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Photo gallery: Las Patronas distributes $367,000 to seven San Diego-area nonprofits at La Jolla lunch

The major beneficiaries of the 2022 Jewel Ball plan to use the money to buy vehicles to help them with their missions.

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Some might consider the ladies of Las Patronas to be vehicles for change. And that was truer than ever this year.

After raising $853,468 at its 2022 Jewel Ball, the La Jolla-based women’s philanthropy group doled out seven checks of at least $20,000 each — totaling $367,000 — to its major beneficiaries during a lunch Jan. 18 at The Marine Room in La Jolla.

The 76th annual Jewel Ball set sail with a “South Seas” theme Aug. 20 at the La Jolla Beach & Tennis Club, captained by La Jolla philanthropic organization Las Patronas.

All seven of the San Diego-area nonprofits plan to use the money to buy vehicles to help them carry out their missions.

Alpha Project, which provides employment opportunities and other services to homeless people, will purchase a stake-bed truck.

• The American Red Cross will buy a community emergency vehicle.

• The Burn Institute will purchase a vehicle for its community programs and events.

Feeding San Diego will buy a box truck for food distribution.

Forever Balboa Park will purchase a pickup truck to help maintain the park’s gardens.

The Old Globe theater will purchase two vehicles to help staff with supplies and props.

• The San Diego Humane Society will buy a law enforcement vehicle with a kennel in the back.

The remainder of the money will go to other beneficiaries that will receive less than $20,000 each.

At the luncheon, the organization’s first in three years, Las Patronas President Julie Bubnack thanked the beneficiaries “for the impactful work that you do in our community. You keep inspiring us and make what we do so worthwhile.”

In accepting the grants, a representative from each organization thanked Las Patronas and explained how the money would be used.

“The crew-cab stake-bed truck will help us expand our work program in the communities we serve, providing weed and brush abatement and fire prevention,” said Kaitlin Patterson, Alpha Project’s resource and development specialist. She was joined by Sofia Cardenas in representing the group.

Amy Kennedy, Red Cross director of development, said, “These vehicles are at the heart of our lifesaving mission, allowing us to respond to a family whose house burned down; carry our local teams to military hospitals, where we work to support veterans and other military members; or to local elementary schools, where we educate children on what to do in ... an emergency or house fire.”

The local Red Cross chapter also installs smoke alarms in houses, trains people in first aid and CPR and conducts blood drives.

Burn Institute acting Chief Executive Tessa Haviland said the vehicle Las Patronas helped fund will be put in service immediately. “We hope to grow our Fire-Safe Kids program,” she said. “Last year, we reached 34,000 school-age children to give them fire safety information for them to take to their families. Through our Fire-Safe Seniors program, we installed smoke alarms in 14,000 seniors’ homes in San Diego County. With this vehicle, our staff will be able to do that quicker and more efficiently … so we can reduce the number of burn injuries and deaths in San Diego County.”

Feeding San Diego’s box truck funded by Las Patronas will help reach rural areas to distribute food where needed, according to Ali Colbran, the nonprofit’s director of development, institutional giving and donor relations.

San Diego families facing food insecurity “are telling us that what used to get them a cart full of groceries is now getting them a bag full of groceries, and their dollar isn’t going as far,” Colbran said. “This box truck is going to help families in rural San Diego, [such as] Alpine, Borrego Springs, Descanso, places that take 90 minutes to drive one way. Being able to bring them food makes all the difference.”

Forever Balboa Park President Elizabeth Babcock said the pickup it will purchase will help carry “people, tools, plants, trees, garden supplies, which allows us to … continue our mission of enhancing the park. ... Our 350 volunteers are going to be able to expand the acreage [we can reach] and the kinds of things we can enhance.”

At The Old Globe, also in Balboa Park, the two new vehicles will help staff shop for and transport props, costumes and construction supplies. Llewellyn Crain, the theater’s director of philanthropy, said the current cars are old and breaking down.

“The Old Globe believes that theater matters, and our commitment is to make it matter to more people,” Crain said. “The production elements that we are able to do are because we have a professional staff that drives around the city and buys things … and builds them and makes it possible for you to see the work that you see on our stages.”

San Diego Humane Society grants manager Katie Woolsey said the vehicle it will buy will be used to help thousands of animals. “Our human law enforcement officers are in the field seven days a week to keep animals and people safe,” she said. “Our officers travel many, many miles ... and often they respond when animals are in distress, so every second counts.”

In Las Patronas’ continuing efforts to raise money for local nonprofits, the 2023 Jewel Ball, themed “Daisies & Disco,” will be held Saturday, Aug. 5, at the La Jolla Beach & Tennis Club. Learn more at laspatronas.org. ◆