Guide Dogs of the Desert Welcomes Dr. Jonathan Lorenzo Yorba as New Executive Director

Dr. Jonathan Lorenzo Yorba has been appointed as the new
Executive Director of Guide Dogs of the Desert. The Board of Directors unanimously selected
Yorba to lead the internationally accredited Guide Dog school located on an eight-acre hillside
education campus in the greater Palm Springs region. The organization is approaching its 50th
year celebration and includes a wellness center/hospital, student residences, nursery,
professional kitchen, dining hall and large auditorium.

A mission-driven leader committed to public and community service, Dr. Yorba brings to the
position nearly three decades of executive leadership experience in philanthropy, nonprofit
organizations, government, and the corporate sector. He has raised literally millions of dollars
for nonprofit organizations. Board Chair Gary Jeandron states, “Dr. Yorba has a lot of optimism
about where we can go from here. He understands that this is a community, one where we work
to bring out the very best in each other. And he recognizes that our students didn’t come here to
survive. They are here to thrive.”

Formerly, Dr. Yorba served as Chief Administrative Officer for Martha’s Village and Kitchen,
Planned Giving and Grants Officer for The Living Desert, and President and CEO of The
Community Foundation. He is currently Chair of the Ford Fellows Fund, which seeks to increase
diversity in academia through providing fellowships, in partnership with the Ford Foundation and
the National Academy of Sciences. Yorba was also a member of The Council on Foundations, a
national leadership association.

Prior to becoming Executive Director, Dr. Yorba was familiar with Guide Dogs of the Desert,
which matches custom trained Guide Dogs with individuals who are legally blind, offering
increased access and mobility to the world. He witnessed firsthand the life-changing work of
GDD during a graduation ceremony, where legally blind students and their Guide Dogs are
celebrated for completing rigorous training. “There wasn’t a dry eye in the room, including mine,”
he said of the graduation ceremony. “This organization is about empowerment. It’s about
independence and mobility. And it’s about life-long companionship. I am humbled to be able to
do such important work with an amazing, dedicated and accomplished staff.”

Yorba’s focus is ensuring the long-term success and sustainability of GDD now and for decades
to come. “We have a noble cause, wonderful donors, and passionate board members, staff, and
volunteers,” he said. “What we’re going to do together is to further lay the foundation of the next
50 years for Guide Dogs of the Desert.”

Guide Dogs of the Desert has been helping legally blind students gain independence and
companionship through Guide Dogs for almost 50 years.

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