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Friends of Balboa Park 14th Annual Awards Luncheon


Friends of Balboa Park, the nonprofit organization committed to preserving Balboa Park’s legacy for future generations through park-wide projects, will host its leading fundraiser, the 14th Annual Awards Luncheon, on Tuesday, October 21, at the Balboa Park Club in Balboa Park. A no-host reception will begin at 11am, followed by the luncheon at 12pm and the program at 12:20pm.

This year’s theme, San Diego 1914: On The Eve of Greatness, inspires San Diegans to capture the spirit of the city on the verge of the 1915 Panama-California Exposition, in which San Diego was about to be transformed from a port city to becoming one of the premier destinations for visitors coming to California.


Guests are invited to attend this event to honor and celebrate the people who have helped make Balboa Park so special. Betty Peabody, founder of the Friends of Balboa Park, will speak about Balboa Park and its significance to the City of San Diego. The Millennium Award is presented to individuals and organizations committed to the betterment of the park. Friends of Balboa Park will present this award to Jerry Sanders and Rana Sampson, for their years of dedicated service to the community and the Park. Sanders and Sampson will also speak about the Park.

The Inspiration Awards are chosen annually and are given to five volunteers nominated by their peers in the Balboa Park community. These prestigious awards recognize individuals who have contributed countless hours of volunteer service to Balboa Park or to one of the organizations in the Park. California Speaker of the House Toni Atkins will present the Inspiration Awards and will be joined by former State Senator Christine Kehoe. The following featured 2014 honorees will receive an Inspiration Award:

  • Julie Blyth (San Diego Natural History Museum): A volunteer at the NAT since 1980, Julie has spent her weekends from her full time job volunteering with the NAT’s “C4U” program, which used monthly hikes to teach the visually impaired how to connect with nature through the senses of touch and smell. In 1994 after her retirement, she expanded her volunteer work to include exhibit interpreting, educating museum guests as they tour exhibits, and sparking the love of science to visitors of all ages.
  • Marjorie Keim-Lopez (San Diego Civic Dance Arts): Marjorie has logged over 1,000 hours per year and more than nine years of volunteer service to the City’s dance program. She has presided over the many costumes as creator and caretaker, and logged many hours creating and maintaining the organization’s database, including tracking the hundreds of dance students the program serves every year. She also promoted the programs on Facebook and other social media, including a successful dance flash mob to National Tap Dance Day, which got 200 people to Balboa Park for live performances!
  • Lola Thomas (San Diego Civic Dance Arts): Lola has taken on many roles for the San Diego Civic Dance Arts over the past nine years, including Volunteer Coordinator and Costumer. She has logged over 1,000 hours every year to energize a base of dedicated volunteers and assist with the 500+ costumes per year created and used all year long for dance recitals and community events.
  • Sandy Wright (City of San Diego Park & Recreation): Sandy is a volunteer for the “Balboa Park Rose Corps,” a group of volunteers who work in the Inez Grant Parker Rose Garden. Sandy organizes other volunteers and acts as a liaison with Park & Recreation staff. Her leadership, commitment and dedication to the Rose Garden is reflected in the quality and volume of the beautiful blooms to be found there.
  • Jim Zemcik (San Diego Floral Association): Jim grows geraniums and has personally created several hybrid varieties just for Balboa Park including          the Kate Sessions, Anna Gunn Marston, Geranium George and Balboa Park 2015. He sells the geraniums and all net proceeds go to Park organizations including San Diego Floral Association and Save Our Heritage Organisation. Jim also grows the geraniums for the Park and Recreation Department to plant in Balboa Park.


Individual tickets are $75 each and groups of eight are $600. (619.232.2282, friendsofbalboapark.org/luncheon)


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