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The Spirit of Giving

BY Angela Ashman, Alana Bracken, Helena Kontos, Kirk Mattu, Meg McGuire and Kalah Siegel | November 8, 2016 | Feature Features National

From fabulous charitable galas to inspiring local altruists, San Diego is a town that constantly gives back. Here, a look at the do-gooders and organizations that prove generosity is always in style.
Jeanne Jones's love of the arts and culture has propelled her to support many local causes.

Jeanne Jones
The Giving Gourmet

While her millions of fans know Jeanne Jones (jeannejones.com) as the “Dear Abby” of the culinary world, within San Diego’s philanthropic community, the longtime La Jolla resident is known as the one to call for a dazzling fundraiser. Jones was recently the first-ever chair of the honorary committee of Dinner in the Library at UC San Diego’s Geisel Library (it’s no coincidence that this year’s attendance increased by more than 60 percent); she co-chaired last month’s successful Orange and Black Ball at the Timken Museum of Art with Modern Luxury publisher Jessica Cline; and, coming up next, she’ll be on committees for the 108th anniversary Charity Ball for Rady Children’s Hospital and the USO Gala—and, naturally, creating the menus for both. The secret ingredient for success? “You have to truly believe in the [organizations] that you support,” she explains. “If you don’t have that personal passion, it’s very difficult to work hard enough to make things work out well.” And work hard she does. Picture, if you can, the glamorous author of more than 30 cookbooks, who has consulted on menus for some of the country’s finest restaurants (alternative menus for all Four Seasons hotels, among them), wearing a hard hat and boots in order to prepare for the Burnham Institute gala in 2007 because the party’s venue, the Grand Del Mar, was still being built. (Incidentally, that event, which she co-chaired with Cathryn Ramirez, raised more than $1 million.) When it comes to her passions, the arts are always a top priority. She’s chaired galas for Patrons of the Prado, the San Diego Opera and the La Jolla Playhouse. “I was an art major in school,” she says. “My children always said that I was a culture vulture because I made them go to museums. Now, of course, they both love them!” But whether it’s art, science or helping children (she is one of the Jewels supporting the ARC of San Diego), at the end of the day, she has one simple philosophy: “When you are able to help others, nothing makes you feel better than to do it.”

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