The Sweetens: One of San Diego's Most Charitable Families

How Vicki and Alan Sweeten are striving to pay it forward.

Alan Sweeten at work

I recently had the pleasure of meeting Vicki and Alan Sweeten, and I’ve got to tell you, this couple really lives up to the name, “sweet.” The philanthropy work they’ve dedicated their lives to has helped the San Diego community considerably.

Their philanthropy begins at home, instilling selfless values into their two children and all their close friends and associates. The Sweetens’ success lies in the little things. Success is painting a fence, building a tree house, or having dance parties with your children. Success is donating your time and money wherever you can.

For instance, Vicki Sweeten started a financial program at her company, iMortgage, which donates money for each new signup on behalf of their new client to a charity of that client’s choice. Then, she donates to that same charity in her own name. It’s a double-down donation strategy that really makes a significant impact.

Meanwhile, Alan Sweeten incorporates the gift of giving through his expertise in financial planning. “Good financial planners are more helpers than salesmen,” he says, and stresses that his methods don’t necessarily match up with those of Wall Street. “I just want to find a way to help people. I think that America would be exponentially better if everyone was more fiscally set up.” Mr. Sweeten believes a company’s focus should include its workforce’s finances. “It would better prepare them in the long run,” he says.

The Sweetens have worked with over 20 charities including St. Jude, Habitat for Humanity, My Stuffed Bag Foundation, Red Cross, Unicef, and that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Over the past two and a half years, they’ve even rescued 16 Labradors and have received the highest award from Labradors and Friends for their contribution.

The Sweetens also host donation parties that aim to benefit various charities, and in doing so, have inspired their friends to contribute as well. Most recently, they drew in 40 guests with the goal of gathering blankets and stuffed animals to donate to foster children. Their aptly named “Parties for a Purpose” have contributed to several great causes, and their next party will center around supplying new shoes to children in Africa.

When the Sweetens are not attending drives outside Petco & PetSmart or silent auctions and dinners, they offer to conduct free financial wellness education events at non-profits, businesses, and schools. They also host seminars and education workshops to help veterans find jobs outside of the military.

In the end, the heart of a true philanthropist lies in creating a better world. Their hope is to inspire more people to become givers and to be aware of their actions and impact on society. Their dream is to assemble a network of philanthropists who share their passion.

Their selflessness is ultimately embodied by their motto:

“What do you want to do? Let’s make it happen.”