Dianna Geist is a new member of Impact100 SJ, having joined in the Fall of 2020 after attending a virtual information session. Dianna had seen Facebook posts about Impact100 SJ shared by another member, Valerie Buickerood, and became interested in learning more. Having been involved in charitable organizations in South Jersey for years, she was intrigued by the idea of women’s collective giving for impact. While working as Director of Major Gifts and Annual Fund at John W. Hallahan Catholic Girls’ High School in Philadelphia, it surprised her how many women were not making philanthropic decisions in their households. Dianna was shocked at the difference between alumni giving to Roman Catholic High School, a historic boys school, and the alumnae at Hallahan, especially given that many of the women were married to alumni of Roman Catholic. The response to her donation solicitations was often that women didn’t think their donations were large enough to make a difference. Naturally, the Impact100 model intrigued her and after learning more, she became a member.
Dianna is eager to meet and connect with a group of like-minded women who understand how powerful a force collective giving can be and is looking forward to live events in the future. In the meantime, she served on this year’s financial review committee. Her time in nonprofit fundraising at Hallahan was a detour in her long career in finance. Dianna has since returned to her finance roots and is currently a Vice President with Citizens Bank where her role includes finding opportunities for the bank to engage with nonprofits in South Jersey and Philadelphia. Both her job and Impact100 SJ align perfectly with Dianna’s values. Being a South Jersey native, she has served on boards and committees and has volunteered for many nonprofits, community organizations, and her church over the years. Some of her community work includes, currently serving on the board of People’s Emergency Center in West Philadelphia; having served as Gala Chair for Samaritan for 7 years; she taught CCD for 15 years; served on the board of the Women’s Political Caucus of NJ; and is involved as a committee member with the Colgan Foundation which provides scholarships for students from underserved communities.
The mother of two adult daughters, Dianna is particularly passionate about women and girls’ causes, especially those that provide opportunities to help young women break the cycle of poverty. She has been a model for her daughters whom she has always involved in her service activities, and as adults, they share her service heart. Dianna expects that Impact100 SJ will be an important part of her legacy and provides a great opportunity to learn about the impactful work of organizations in South Jersey.
Now living in the Fairmount section of Philadelphia, after selling their Marlton home of 25 years in 2019, Dianna and her husband Brad continue to honor their South Jersey roots with a second home in Margate. As a family, they enjoy traveling abroad and are avid Penn State football fans, and Dianna is a member of the competitive Dragon Boat team, the Philadelphia Flying Phoenix. Her proudest moment with the team was competing as National Champions and representing the U.S. in Ravenna, Italy in 2015. She is inspired by her teammates, particularly the crew made up of breast cancer survivors! Inspirational women and community service are two threads woven into the fabric of Dianna’s life and values.