If the Chargers leave town, San Diego won't be losing just a football team, it also will likely be bidding adieu to a charity that in its time has spread some major money around town.
Like the team, San Diego Chargers Charities has had its up and down years but can generally be counted on to cough up cash for school weight rooms, college scholarships, and a program it calls Junior Charger Girls.
"Participants age seven to fifteen perform in front of 65,000+ Charger fans," says the nonprofit's federal disclosure report for 2013, filed last August 26.
"The program teaches the participants the importance of raising money for charitable organizations while also teaching teamwork as the girls learn the performance routine from the official Chargers Girls dance team."
In 2013, the charity posted $466,089 in contributions and grants. The year before, the total was $252,792; in 2011, income reached just $117,099, according to the filings. In 2009, the nonprofit took in $627,414. Federal law doesn't require the source of the money to be disclosed.
From 2009 through 2013, according to the 2014 report, a total of $1,374,321 in gifts, grants, and contributions was received by the charity.
Top donations in 2013 included $75,000 to Clairemont High School for aid to school programs; Mission Bay High got $76,500. Other recipients included John Muir Middle School ($45,000); Wangenheim Middle School ($40,000); Nye Elementary ($30,000); Cajon Park Elementary ($13,000); and the Make-a-Wish Foundation ($37,110).
"Clairemont High School received $75,000 for a new weight room and sand volleyball court," according to a post on the San Diego Unified School District's website.
"John Muir K-12 School received $45,000 for fencing equipment and an archery center. Wangenheim Middle School was granted $40,000 for an indoor fitness center. Nye Elementary School received $30,000 for its Peaceful Playground Program."
Chargers president Dean Spanos was quoted as saying, “The main goal of our program is to provide students in San Diego with the necessary means to living a healthy lifestyle through physical fitness.”
According to the team's website, 2014 grants included $70,000 to Rancho Buena Vista High School for a weight room and $40,000 to Woodrow Wilson Middle School for the same. Del Dios Middle School got $35,000 for a fitness lab and Edison Elementary got $30,000 for a railyard course and fitness equipment. Monarch School got $24,000 for a turf field.
But if the Chargers depart the city for a destination north, a new arrival from Los Angeles may be counted on by local fundraisers to pick up some of the charitable slack, though he has a way to go to catch up with the Spanos family.
Austin Beutner, the wealthy publisher of the Union-Tribune who reportedly got $100 million for his share in an investment banking firm he co-founded, runs the L.A.-based Beutner Family Foundation.
According to its most recently available federal disclosure filing, dated May 28 of last year, Beutner's nonprofit had total assets of $97,755 and gave $250 to the East Harlem Tutorial Program.
As previously reported here, Beutner was a major player in the administration of Bill Clinton and is a big donor to Democratic politicos, including California governor Jerry Brown.
Earlier this week, Beutner interviewed Brown at an event sponsored by the U-T and L.A. Times, of which he is also the publisher. Both papers are owned by Chicago-based Tribune Publishing.
"Some eyebrows went up about the interview being conducted by Beutner instead of a Times journalist," reported L.A. Observed.
"But Beutner is increasingly being put forth to the public as a high-profile name at the Times. He certainly keeps getting mentioned in the paper's own headlines, including in coverage of the Brown talk."
Added the item, "Brown talking about the drought isn't really a news-making event, but the event got lots of coverage in the Times — including a triple-byline story in print, an analysis by columnist Cathleen Decker, and full-press advance and live coverage online.”
Noted L.A. Observed: “The Times used the occasion to announce another in its growing roster of newsletters, Water and Power, covering the drought. Beutner is a big internal proponent of these sponsored newsletters as a new revenue source."