La Jolla Community Foundation welcomes first director

Charlene Pryor

By Pat Sherman

Since arriving in San Diego from the Midwest during Super Bowl weekend of 1988, Charlene Pryor has forged an impressive résumé in the world of philanthropy and nonprofit giving, serving as senior vice-president of endowments and planned giving at The San Diego Foundation and as director of gift planning for the Zoological Society of San Diego.

Last month, Pryor returned to the San Diego Foundation as senior director of charitable giving, donor experience and engagement, where she will also work part-time to increase philanthropic giving for the nascent La Jolla Community Foundation.

Pryor holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration from the University of Wisconsin, Stout. “It is a great fit, because I have always been kind of involved in the La Jolla community,” said Pryor, a former member of the La Jolla Rotary Club, and past president of the La Jolla Estate, Trust and Probate Board. “I know a number of attorneys, CPAs and financial advisors who both live and work in La Jolla. This is an opportunity to step in and pursue and engage new members for the La Jolla Community Foundation, and really make a difference in that community.”

Phyllis Pfeiffer, La Jolla Community Foundation board chair, said Pryor brings “vast experience in philanthropy” to the foundation.
“In the short time she has already been with us, Charlene has made a difference,” said Pfeiffer, who is also publisher of the La Jolla Light. “In her joint role working with donors, she will be able to introduce them to significant projects in their own backyards.”

The oundation’s community beautification projects include a series of public art murals, restoration of the La Jolla Shores fire pits, and educational pedestals along the shoreline that will provide information about the coast’s environment, wildlife and history.

The Murals of La Jolla project includes pieces on Drury Lane, Eads Avenue, Fay Avenue and Prospect Street. A mural by artist Ann Hamilton has been commissioned this year for the 7900 block of Herschel Avenue.
In addition, the foundation plans to work on infrastructure projects, including a makeover of “The Teardrop,” a long-neglected median at the intersection of Torrey Pines Road and La Jolla Parkway.
Pryor said the foundation intends to pursue partnerships and sponsorship opportunities with the more than 50 privately owned art galleries in the La Jolla area.

“With the right publicity on these murals … we have an opportunity to bring in people to San Diego, and specifically to La Jolla, to enjoy the artwork and our coastal beauty,” said Pryor, who envisions a romantic return to La Jolla’s art colony days.

“We’ve strong people involved,” said Pryor, a native of Rochester, Minn. who got her start in San Diego with Sharp Healthcare. “We’ve got Hugh Davies from the Museum of Contemporary Art, and we’ve got Erika Torri from the Athenaeum.”

Membership in the La Jolla Community Foundation, which was formed in 2009,  starts at $1,000 per year. Three-quarters of the dues go toward community projects and grant making. The foundation will give out its first grants this fall.  “One of the (areas) we’re talking about might be financial literacy and education,” Pryor said.

The other 25 percent of membership fees are spent on endowment building. The organization currently has about 40 contributing members, a figure that Pryor said she hopes to double this year.

“I don’t think that’s unrealistic once we really set our minds to it and get the information out there,” she said. “We just haven’t had an organized model yet.”

Though Pryor will continue working out of the San Diego Foundation office at Liberty Station, she said the La Jolla Community Foundation is seeking a Village storefront to “create some visibility for the foundation and also to allow me to live and breathe La Jolla.”

Contact information: (619) 814-1314,,

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Posted by Staff on Feb 9, 2012. Filed under Life, Philanthropy. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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