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Del Mar Visionary:
Joel Holliday
Betty Wheeler | Seaview Avenue

Rosanne and Joel Holliday.
Photo Bill Morris.
Click to enlarge.

Often, the most profound contributions to our civic life are made by quiet people who accomplish great things out of the limelight. Joel Holliday is living proof of that fact. While his contributions to Del Mar have been wide-ranging (he was a principal organizer of the effort to acquire Powerhouse Park and Community Center, for example), his vision and tenacity in establishing the Del Mar Foundation’s community endowment is noteworthy, especially since that endowment has recently grown to more than $2 million.

In 1982, shortly after the Del Mar Foundation was created, the original Board of Directors held a retreat to envision the Foundation’s future and identify key goals. President Lou Terrell suggested a summer concert series in Seagrove Park (which was soon established and continues today as the Summer Twilight Concerts in Powerhouse Park), and a permanent library. Board member Joel Holliday proposed a two-fold purpose for the Foundation: to set up a long-term endowment, and short-term projects, such as a cultural series of music and plays and the acquisition of property. These goals also have been achieved to a notable extent.
The concept of a community endowment to provide long-term stability for community needs was in many ways the most ambitious goal, articulated by Joel at a time when donations to the Foundations were typically in the $100-or-less range. By carefully mapping out a rationale for the endowment and a strategy for an endowment campaign, Joel put the Foundation on a path to success, with the endowment’s launch in 2007, the Foundation’s 25th anniversary year. Remarkably, this endowment reached the $2 million mark last year, reflecting the collective efforts of many hard-working Foundation board and Development Committee members, and the generosity of many community members. This is a signal achievement for Del Mar, and something that perhaps only Joel could envision, back in 1982, as possible.

Bob Gans, Del Mar Foundation president, observes: “There are so many people who deserve credit for the growth of the Foundation’s reach over the years. Joel’s contribution was unique, however, both for his vision of creating a multi-million dollar endowment that would have an enduring, positive impact on our community, and for his efforts in making that vision a reality.”

Most valuable of all, perhaps, is the reminder that it is committed, visionary residents like Joel Holliday who make Del Mar the special place we are so fortunate to call home.



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