Margaret Iwanaga-Penrose


Margaret Iwanaga Penrose is the President & CEO of Union of Pan Asian Communities (UPAC), a 501(C) (3) comprehensive human care organization addressing the critical health, behavioral, social, housing, economic and community development needs of Asian, Pacific Islander, Latino, Middle Eastern, East African, African American and other ethnic communities in San Diego region. UPAC provides culturally and linguistically competent services to over 34,000 low to moderate income immigrants and refugees annually in Adult and Older Mental Health, Child and Adolescent Mental Health, Addiction Treatment and Recovery, Child and Youth Development, Health Promotion, Housing Counseling, Economic and Community Development and Cultural Competency Training and Education. UPAC recognizes the diverse ethnic and cultural identities and strengths of children, youth, adults and families and their need for self-sufficiency. UPAC staff, representing 28 different languages and dialects, is dedicated to improving its community members’ quality of life by building trust and achieving sustainable results.   Iwanaga Penrose has over 40 years of experience including public and private administration of service delivery systems, training, consultation and education, public-private partnerships, and policy development and advocacy. Her extensive governmental, non-profit and corporate community involvement has included local, regional, state, and national boards; commissions; committees; and task forces. Community involvement has included SDSU President search and transition advisory committees, Kyoto Symposium Organization, California API Budget Partnership Steering Committee, Asian Business Association of Sam Diego, San Diego Association of Non-Profits, Japan Society of San Diego of San Diego & Tijuana, Asian American Advancing Justice Demographic Reports on Asian Americans/Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders in San Diego region, and County of San Diego Behavioral Health System of Care Council. Her continuing work is guided by belief that quality of community is reflected in its capacity to assist, heal and strengthen its most vulnerable members. She has a Master’s degree and doctoral studies in Human Development from University of Chicago with focus on Clinical Psychology, Developmental Psychology, and Cross-Cultural Studies.   She has been a recipient of numerous awards including:

  • Community Legacy Award (Asian Business Association of San Diego)
  • Phillips Community Award (Japan Society of San Diego and Tijuana)
  • Outstanding Asian Pacific Islander Leadership Award (LEAP/Leadership Education for Asian Pacifics, Inc.)
  • On behalf of the UPAC Health Project (The C. Everett Koop National Health Award)
  • Visionary in Diversity Award (LEAD San Diego, Inc)
  • Agency Executive of the Year Award (United Way of San Diego County)
  • Community Leadership Awards (Asians for Corporate and Community Action),
  • Leadership Award (Cavite Association of Southern California, Inc.)
  • Outstanding Community Service to San Diego Community Award (Pan Asian Lawyers of San Diego and Filipino American Lawyers of San Diego)
  • Outstanding Achievement in the Service of Humankind Award (Youth Advocacy/Innocent Addicts Humanitarian Awards)
  • Vision and Courage Award (The Catfish Club)
  • On behalf of UPAC Aging and Independence Services Public Health Champion Awardee (San Diego County’s Live Well San Diego)
  • Asian Heritage Awards for Excellence in Community Services (Asian American Society)