A member of the Voices of Our City Choir sings one of three songs they performed at a memorial service for three homeless men.
A member of the Voices of Our City Choir, one of the initial recipients of San Diego Foundation grants made possible by a gift from the late Jay Kahn. Photo by Chris Stone

The San Diego Foundation on Thursday received $100 million – the largest gift of its kind ever given to a San Diego nonprofit – from the estate of local entrepreneur Jay Kahn.

“Jay Kahn was a compassionate man who loved San Diego and wished for his legacy and estate to be used for the good of San Diego,” said Mark Stuart, president and CEO of the foundation, in a statement. “We had no existing relationship with Jay until we learned that he believed San Diego Foundation would achieve his goal and honor his wishes.”

According to the foundation, the first grants from Kahn’s gift include 10 unrestricted awards of $150,000 to San Diego-based music education nonprofits to advance their work with children in need.

The recipients – revealed at a foundation Board of Governors retreat on Thursday: A Reason to Survive, Classics 4 Kids, David’s Harp Foundation, Guitars and Ukes in the Classroom, Heartbeat Music & Performing Arts Academy, San Diego Symphony, San Diego Youth Symphony and Conservatory, San Diego Young Artists Music Academy, Voices of Our City Choir and Young Lions Jazz Conservatory.

According to his wishes, a portion of Kahn’s gift will support housing and other regional strategic plan initiatives, with more than $86 million set aside to establish the Jay Kahn Endowment Fund at San Diego Foundation.

The aim is for “Kahn’s legacy and impact (to) continue to grow and transform San Diego County in perpetuity,” according to a foundation statement.

Kahn lived in Ocean Beach from 1972 until his death in 2022 at age 90. He worked in the clothing industry in the San Diego-Tijuana region, and amassed his fortune as an entrepreneur. He retired early to manage his personal portfolio, which included early investments in Price Club, the San Diego-based predecessor to Costco, and Apple.

– City News Service