After 100 years, Neighborhood House Association remains “very true to its mission”

October 31, 2014

By Pablo J. Sáinz

NHA CEO, Rudy Johnson

NHA CEO, Rudy Johnson

The largest social services agency in San Diego County is culminating a year-long celebration of its centennial with an elegant and sophisticated event.

Neighborhood House Association, which was founded in 1914, will have its 100 year black tie gala, Celebrating a Century of Service, on Saturday, November 8th, from 6 p.m. to 12 a.m., at the San Diego Convention Center, ballroom 20.

The gala, which will serve as a major fundraising event, will gather community, civic and corporate leaders, to celebrate the agency’s century of success and community service.

The Honorable James E. Clyburn, Representative of South Carolina’s 6th Congressional District will be the evening’s keynote speaker. Entertainment includes Jazz in Pink and CEO’s Rhythm Section.

“This gala really wraps us a year of celebration,” said Rudolph A. Johnson III, NHA President and CEO. “It is the highlight of our year, celebrating our community service.”

The centennial celebration kicked off back in January, when Neighborhood House Association held a ceremony at the Marston House Museum in Balboa Park. Community and business leaders came together to celebrate the agency’s achievements and commemorate the agency’s history and positive impact on the San Diego region.

NHA also had other events during the year, including a Celebrity Chefs Table, a Celebrity Golf Tournament, and a Community Day of Service.

For Johnson, these events reaffirmed NHA’s central role in promoting social justice and community service in San Diego County.

“I think we had a very successful centennial celebration,” he said. “We were able to educate the public about the services we offer. Our clients were very enthusiastic during each event.”

Founded in 1914 by a group of women, NHA began as a settlement house assisting Mexican and other immigrants in transitioning into the San Diego Community. NHA has been instrumental in supporting underserved communities throughout history’s most difficult periods, including the Mexican Revolution, the Great Depression and two World Wars.

In early January, the California State Assembly recognized NHA for its 100 years of service.

Although in a century NHA has grown into one of the largest human services organizations in San Diego providing service to more than 24,000 families each year, Johnson said that the agency hasn’t forgotten its roots.

“We still make sure that it is an efficient operation that maintains its heart,” he said.

Jacqueline Sherman-Rustin, NHA director of community affairs, said that the agency remains “very true to its mission” of serving others and promoting self-sufficiency.

Johnson added that the founding mothers were ahead of their time by realizing that Mexican immigrants deserved the same rights and benefits as anybody else in San Diego.

He said that about 40 to 45 percent of the people NHA serves is of Latino origin.

With an annual operating budget of over $84 million and more than 700 employees, NHA is the largest multi-purpose human services organization in San Diego County, serving thousands of residents (children, families, seniors, and youth) each year.
NHA provides employment for 700 individuals, operate twelve social service programs, and operates 120 sites throughout San Diego County. NHA is proud to continue the work the Marston family started in the area of civic welfare, social advocacy, and community engagement.

“I believe that if the Mar-ston sisters were still alive, they would be very proud of what Neighborhood House Association has accomplished in these 100 years,” Johnson said.

For more information on the black tie gala and to purchase tickets, and to learn more about all the services Neighborhood House Association offers, please visit


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