Scouting Gala to Honor Malin Burnham and Steve Williams for Outstanding Service to San Diego

Champions of Scouting Celebration will take place aboard the USS Midway on Sept. 30.

SAN DIEGO – The San Diego-Imperial Council Boy Scouts of America (SDIC) will pay commendation to civic leaders Malin Burnham and Steve Williams on Sept. 30, at its annual Champions of Scouting Celebration aboard the USS Midway Museum downtown at Navy Pier, along the San Diego Bay. Honorees are chosen based on their contributions to the community and how their values reflect the scouting program’s principles. 


The annual SDIC Champions of Scouting event is held to honor those San Diego community leaders who recognize and support the positive impacts resulting from its youth leadership and community service programs.


“The Champions of Scouting Event has taken place for over 12 years; since 2009, we’ve honored 14 Champions of Scouting for their support of Scouting,” said Elora Lawyer, Fundraising Assistant for San Diego – Imperial Council, Boy Scouts of America. “The event includes a dinner, honoree recognition with tribute videos, and live music entertainment, including The Beach Boys in 2021.” 


Burnham and Williams have devoted much of their lives to making San Diego a better place through hands-on volunteer leadership in various local organizations, generous philanthropy, and being the strongest champions for the San Diego region.  


“There are no stronger advocates for San Diego than Malin and Steve,” said SDIC Scout Executive/CEO Sean Roy in a press release from Aug. 15. “They lead by example and exemplify what Scouting is all about by doing, as Scouts like to say, ‘good turns daily.’ We are thrilled to honor these two fine gentlemen.”


Burnham is an avid sailor who founded the San Diego Sailing Center at the San Diego Yacht Club. The center houses the junior sailing and high school sailing team programs.  


He is the former Chairman of John Burnham & Company Insurance and Burnham Real Estate and has been an active board member of several major corporations. Burnham’s current involvements include being a board member of the Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute, Rady School of Management, and the USS Midway Museum, as well as the Chairman of the Sanford Consortium for Regenerative Medicine. In addition, he co-endowed the Burnham-Moores Center for Real Estate at the University of San Diego.


Burnham is the author of “Community Before Self: Seventy Years of Making Waves,” which elaborates on how to live a life of integrity and personal giving. Burnham writes that everyone can contribute toward enhancing their community by volunteering their time and effort regardless of income, political views, or age.


He received his Bachelor’s degree in industrial engineering from Stanford University, was elected to the University of California Board of Trustees in 1996, and serves on the Chancellor’s Executive Advisory Cabinet for UC San Diego.


Williams is the Founding Principal of SENTRE, a real estate investment firm headquartered in San Diego with investment properties from San Diego to Portland.  


Williams is also a Co-Founder of VESTA with Mexican entrepreneur Lorenzo Berho. VESTA develops industrial buildings and parks throughout Mexico with a 35 million square foot portfolio of property. Today, VESTA shares are publicly traded on the NYSE and the Bolsa (Mexican Stock Exchange).


Williams is very active in the San Diego bi-national community. He is currently Co-Chair of the Smart Border Coalition and is a former Co-Chair of the Southern California Leadership Council. Additionally, he has also served on the boards of the San Diego Regional Economic Development Corporation, CONNECT, the Burnham Institute, and the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center.  


Williams has been Consultant of the Year to Jr. Achievement and is in their San Diego Hall of Fame. In addition, Williams has won the Alonzo Horton Award from the Downtown Partnership and the Visionary Award from LEAD San Diego.


He is an Eagle Scout and the grandson of Arthur Banker, Co-Founder of Coldwell Banker and CBRE.


Williams graduated from UCLA in 1972 and received an MBA from USC in 1974.


SDIC says it is proud to honor Burnham and Williams as examples of the highest ideals of Scouting. 


The Champions of Scouting gala welcomes all and includes dinner, live entertainment, dancing, and more. Tickets range from $300 for an individual to $50 thousand, which consists of a named presenting sponsor with two prominently placed tables for ten guests each, verbal acknowledgment from the podium during the gala, a major acknowledgment in the event program, and two full-page advertisements in the printed event program. To purchase tickets or for sponsorship opportunities, email Or call (619) 618-8234.


“The San Diego-Imperial Council’s mission is to instill the values found in the Scout Oath and Law in young people and to prepare them to make ethical choices during their lifetimes, to take leadership roles as adults, and to become productive and responsible citizens,” said the press release. “We accomplish our mission in partnership with chartered organizations and chosen, well-trained leaders as we:


·   Create a Scouting environment that attracts and develops the finest volunteer and professional leadership.

·   Connect with the communities we serve to build strong neighborhoods through Scouting families.

·   Develop strong units using innovative programs and outreach efforts that affect youth positively.

·   Provide hands-on experiences for our youth through Scouting programs that help them become competent people with a sense of self-worth.”


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