The City Council proclaimed it “Malin Burnham Day” in San Diego Monday in honor of the philanthropist’s 90th birthday.

Malin Burnham. Photo via

Burnham “continues to make a huge difference” in his native city, said Mayor Kevin Faulconer. A birthday celebration for Burnham was held Sunday aboard the USS Midway Aircraft Carrier Museum.

The mayor said Burnham has been chairman of nine nonprofits in San Diego and co-founded 14 organizations. His name is part of the Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Research Institute in La Jolla, the Burnham-Moores Center for Real Estate at the University of San Diego and the Malin Burnham Center for Civic Engagement.

Burnham — joined by his wife, Roberta, and other family members — said he was a very lucky person to be born in San Diego.

“I’m a hometown boy and I love it,” Burnham told the council. “Roberta and I, every time we come back from a trip and fly into Lindbergh Field, it’s a ritual, we just look at each other and say `aren’t we so lucky to be in San Diego.’”

He has focused on philanthropy since he sold his interest in the John Burnham Co. real estate brokerage 31 years ago.

Last year, he published a book called “Community Before Self: Seventy Years of Making Waves.” The phrase “community before self” has long been his motto.

— City News Service

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