Friends of Balboa Park Receives $1 Million Donation

| May 2, 2021 | 0 Comments

Friends of Balboa Park has received a landmark donation from longtime benefactor and local philanthropist Dorothea Laub toward the historic Balboa Park Carousel. This gift brings her aggregate support of the Carousel to $1 million, one of the largest sums contributed to the organization since it was established in 1999.

“For an organization our size to receive such a significant amount from a single benefactor is humbling, especially at this time,” said Friends Executive Director John Bolthouse. “It also demonstrates the generosity of San Diegans and the power of philanthropy to still come together in such uncertain times to support Balboa Park.”

Laub’s donation enabled Friends of Balboa Park to reach its $3 million Carousel Capital Campaign goal, established when the nonprofit acquired the Carousel in 2017 after its nearly 100 years of family ownership. 

Of the $3 million, approximately $1.5 million went to the purchase of the Carousel. The remaining funds are earmarked for necessary restorations to preserve and enhance the Carousel. These repairs have continued throughout the Carousel’s mandatory closure since March 2020 under state COVID-19 regulations, and include ride restorations, carpentry repairs, upgraded lighting and electrical, enhanced security, and more. Planned upgrades include additional ride restorations, structural upgrades, fire suppression systems, interior painting, and securing historic designation.

“We are thrilled Dorothea’s generous gift helped us reach the $3 million fundraising goal,” said Friends Board member and Carousel capital campaign chair Ann Wilson. “Dorothea’s gift comprised a third of the overall campaign, and we could not have done this without her.”  

While the capital campaign goal has been met, donations for Carousel maintenance in perpetuity are still encouraged. Sponsorships available for 13 Carousel animal rides, several rides on the small children’s ride adjacent to the Carousel, benches on the Carousel deck, and other custom support opportunities.

For more information or to support, visit or call 619-232-2282. 

Dorothea Laub on her adopted Balboa Park Carousel ride.

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Category: Art, Donations, Historical, Local News, Nonprofit

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