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Community foundation takes shape

A group of longtime La Jollans this week announced the formation of the La Jolla Community Foundation, a nonprofit that will focus on philanthropic projects in La Jolla aimed at unifying the community.

In announcing the foundation, the organizers said they would make the Riford Center the focus of its initial efforts.

“There are quality-of-life needs in La Jolla for our children, senior citizens and all of us that the city of San Diego is unlikely to address,” said Buzz Woolley, president of the Girard Foundation and founder of Voice of San Diego. “The foundation will provide a place to pool our money and expertise in a focused manner.”

He is one of the founders, along with Murray Galinson, chairman of the Board of San Diego National Bank; Andy Nelson, president and CEO of Willis Allen; restaurateur George Hauer of George’s at the Cove, and La Jolla Light publisher Phyllis Pfeiffer.

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The foundation will operate under the auspices of the San Diego Foundation, which manages more than 1,000 funds for groups working to find solutions for community needs.

George Hauer, who has co-sponsored the Independence Day fireworks in La Jolla Cove for 24 years, said, “La Jolla is a very special place that deserves the support of its citizens. The Foundation gives us all the opportunity to express our generosity toward the town we love so well.”

While there are other foundations in La Jolla - the La Jolla Town Council, La Jolla High School and La Jolla Recreation Center are a few - this is the only one that will be dedicated to projects that provide community gathering places, public art and gardens.

With the Riford Center as its first beneficiary, the foundation will work with the adult center’s board to expand and improve the building and its programs.

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“Florence Riford left this property for use as a gathering place for seniors,” said Pfeiffer. “We hope that our efforts will make it an even more meaningful spot in our community.”