for our community.”

Bickel is a seasoned board member and Must! devotee, who served on the board from 2014 to 2016. Since then she has been an integral part of Must! Charities’ Collaborative Circle, volunteering her time to help the determine the nonprofit projects Must! invests in. 

“It’s an honor and a privilege to serve on the board again,” stated Bickel. “I’ve seen firsthand how the Must! model benefits donors, supports and energizes nonprofits, and moves the needle to address the critical concerns of our communities in San Luis Obispo County.”

Pesquera is new to the board but not new to philanthropy and business strategy. In addition to her executive role as senior vice president, strategy and business development, at DAOU Vineyards, Pesquera holds board and leadership roles in numerous wine industry and philanthropic organizations. Committed to mentorship, she is dedicated to developing the next generations of leaders and works tirelessly to ensure the wine industry and our community continue to thrive. 

“Must! Charities and their model have a profound impact on the hearts, hands and minds of our beloved region,” Pesquera explains. “I am honored to participate in furthering their vision and impact.”

As Must! Charities celebrates its 12th year anniversary; the organization reaffirms its commitment to using a trust-based philanthropy approach while operating with the 100 percent model, created by its founders in 2012. 

“Trust-based philanthropy is about showing up as donors with more than dollars,” Gray said. “We are actively engaged and value the overall health and well-being of the organizations we invest in so that they are better positioned to serve our communities in the best way possible.” 

One-hundred percent of the overhead at Must! Charities is covered by the Executive Board and a few private donors so that 100 percent of community giving dollars are invested directly into projects. Through strategic partnerships, innovative programs, and the dedication of its supporters, Must! Charities continues to be a catalyst for transformation in San Luis Obispo County.

To find out more, visit mustcharities.org

Feature Image: From left: Must! Charities Executive Director Becky Gray, Executive Assistant Megan Leishman, Donor Relations Manager Erika Martin, and Community Projects Manager Randy Gray. Photo provided by Must! Charities