“Ritter Center should be the biggest wake up call for those who call Marin home.” – Toni Doyle, Ritter Center Board Member
Ritter Center is thrilled to announce our newest board member Toni Doyle. With her background in development and grant writing, she will be a wonderful addition to the already robust skill set of our board.
Toni had heard about Ritter Center’s work serving the community through Ritter Center board member and neighbor Carol Angel. They shared a common point of interest in helping others.
“My work at St. Boniface in the Tenderloin is one of the projects I am most proud of in my career. We were able to reopen the school that became De Marillac Academy. Spending time in the community in the Tenderloin enabled me to meet some of the most amazing people in my life.
I also learned a profound lesson through Father Louis Vitale, OFM, who taught me that everyone wants to be a part of creating change in the community, regardless of their financial capacity to fundraise or donate. Every single person will want to contribute in some fashion. In fact, a core part of our fundraising group were women who were experiencing homelessness. The people that Father Vitale cared for in his parish found not only respite from the streets, but a way to give back and forge a new future by tucking in whatever dollars they could to the envelopes in the church. Everyone truly wanted that chance to participate.
I recall one of the envelopes in particular. It was hand delivered to me with the most beautiful cursive handwriting script which said the following: ‘This is all l I can contribute at this point’. Indeed, that was the point. This was his home, too. His spiritual home. He would do whatever he could do as a human being loved by his maker, and as a solid member of the parish community. We felt their support. They said that they were going to help us in any way that they could, and they did,” recalled Toni.
“While working in the Tenderloin, what struck me as I parked on Jones and Golden Gate was how overwhelming a moment in my life it was to see up close and personal what it was like for people living on the streets. I had never been confronted with the horrors of people no longer having the capability of living in a room.
One person I became close to was James who was living on the streets at the time. He taught me about the etiquette of the streets, and I took that knowledge back to my own life, which I was even more grateful for as I started to see issues around drug abuse, alcohol, mental illness, physical ailments and disability start to chip away at people’s ability to stay housed. COVID made those cracks even wider,” shared Toni.
“In Marin, people live here under the delusion that only wealthy people live here. But it simply isn’t true. Ritter Center should be the biggest wake up call for those who call Marin home. COVID has underscored time and again that we are all interconnected. Whether it is COVID, the labor shortage, the cost of housing, rising gas prices, or the systemic supply chain issues and shortages, the simple truth is here. We need each other in the most mundane ways and also in the most profound ways,” said Toni.
We are thankful and excited to have you join our Board, Toni and we can’t wait to see the ways in which you get involved to further our mission!