All posts by Jose Diaz

September 2014 Grants

Big Brothers and Big Sisters of San Diego County
A grant to Big Brothers and Big Sisters of San Diego County.

Casa Cornelia Law Center
A matching grant to fund the Capacity Improvement Project. Casa Cornelia is a public interest law firm providing legal services to victims of human and civil rights violations. The grant will help fund management of pro bono legal services.

Cesar Chavez Service Clubs
A general operating grant will support the Cesar Chavez Service Clubs, an afterschool program teaching youth self-reliance, leadership skills, collaboration, and community involvement by studying Cesar Chavez’s 10 core values. The program serves close to 1,000 youth from third through 12th grades. Nine of the 17 schools served are in City Heights.

Children’s Hospital Costa Rica Foundation
A grant to help fund a specialized medicine unit and a recreational therapy unit at the Children’s Hospital in Costa Rica.

Community Resource Center
A matching grant to help provide food programs for North Coastal San Diego’s low income, food insecure, individuals and families.

Foundation for the Children of the Californias
A grant to purchase equipment for ophthalmology surgeries at the “Hospital Infantil de las Californias” in Tijuana, Mexico. The children’s hospital recently added a third operating room to meet the increased demands for pediatric care. The hospital anticipates performing more than 10,000 surgeries in 2014. An estimated 60% of the hospital’s staff donate their time.

Fundación Éxito
In recognition of PriceSmart opening three new clubs in Colombian cities at the end of this year, a grant was approved to go to the Childhood Malnutrition program of Fundación Éxito, a non-profit foundation operating in Colombia. The foundation’s main focus is early childhood nutrition and health services for pregnant or nursing women.

Neighborhood House
A general operations grant to Neighborhood House for the Head Start program. Head Start provides federally funded child development programs for children ages three to five years old. Neighborhood House operates two Head Start programs in City Heights.

St. Vincent de Paul Village
A grant will support the Therapeutic Childcare program at St. Vincent de Paul in downtown San Diego. The Village provides housing and supportive services to impoverished and homeless residents. The Therapeutic Childcare program focuses on the social, emotional, and physical well-being of homeless children so they are prepared to be successful in both academics and life.

UCSD Shiley Eye Center
A matching grant will support the UCSD EyeMobile for Children. The mobile unit provides free of charge eye screenings, exams, and glasses, when necessary, to all students attending Hoover High feeder pattern elementary schools in Kindergarten, 1st grade, and 5th grades. Lack of vision care has been identified as a major obstacle to school readiness for low income children. Last year the program provided more than 2,500 screenings in City Heights and fitted 250 with glasses.

Price endows chair at Children’s Advocacy Institute

Price Philanthropies has made a grant to the University of San Diego Law School to establish the Fellmeth-Peterson Faculty Chair in Child Rights. The chair is being named the Fellmeth-Peterson Chair to honor the father of Robert C. Fellmeth and to honor Paul Peterson.

Professor Robert C. Fellmeth currently occupies the law school’s endowed chair in Public Interest Law and is the founding director of the Child Advocacy Institute. Paul Peterson, who served as the first chairman of the Council for Children at the institute, practiced law in San Diego for many years and taught at the University of San Diego Law School.


In 1980 Sol and Helen Price provided funding to establish the chair in Public Interest Law at the University of San Diego Law School.  In 1989 Sol Price encouraged Professor Fellmeth to create the Child Advocacy Institute to focus specifically on protecting and promoting the interests of children. Since the time they were established, both the Center for Public Interest Law and the Child Advocacy Institute have made major contributions including educating more than 1,000 outstanding attorneys who now practice public interest law throughout the United States and effectuating  significant improvements in a variety of public interest areas including authoring legislation that has led to safer playground equipment, swimming pool safety requirements, mandatory bicycle helmet laws, improved car seat regulations and increasing State of California payments to foster parents.

Paul Peterson, who served as Sol Price’s personal attorney and as legal counsel to The Price Company, praised Professor Fellmeth for the success of the Child Advocacy Institute:  “I was just chairman of the institute’s council.  Bob was the champion of the children.”

Professor Fellmeth says that the Institute is a product of his belief that his generation has a responsibility to leave the world a better place:  “I like the idea that children represent the future.”

Both Paul Peterson and Professor Fellmeth have contributed to the endowment and say they hope that the legacy of protecting children will long outlast their own involvement.

Robert C. Fellmeth poses with Sol and Helen Price in Sol’s La Jolla office
Robert C. Fellmeth poses with Sol and Helen Price in Sol’s La Jolla office
Paul Peterson and Price Philanthropies President Robert Price at the San Diego History Maker event honoring Sol Price in 2011
Paul Peterson and Price Philanthropies President Robert Price at the San Diego History Maker event honoring Sol Price in 2011

Y expects to double membership at new facility

Price Philanthropies/Price Charities donated the three plus acres of land for the new YMCA.
Price Philanthropies/Price Charities donated the three plus acres of land for the new YMCA.

As the Copley-Price Family YMCA in City Heights enters the finishing stages of construction and interior paint is going up, the branch’s Executive Manager Courtney Harrness says the facility is “starting to feel like a home.”

In the process, staff is busy signing up charter members for what will be the largest Y in San Diego County at 53,000 square feet. When staff moves into the facility in mid-November, charter members will be invited to begin using the facility until it opens to the public in early December. Charter members will be anyone who signs up between September 1 and the first day of operation. The Y expects membership to reach 2,500 by the end of 2015, more than double the current facility’s membership of 1,000.

Jill Tramel, the membership manager who’s worked at Y’s across the country says, “I have never seen anything like what we are about to open. It is truly remarkable.”

It will have two heated swimming pools, one indoor and one outdoor. There will be three group exercise studios, a 7,500 square foot fitness and wellness center, teen center, licensed preschool, demonstration kitchen, basketball court and community meeting space. Outdoors will be a soccer arena, community garden and family picnic area.

The Y offers free childcare while parents work out, health and wellness classes for youth ages 7-12, and after school tutoring for kids ages 13-18. An innovative program coming to the facility is the Y-Tip program, which offers free membership for youth willing to commit to academic excellence.

It all adds up to high expectations as Harrness says, “If I had a Y like this where I grew up, I would have hung out here every day.”

To get the word out, the Y will be touring the Mid-City area in a tricked out moving van with representatives available to discuss membership options. As part of the agreement with Price Philanthropies, no one will be turned away due to an inability to pay.

Outside Y

Public/private partnership celebrates 15 years of education dialogue

UrbanEducationThe Urban Education Dialogue (UED) is celebrating its 15th year as a group of urban education leaders committed to providing the highest quality of education for California students.

The UED is not a typical administrative body, hosting meetings with big agendas and speakers telling everyone what to do and how to do it. Instead its meetings are an honest, open dialogue with thought provoking conversations between superintendents of California public school districts with 20,000 or more students that have large numbers of English learners, free and reduced lunch participants, and ethnic diversity.

The UED grew out of an idea developed by Sol Price, a passionate supporter of public education. He thought that bringing together superintendents of California’s large urban school districts in a model public/private partnership might result in a sharing of ideas and possible solutions that each leader faced in his or her own district. In spring of 2000, with support from the California secretary of education and Governor Gray Davis, Price Philanthropies funded an inaugural meeting in San Diego to “provide a forum for exchanging information and ideas on how to make significant improvements in our urban schools and also to identify governmental legislation and regulations that may crate either unnecessary obstacles or potential opportunities.”

The success of the UED stems from participants discovering how to engage in dialogue rather than discussion or debate. Turning conversation into dialogue includes the core elements of all participants being treated as equals, listening emphatically, and bringing forth assumptions nonjudgmentally. The following are some key takeaways superintendents have cited as reasons they keep coming back:

  • Connecting with high quality superintendents that can be called on for support
  • Learning about reform efforts that are working in other districts
  • Learning effective ways to budget and manage crisis
  • Bringing back plans to implement in their own district
  • Being inspired by others about the future

An unanticipated outcome of the UED stemmed from a question posed by Sol Price, the retail revolutionary and philanthropist who founded Price Club with his son Robert that later gave rise to and merged with Costco. The question was posed in 2000, at one of the group’s first meeting; “How much do you pay for a pencil?” No one knew. Using his business knowledge, Sol hypothesized that if each district took part in cooperative purchasing and implemented efficient processes, they could drive down their costs substantially and redirect the savings to support teaching and learning.

Sol’s foundation Price Philanthropies (formerly Price Family Charitable Fund) hired two MBA students from San Diego State University to study the purchasing and business operations of several urban school districts and employed various strategies to help districts leverage their purchasing power through the creation of Public School Services. This experience is only one of many unanticipated outcomes over the past 15 years.

Today, the UED is still going strong and is supported by superintendents eager to continue their quest to improve student achievement with other leaders seeking solutions to their common challenges. Only superintendents are invited to the closed meetings which offers a safe place for superintendents to have a free flow of ideas. A facilitator ensures no person dominates the conversation and encourages everyone to share their views. Price Philanthropies continues to provide financial and logistical support and hosts the semiannual meetings in a San Diego hotel.

The 15 years of UED’s existence is an example of a powerful learning and professional development strategy, one that can inspire and serve leaders performing work critical to the success of public education.

August 2014 Grants

Price Philanthropies approved the following grants in August, 2014:

Operation School Bell
A grant to Assistance League of Greater San Diego supports the Operation School Bell program, providing school uniforms and clothing to children in kindergarten through sixth grade. The program serves youth throughout San Diego. This year more than 2,100 students have received two shirts and pants, a jacket, five undergarments and socks, and a new pair of shoes.

Emergency Resources for Homeless School Children
A grant to the San Diego Foundation for the San Diego Unified School District’s Office of Children and Youth in Transition to provide emergency services and resources to students in transition attending Hoover High School cluster schools. Students classified as in transition include homeless, youth in foster care, and children of military personnel.

Children’s Hospital of Costa Rica
A grant to purchase equipment for the specialized medicine unit and recreational therapy unit at the National Children’s Hospital of Costa Rica, the country’s only hospital exclusively for children.

Housing Advocacy
A grant will support Asociación de Liderazgo Comunitario’s (ALC) efforts to empower City Heights’ residents to advocate for better housing. ALC helps tenants understand their rights as renters, educates landlords on their responsibilities as owners, mediates cases, and makes client referrals.

Hoover High School Mentoring Program
A grant will support the mentor program coordinator at Hoover High School. The mentor program traditionally targets at-risk students and pairs them with faculty, alumni, and volunteers. The program is expanding to include business community mentors to provide workplace experiences.