December 28, 2007

ICF to Create Center for Cross-Border Philanthropy

Heirs to Wal-Mart Gift Property; New Center Will Promote Building Sustainable Communities in the Border Region

With globalization and advances in telecommunications blurring borders, International Community Foundation will establish the ICF Center for Cross-Border Philanthropy to help promote greater cross-cultural understanding in today’s globally interconnected communities.

International Community Foundation’s Center for Cross-Border Philanthropy will be located in National City on the former property of John Walton — the late son of Sam Walton and heir to Wal-Mart — and his wife Christy. The property features organic gardens and an old Victorian home, originally built in 1896 for Oliver Noyes, the former postmaster of National City. After undergoing renovations in 1989 to preserve its structure and gardens, the house was gifted by the Walton family to ICF in 2006 for use in furthering international charitable deeds. The Waltons recently made a $4 million endowment gift to ICF to protect and preserve the property in perpetuity.

“A gift of this significance to promote cross-border philanthropy should inspire other philanthropic organizations to not only expand charitable giving internationally, but also to do more to address the needs in border communities like National City,” said Dr. Mary L. Walshok, chair of the board of governors, ICF. “This is the beginning of an exciting future for ICF, the border region and San Diego’s South Bay.”

International Community Foundation will also move its headquarters from North San Diego County to the National City house at 2525 N Ave. The organization received approval for its requested zone change from National City’s City Council this fall and the zone change was made final Dec. 20.

Acting as a central knowledge base for charitable giving internationally, ICF helps U.S.-based donors contribute to overseas nonprofit organizations and causes, particularly in Mexico and Central America with an emphasis on improving the environment, education and community-based health-care needs. The ICF Center for Cross-Border Philanthropy will bring like-minded individuals and organizations together to promote international charitable-giving foundations that lead to sustainable communities around the globe.

“By gifting our former home to ICF, my family seeks to promote binational programs, initiatives and dialogue between the U.S. and Mexico that we hope will lead to expanded cross-border philanthropy, while at the same time preserving a piece of National City’s rich cultural history,” said Christy Walton, who also noted her former home’s organic gardens can serve as a valuable cross-border resource to promote experiential learning to encourage expanding environmental awareness, healthy eating habits and education on where food comes from. “Today, there are few places left in our shared-border region where open space has been preserved and organic gardens maintained to encourage not only a better understanding of our binational ecosystem, but also an appreciation for healthy eating and living for young and old alike.”

A key focus area for the ICF Center for Cross-Border Philanthropy will be promoting health and nutrition, as San Diego’s South Bay area has a high rate of diabetes. Working with Chula Vista-based Los Niños International, the property’s organic gardens will be used to engage San Diego- and Tijuana-area children, families and senior citizens to promote healthy eating and living. The garden is also the source of ingredients for the healing foods cooking class at the University of California, San Diego Moores Cancer Center. The program features nutrition classes, cooking demonstrations and recipe samplings focused on cancer recovery, cancer prevention and overall health. Another objective of the ICF Center for Cross Border Philanthropy will be historic preservation, promoting the rich cultural heritage of National City through the foundation’s commitment to protect and preserve the historic Noyes House, a local-listed historic home.

As it relocates to National City, ICF will begin planning and fundraising efforts for the development of the ICF Center for Cross-Border Philanthropy. Groundbreaking for the International Community Foundation’s phase-one improvements to the center will begin in late January 2008 with a move-in date expected in spring 2008.

The International Community Foundation is a public nonprofit organization that seeks to increase charitable giving and volunteerism across U.S. borders to benefit overseas communities and nonprofit charitable organizations, with an emphasis in Mexico and Central America. With assets of more than $12 million, ICF made more than $3.5 million in grants last year to nonprofit organization in Mexico, China and Guatemala, amongst other countries.

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