Who Was Jay Kahn? Local Entrepreneur Leaves $100 Million to San Diego Foundation – NBC 7 San Diego

The San Diego Foundation announced Thursday that it had received $100 million from the estate of the late local entrepreneur Jay Kahn, the largest gift of its kind ever given to a San Diego nonprofit.

“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,” Mark Stuart, president and CEO of San Diego Foundation, said 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.

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“We are humbled by this incredible generosity and we will honor Jay by continuing to inspire enduring philanthropy and enable community solutions to improve the quality of life in the San Diego region,” Stuart said.

According to the San Diego Foundation, the first grants from Kahn’s gift include 10, $150,000 unrestricted grants to San Diego-based music education nonprofits to advance their work with under-resourced children.

The intent of the initial grants is to “grow music appreciation” in San Diego in memory of Kahn, a classical musician who played clarinet in symphonies at UC San Diego and the University of San Diego.

A shot of Kahn’s former Ocean Beach

The $1.5 million in total grants were awarded at the SDF Board of Governors retreat on Thursday to 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 of the San Diego Foundation, and more than $86 million will establish the Jay Kahn Endowment Fund at San Diego Foundation so that “Kahn’s legacy and impact continues to grow and transform San Diego County in perpetuity,” according to a foundation statement.

Pamela Gray-Payton, vice-president of the foundation, discusses the gift and plans for it in the future.

Kahn lived in San Diego’s Ocean Beach neighborhood from 1972 until his death in 2022 at age 90.

According to the San Diego Foundation Kahn worked in the clothing industry on both sides of the border, growing his fortune later with an investment portfolio that “included early investments in Price Club, the San Diego-based predecessor to Costco, and Apple.”

“Jay built his wealth through prudent investments,” reads a biography on the San Diego Foundation website. “He befriended Sol Price and was an original investor in Price Club. His initial $25,000 investment became several million. When that happened, Jay retired. A later investment and purchase of $250,000 of Apple stock turned into $80 million.”

According to the foundation, Kahn loved OB and rarely left, living a somewhat low-profile reclusive life.