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The San Diego History Center Raises $115,000 at Its 90th Anniversary Gala

Plus nearly 100 TVs are donated to South Bay schools, and the Children’s Nature Retreat Foundation raises money for families in West Africa and its local animal sanctuary

Event co-chairs Julie Cowan Novak and Kristi Pieper with state Senate leader Toni Atkins at the Makers of San Diego History gala April 21.

The San Diego History Center hosted its annual Makers of San Diego History gala April 21 and also celebrated its 90th anniversary. The longtime Balboa Park institution raised $115,000 at the event highlighting the local people and places that have made their mark on history. The funds will go toward a new core exhibition, oral history outreach programs, and scholarships for aspiring historians.

Well-known San Diego philanthropists Julie Cowan Novak and Kristi Pieper co-chaired the elegant event at the Prado and, along with History Center Executive Director William Lawrence, welcomed 300 guests. Among those in attendance were Honorary Chairman Malin Burnham, state Senate leader Toni Atkins, and longtime supporters Dr. Iris Engstrand and Kay Porter. The evening included a champagne reception followed by an anniversary dinner.


Several TVs are delivered to Feaster Charter School through a partnership between the South County Economic Development Council and Samsung.

Movie days in 12 South Bay schools just got a little sweeter. The South County Economic Development Council and Samsung partnered up to deliver 97 new smart TVs to elementary, middle, and charter schools in Chula Vista, Imperial Beach, National City, and south San Diego. Certain South County schools received TVs last year too, but according to the SCEDC, starting next year, elementary and middle schools countywide will be eligible.  

“We are ecstatic about the continued partnership with Samsung because of the progress made by last year’s smart TVs,” said Norma Hernandez, SCEDC’s second vice chair and education liaison. “Students and teachers have been able to use the TVs to enhance lessons and even connect with classrooms on the other side of the world. It’s an exceptional tool we are grateful to be able to provide.”


Donors, sponsors, guests, and volunteers donned their best bell-bottoms and headed down to the Mission Bay Hilton May 12 for The Children’s Nature Retreat Foundation’s version of Saturday Night Fever. The foundation’s seventh annual Disco Ball fundraiser brought in more than $91,000 for the Children’s Nature Retreat animal sanctuary in Alpine and the work it does to support families and educational programs in Burkina Faso, West Africa. The funds will be used to bring underprivileged kids to visit the Retreat, and toward a nursery, preschool programs, and scholarships for kids in West Africa.

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