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Help save the Riford Center

A local La Jolla group is currently raising funds in an effort to save the only senior center that serves our local community. We sincerely hope their job turns out to be very easy.

If La Jolla is the community that we want it to be, the money to save the Florence Riford Adult Center on La Jolla Boulevard will come in well in advance of the June 30 deadline, when the non-profit organization that currently administers the center severs its relationship with the city as lessee of the building.

The endowment created by Florence Riford to fund the center’s operation has dried up, and LiveWell, the nonprofit that currently runs the center, cannot afford to underwrite the center’s operation. A group of locals called the Friends of the Riford Center, with the assistance of La Jolla Rotary Club, have begun a fund-raising effort to create a new endowment to fund the center in perpetuity.

First, the group must raise $150,000, enough to fund the center for two or three years and allow the Friends of the Riford to be recognized by the city as the new administering agency for the center. Then, the group will set to work creating a larger endowment of about $1 million, enough to fund the center well into the future.

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Glen Rasmussen of Friends of the Riford Center said his group is about halfway to reaching its initial goal of $150,000, and is extremely confident that they will meet the goal before the June 30 deadline. We certainly hope he is right and wish him the best of luck.

We urge all La Jollans to get behind the efforts of the Friends of the Riford Center. In a community that produces such a large portion of the philanthropic dollars in San Diego, raising $150,000 for our only senior center should be a snap - but it hasn’t been.

The Friends of the Riford Center are off to a good start since they formed a couple months ago, but fund-raising for the center has been harder in recent years than it should have been. Lynda Hunt, director of the center, said she is constantly battling the perception that seniors in La Jolla are well enough off, and don’t need any financial help. In fact, most of the center’s 400 members live on fixed, limited incomes.

As Hunt says, we will all need a little help some day. The Florence Riford Adult Center provides services that our absolutely invaluable to some of our most treasured friends and neighbors. Call Lynda Hunt at the center to find out how to donate to Friends of the Riford Center at (858) 459-0831.

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