Our View: Riford Center needs you

It’s time for the community once again to step up in support of a worthwhile social cause.

For 34 years, The Florence Riford Senior Center, now simply The Riford Center, has provided valuable services to La Jolla’s senior community.

The 5,000-square-foot building provides a welcoming meeting place for learning, health, fitness and social activities for 500-plus area residents and seasonal visitors age 50 and above.

But the center faces a dilemma: It’s future hangs in the balance.

Florence Riford donated the building to the city of San Diego and provided endowment funds, currently about $75,000 annually, to support its operations. However, that and additional discretionary funds she provided to supplement her endowment income are nearly gone. And the city provides no ongoing financial support.

Over the next two fiscal years, the center needs thousands of dollars in matching funds to supplement Riford’s endowment. The needed funds will cover escalating operating expenses for the modest budget of the center, which relies heavily on volunteers. If these matching funds are not raised, the city indicates it may reduce services, or even close the facility.

Enter La Jolla Kiwanis and La Jolla Rotary fundations, which have teamed to champion the cause of raising the funding necessary to keep the Riford Center open and thriving. They are asking for contributions, payable to either foundation, and are also seeking additional endowment and multi-year funding to save the center.

Caring La Jollans can participate by attending the second annual Rockin’ at the Riford, a lively fun-filled fund-raiser featuring live music, food, a silent auction and raffle to be held Sunday, May 18 from noon to 4 p.m. at the Riford Center at 6811 La Jolla Blvd. The event started last year with the goal of establishing a $2 million endowment to guarantee the financially strapped community center’s long-term viability.

Pitch in for a worthy cause. Donate funds. Turn out at Rockin’ at the Riford. Join in the ongoing effort to make La Jolla a better, more friendly and more socially conscious place to live.