San Diego Venues Embarcadero
A taste of summer on San Diego Bay. Photo credit: @SanDiegoSymph, via Twitter

The San Diego Symphony has reached the goal for its two-year, $125 million fundraising campaign to support arts and community programs.

That included construction of the outdoor Rady Shell at Jacobs Park, improvement of the infrastructure of Copley Symphony Hall, stabilization funding during COVID closures, and wide-ranging artistic initiatives for San Diego’s diverse communities. 

In the beginning stages of “The Future is Hear” campaign several notable San Diego philanthropists contributed. They include Ernest and Evelyn Rady, who gave the lead gift of $15 million for the Rady Shell and later an additional $5 million; Joan and Irwin Jacobs, who gave $11 million in support of the outdoor venue, in addition to other significant leadership gifts; the Conrad Prebys Foundation, which made a $15 million contribution with $12.5 million for the outdoor venue, and the Una Davis Family, which provided a $10 million gift.

In all, the symphony attracted support from more than 3,000 donors.

“For me, it has been incredibly moving to witness the joy it has brought to so many to be a part of this historic campaign. Each and every gift is meaningful, and I believe has been given with a desire to make an impact on the future of our city and our orchestra,” said San Diego Symphony CEO Martha Gilmer.

After the lead gifts, the campaign’s public phase drew support ranging from $1 to $20 million. Dianne Bashor, Dan and Phyllis Epstein, and the state of California provided gifts of more than $2.5 million.

The Rady Shell at Jacobs Park, a priority funding target for the $125 million campaign, represents an $85 million investment.

Since its August 2021 opening, the venue has been a huge success. As the Conrad Prebys Rady Shell Summer Season nears completion, the symphony reports that it saw record ticket sales, breaking all previously held summer season records.

In addition to public support of the campaign, Bank of America provided an Anchor Grant of $1 million, a milestone donation by the corporation in San Diego. With the grant, the symphony reached its $125-million campaign goal. 

Rick Bregman, president, Bank of America San Diego, said the bank “was proud to make our largest philanthropic investment in San Diego ever with the San Diego Symphony and the Rady Shell as a new world-class, iconic outdoor entertainment draw for the region.”

“The new performance venue elevates the status of our city on par with global art attractions,” he added.  

For those who wish to support the Rady Shell at Jacobs Park, many ways remain to do so.  Contributions from $10,000 and above have been listed on the shell’s Donor Appreciation Wall and large contributions received recognition at various other locations, including benches, speaker towers, wall tiles and more.

For more information on continued efforts to support the Rady Shell, email [email protected].



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Ellen Bullock