Community Profile: Sandra Nathan

Text and photo by Bruce Hyland

After her morning ritual of contemplation, meditation, and running, Sandra Nathan is “ready to go.” Really…ready to go. She’s a whirlwind of action. She’s not thinking of retiring because “I’m still having fun and making an impact.” She comes from parents who showed her the way. Both were racial and social justice activists. The family mantra is: “From those who much is given, much is expected.”

Sandra’s best friend describes her as a quiet mover and shaker throughout her entire life. Professionally, she has held executive leadership positions with Humanity United, Astraea Lesbian Foundation for Justice, Community Foundation for Southern Arizona, AIDS Emergency Fund/Breast Cancer Emergency Fund, Richmond Children’s Foundation, City and County of San Francisco and AARP. She is deeply rooted in philanthropy which she reminds us is based on the love of humanity.

One of her proudest accomplishments was when she was Senior Vice President of Economic Security with the National Council on Aging. [Reporters note: She was quite modest when telling me this and gave lots of credit to other people.] She led strategic initiatives to improve the lives of economically vulnerable low-income adults. Her work significantly influenced the Older Americans Act and the Senior Economic Security Initiative. She whispers, “That work now influences 39 million older adults.” Thanks, Sandra.

It’s hard to imagine her having much time for herself, but she enjoys cooking and the accompanying good wine; reading; and is learning to play the cello again. She played as a child, so her love of stringed instruments is coming full circle. Her message to Senior Pride: I’m so proud of Senior Pride and the almost-single-handed advocacy for senior LGBTQ+ folks. Keep on keepin’ on!