Paying it forward

Zaneta Encarnacion

Thu August 28, 2014 10:13am

Many of us have been the recipients of helping hands throughout our lives. Holocaust survivor and philanthropist Gert Koppel played that role in the lives of Eastlake resident LaVonne Cashman and her family. Koppel provided a partial scholarship for six consecutive years so Cashman’s son Paul could attend Francis Parker School. 
“All he asked in return is that we pay it forward. He wanted us to share what we had, as he had shared what he had. He was an amazing man who had a big impact on my life,” said Cashman.
Throughout the following years, Cashman took those words as her marching orders and has honored the instructions with generous living. She is a current supporter of the San Diego Zoo, San Diego Museum of Art and the San Diego Humane Society. A San Diego State University graduate, Cashman also is a supporting member of the SDSU President’s Fund, Aztec For Life, Aztec Club and the KPBS Director’s Club.
Cashman is a lifelong Chula Vista resident who attended Rosebank Elementary and Hilltop Middle and High School. Her home community has not been left out of Cashman’s generosity. She is the historian for Las Primeras and sits on the Grants Committee of the Chula Vista Charitable Foundation. Both organizations are collective, giving vehicles that pool member resources to provide larger and more impactful gifts to local causes. 
Las Primeras recently awarded more than $50,000 local causes, and the Chula Vista Charitable Foundation has surpassed $100,000 in grants to local causes and has grown a Chula Vista community endowment to more than $190,000. 
“I feel like I have been blessed with many opportunities and I want to share that with others.  When I give of my time and resources I know that I am doing good for my community, but I get so much more back. It’s hard to describe what you get when you give, but I know for sure that I am the one who grows and benefits. I am amazed at what I see being accomplished when people join together with their ideas, hard work and donations. I challenge everyone to find a way to give back in your community. It’s a great way to meet like-minded people, to learn more about your neighborhood, and to see the good that can come about when people work together,” said Cashman
Cashman lives in Eastlake with her husband Paul, dog Lola and three cats, Arigato, Spartacus and Goose. 
Zaneta Encarnacion is director of the Chula Vista Charitable Foundation.