April 04, 2003

Hey, little ol' San Diego is really coming around. Not only does it rank as the seventh-largest city in the U.S., a position certain to move higher come the next census, but the city gradually is proving it is, or at least has the potential to become, something more than the provincial military border town of its longstanding reputation.

Case in point: The recent donation of $120 million by Irwin and Joan Jacobs to the San Diego Symphony, the largest donation ever to an American orchestra by an individual donor, according to Symphony magazine. (For the uninitiated, Mr. Jacobs is chairman and chief executive officer of Qualcomm Inc.)

The Jacobs's donation comes in two parts, Symphony reports: $50 million as a bequest and $70 million over the next 10 years.

"The annual payments will bring the orchestra's endowment to a level among the twenty largest in the nation, and will also supply $2 million a year in general operating funds, boosting the budget by more than 20 percent," according to the magazine.

Given the difficulty many American orchestras are having with fund-raising this year, a donation of this size could put the San Diego Symphony on a path to something really big. And that's what I call philanthropy!


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