A tribute to our founder Patty Siegel

By Janet Zamudio
Children’s Council Director of Parent Services

Pelosi Thank You at Holy Family - Patty doing what she does best

Patty Siegel at a rally with members of Parent Voices.

Our dear friend and founder of Children’s Council, Patricia Siegel, passed away recently. Click here to read Patty Siegel’s obituary in the San Francisco Chronicle.

Patty, a passionate advocate for children and families, was the founder of the Childcare Switchboard, now Children’s Council of San Francisco. She (and Arlyce Currie, founder of BANANAS Child Care Resource and Referral in Oakland) are credited for getting state funding for Child Care Resource and Referral Services in every county in California and she helped found the Child Care Law Center, the California Child Care Resource & Referral Network, and she secured funding to create Parent Voices.

When asked about her vision to create the infrastructure that helps support families and children through child care, she would humbly state, “I did what I knew what was right. I never had a grandiose plan of creating all that came to be.” Patty always fought to heighten awareness of the needs of families and children in California. Her legacy and our shared work here at Children’s Council will live on!

Leno + Patty

Patty Siegel with Senator Mark Leno

Personally, Patty was a mentor and my friend. She encouraged me to speak about my own experience of being a single Latina mom and to use that experience when advocating for all families. She understood how scary that can be, and how I could help others understand my own struggles. I was honored that she asked me to speak at her retirement party in 2012, where I made a tribute to Patty, something I always hold dear to my heart.

When I saw Patty in November at an event in Berkeley for the Child Care Law Center, she explained to my ten-year-old daughter Maya why her skin was blemished. She then pulled me aside to say, “I have to talk to you about the child care wait list in San Francisco (SF3C). I have ideas about it. When can we get lunch?” Patty and I didn’t get to our lunch date because she fell ill shortly after. Patty was constantly thinking about how to support families in all areas and made sure she told you her thoughts.

A celebration of Patty’s life will be held on January 31 at the Golden Gate Club in the Presidio from 1-5pm.

Blessings to you all and your family as we begin this new year.

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