Balboa Park

San Diegan's Generous Donation Helps Local Nonprofit Reach Goal for Balboa Park Carousel Maintenance

With the $3 million goal met, Friends of Balboa Park will be able to continue restoring and maintaining the park's carousel

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A longtime San Diego philanthropist’s generous donation to the Friends of Balboa Park’s carousel helped the nonprofit organization reach its goal to renovate and maintain the family-fun attraction, it was announced Wednesday.

Thanks to longtime benefactor Dorothea Laub’s landmark donation, the nonprofit reached its $3 million goal for the Carousel Capital Campaign.

“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,” Friends of Balboa Park said in a statement.

“For an organization our size to receive such a significant amount from a single benefactor is humbling, especially at this time,” John Bolthouse, Executive Director of Friends of Balboa Park, said in a statement. “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.”

With their financial goals achieved, the organization plans to perform more structural upgrades and restoration to the carousel, was well as paint it, upgrade its fire suppression systems and secure a historic designation.

Already Friends of Balboa Park have made carpentry repairs, upgraded lighting and electrical and made some restorations, as well as enhanced security since the carousel closed in March 2020 due to the pandemic.

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

Dorothea Laub, long time donor of Friends of Balboa Park.
Friends of Balboa Park
Dorothea Laub, long time donor of Friends of Balboa Park.

The $3 million goal was established when the nonprofit purchased the carousel for about $1.5 million in 2017 from a family that previously owned it for nearly a century.

Although the goal has been met, donations for carousel maintenance are still encouraged, the organization said.

Sponsorships are currently available for 13 carousel animal rides, several rides on the small children’s ride near the carousel, benches on the carousel deck and more. Donors will be memorialized and honored with a personalized plaque on site.

To learn more about Friends of Balboa Park, click here.

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