Leah Gans | La Jolla Country Day 2016 Graduate
I was pretty surprised when Mr. Emerson asked me if I wanted to write my next column doing a profile of my dad, (Bob Gans), because he is supposed to be the next president of the Del Mar Foundation. Not only didn’t I know a lot about the Foundation, but I also didn’t know that my dad was that involved (or why anyone would be interested in reading about him). Nevertheless, I am heading off to college soon, and I know he’s desperate to pack in as many father-daughter conversations as possible, so I agreed to talk to him about it.
Leah: Is it true that you’re going to be President of the Del Mar Foundation? I didn’t even know you were on the Board.
Bob: I’ve been on the Board for the past four years, and Vice President for the past two, so thanks for noticing! Judd Halenza has been President during that time, but his term expires in October, so we’ll see who takes over. It might be me, and it might be someone else, but it doesn’t really matter because it’s a great organization with a great Board. I’ll definitely be involved for at least another couple of years, though, unless they throw me off.
Leah: What does the Foundation do?
Bob: I can’t believe you’re asking me that, because you’ve been going to Foundation events with Mom [Melissa, who’s been married to my dad for 23 years], Seth [my older brother, who is a junior at CU Boulder], and me since we moved here from New York in 2000. We sponsor the Twilight Concerts every summer, the 4th of July Bicycle Parade, and we always have a booth at the holiday carnival in Del Mar.
Leah: Oh wow! I love the Twilight Concerts, and I used to love Holidays in the Village and decorating my bike for the parade. I didn’t know that was the Foundation. Is that it?
Bob: Not by a long shot! We do a lot more family events now in addition to those, including a movie series down at the Shores Park, concerts for younger kids and their parents (also at the Shores), and a huge family bonfire at the beach every fall. We also have a regular lecture series at the Powerhouse called DMF Talks, where experts come and give talks for free on a whole range of subjects. We also host a lot of community-focused activities for the adults, including the “First Thursdays” and “Blue Grass and Beyond” concert series at the Powerhouse, and “meet and greets” where neighbors can get to know each other. We even have a lot of events for people to come out with their dogs – including Doggie Yoga! We’re also planning a big picnic for the Fall, but I’m getting a little ahead of myself.
Leah: That’s seems like a lot of stuff.
Bob: That’s not even the best part. We also give out thousands of dollars in grants every year to fund various worthwhile projects in Del Mar, including: regular luncheons for senior residents who have trouble getting out (with Community Connections); a new rescue boat for the lifeguards (with Friends of the Powerhouse), as well as dive and rescue equipment; various programs at Free Flight Bird Sanctuary; equipment for the Community Emergency Response Team (CERT); contributions toward the Birdwing and walking paths at the San Elijo lagoon; kids’ fireman hats for the Fire Department; dog fountains; and a lot more. We even funded a big repair project that prevented the mosaic wall in front of the library from falling apart.
Leah: You mean the wall that my Hanna Fenichel preschool class helped to build when I was 4? That’s pretty cool. How did you get involved?
Bob: Well, Mom and I always thought the Foundation was a great organization from the time we moved here. Mom actually helped plan some of the kids’ events when you were little, but I was pretty busy at work. Once I quit practicing law full time, though, I was looking to get involved somewhere, and the Foundation was one of the places that I landed. You know how much we love living in Del Mar, and that’s what the Foundation is all about – making Del Mar a great place to live and play!
Leah: Okay, Dad, that’s actually pretty interesting. Thanks. I think that’s probably enough quality time for one day.