The vision to create a community endowment was perhaps the most audacious idea the first Board articulated in 1983. By Sept. 1989, the Board had created an endowment fund of $100,000 under the leadership of President Rosanne Holliday. In 2004, an agreement with the San Dieguito River Valley JPA signed by Foundation President Lynn Gaylord resulted in the transfer of $500,000 to the Foundation, to be managed as an endowment to provide funding for the future physical maintenance and management of the San Dieguito Lagoon once responsibility for maintenance of the lagoon transfers from Southern California Edison to the JPA (an event which has not yet occurred). The creation of the Lagoon Endowment spurred the development of investment and financial management expertise within the Foundation that would make management of a significant community endowment possible.
In the Foundation’s 25th year (2007), that early vision was fully realized with the formal launch of the community endowment, with the initial goal to raise $600,000 in 2007-08. Joel Holliday, who had first articulated this vision in 1983 as one of the three original board members, served as the development chair guiding the establishment of the community endowment and leading the founding endowment campaign. Today, the Foundation manages more than $5 million in endowment funds.
The commitment to capital improvement and projects and public spaces can be found in many projects over the years: in 1989, to beautify residential streets and assist in improving Powerhouse Park, and a decade later, in the Foundation’s fiscal sponsorship and a $10,000 grant for the campaign to renovate the Powerhouse, with the Powerhouse Community Center celebrating its grand opening in Dec. 1999. The Foundation’s history of funding Del Mar Garden Club-led public garden projects included a 1991 garden at the Post Office, followed by similar grants for other downtown and public spaces.
In later decades, the Foundaton’s greater resources resulted in a $35,000 grant for Shores Park acquisition, and a $35,000 grant for construction of the Beach Safety Center and Lifeguard Headquarters, with an additional $10,000 grant for the adjacent boardwalk and garden. The Foundation made a $125,000 grant for community-serving amenities for the Del Mar Civic Center, including staging and other furnishings and a state-of-the-art sound system for community events in Town Hall, elements of the catering kitchen that support nonprofit and community uses, and outdoor furniture that welcomes the community to the beautiful plaza spaces. More recently, the Foundation made a $180,000 grant to the City in response to Covid-19 impacts on the City’s budget, funding major repairs to the Beach Safety Center, Phase 3 of the River Path Del Mar, extending the existing trail from the Grand Ave. Overlook (Bridge) to Crest Canyon, and other important community amenities.
Throughout the Foundation’s history, even as it continually adapts to changing times, its diverse array of programs, activities, and grants have something important in common: to stay true to the visionary course adopted by its founders and to develop and manage the resources that make it possible to bring that vision to fruition.