Susan and David Gill honored for philanthropic leadership


KING CITY — Community service and giving are homegrown for Susan and David Gill of King City — the Community Foundation for Monterey County (CFMC)’s 2017 Distinguished Trustee Award recipients.

The award, presented Oct. 25 at the CFMC’s annual Celebration of Philanthropy at Corral de Tierra Country Club, honors those who have demonstrated philanthropic leadership in supporting nonprofits in Monterey County.

“David and Susan have humbly, quietly and steadily been active donors and volunteers for dozens of nonprofit organizations from King City to Monterey,” said Steve McGowan, CFMC 2017 Board Chair. “Their decades of involvement and leadership have inspired and encouraged others and helped change lives though their support of education, sports, health and the arts.”

David Gill grew up working on the family farm on the outskirts of King City. A third-generation grower, he heads Rio Farms and Gills Onions and is recognized as a leader in the agricultural industry. He heads Hartnell Community College’s Agriculture Steering Committee and chairs The First Tee of Monterey County.

Susan Gill, a former educator, has been a steadfast supporter of local libraries and co-chaired the campaign to build the Hartnell Community College King City Education Center. She has served as a board member, volunteer fundraiser and hands-on volunteer for several nonprofit organizations.

Together, they have transformed educational and character-building opportunities for their South County neighbors. 
“Giving means so much to both of us. We have seen the direct benefits within our community,” David Gill said.

The Gills believe education is a powerful equalizer. They support many scholarships to promising students to help them achieve their goals.

“Susan and I really like to focus on youth organizations to help influence youth and support education,” he added.

The couple has also been instrumental in the campaign to restore and retrofit Mission San Antonio de Padua in South County.

“School children come and visit and can see how life was many years ago,” Susan Gill said. “It’s like taking a step back in time. I just want to preserve it for future generations to visit.”

The Gills were founding family members of the Southern Monterey County Foundation, the CFMC’s first affiliate fund, which provides grants to benefit communities from King City to points south.

“The Gills’ wide-ranging, consistent and generous contributions of their time, energy, talent and resources is an incredible example of philanthropic leadership,” McGowan said. “Their passion to give back makes them a ‘dynamic duo’ for doing good.”

In addition to receiving the Hartnell College Leadership award individually, and serving on multiple nonprofit and ag industry boards, the Gills have received several awards together, including:

  • 1995 King City Citizens of the Year and Salinas Valley Chamber Ag Leadership Award
  • 2008 Valley of the World Ag Leaders Award, National Steinbeck Center
  • 2009 Philanthropists Award, Arts Council for Monterey County
  • 2012 Monterey Bay Business Hall of Fame, Junior Achievement
  • 2016 Growing Future Leaders Award, Boy Scouts of America
  • 2017 Distinguished Trustee Award, Community Foundation for Monterey County

The Community Foundation for Monterey County’s Celebration of Philanthropy thanks those who support and partner with it to invest in healthy, safe, vibrant communities. As award recipients, the Gills designated a $10,000 grant from the CFMC to the nonprofit organization of their choice, The First Tee of Monterey County.

The CFMC granted $15.4 million in 2016 to more than 400 nonprofits. The mission of the Community Foundation for Monterey County is to inspire philanthropy and be a catalyst for strengthening communities throughout Monterey County. For more information, visit www.cfmco.org.

Video News