Brian Barreto has a long history with Wayfinder, dating back to 2008 when it was known as Junior Blind. In his position in external affairs for California American Water, Wayfinder’s water utility, he has been at the forefront of his company’s partnership with Wayfinder.
Brian recalls volunteering at Wayfinder’s athletic events, which his company sponsored. “Watching athletes who set goals and accomplish amazing things was really fulfilling to see in person,” he says. Also, employees of California American Water hold an annual holiday toy drive for children in Wayfinder programs.
When California American Water increased its philanthropic budget during the pandemic, Brian was able to double the company’s donation to Wayfinder—at a time when the need was high. “Other companies cut their philanthropic budgets or stopped giving during the pandemic,” Brian says. “But California American Water was fortunate to be able to give more money.”
When he was approached to become a member of Wayfinder’s Impact Council, “I was very honored,” Brian says. “It was not a difficult decision for me to become part of the council.”
On the Impact Council, Brian is working with fellow members to elevate Wayfinder’s profile in the community to attract more support for the organization. “Knowledge of Wayfinder and the good work happening on the campus should be spread far and wide,” he says.
Also, Brian arranged for Wayfinder to receive an unexpected gift from his company. He was touring Wayfinder’s Los Angeles campus when he noticed a drinking fountain with a trash bag over it. “I asked, ‘What’s going on with the water fountain?’” Brian remembers. Staff said that Wayfinder had turned off most of the water fountains for health reasons during the pandemic. Though others were back in service, this one was still off because of its age.
Brian told them that California American Water could replace old or inoperable water fountains with water bottle filling stations, which is part of the company’s overall conservation outreach program. According to Brian, “Their eyes got big, and they asked, ‘How many can we get?’ I said, ‘Let me know how many you want to change out.’”
Within eight weeks, a contractor from California American Water was removing six old water fountains and installing new water bottle fillers. The company will replace a seventh water fountain outdoors as well. “The bottle fillers are environmentally sound,” Brian explains. “They meet health requirements because they are touchless, and they prevent people from buying bottled water, so less plastic is being recycled.” Clients and staff really appreciate the new water bottle fillers!
“I’m honored to be part of the Impact Council,” Brian adds, “and honored to be working with so many other professionals and community leaders that have a real commitment to Wayfinder, its goals, its mission and the programs that it provides.”
Would you like to make an impact? Join us!
Contact Vanessa Botshekan, Assoc. Vice President for Development & Donor Relations
firstname.lastname@example.org or 323-295-4555 x205
May 17, 2023