House of Mexico Seeks Funding
July 6, 2017
By Andrea Lopez-Villafaña
The House of Mexico is one of the 13 member countries of the International Cottages in Balboa Park that does not have a cottage to represent its country’s culture, and despite fundraising efforts, the house, unlike the other member countries is the only one that is lacking construction funding.
To this date, the organization has raised $165,000 but still needs $20,000.
Nine of the 13 houses committed to the desire of building cottages to represent their countries and all but the House of Mexico have raised the funds to begin construction.
President of the House of Mexico Art Castro said the cottages allow people to go and learn about different cultures.
“This whole thing is about promoting Mexico and showing everything it has to offer,” Castro said. “It’s really something that provides an education platform for school kids in San Diego, visitors, and [the] people who live here.”
Funds raised by the organizations need to be strictly donations from members and sometimes respective governments. The cottages sit on City property but City funds cannot be used to build new cottages.
“A lot of people think there should be a house of Mexico and that’s true but the funding needs to come from the community,” Castro said.
The Mexican Government has committed to helping the organization with $100,000, according to Enrique Morones, founder of the House of Mexico and immigration advocacy organization Border Angles, who met with Mexican Ambassador Gerónimo Gutiérrez Fernández in Washington D.C. in May.
Fundraising for the construction of the House of Mexico Cottage began in late 2004 and the House received donations from the Bravo Foundation, events like the Annual Ethnic Food Fair in Balboa Park, December Nights and other community events.
In 2016, the San Diego City Council approved to amend the Balboa Park Master Plan, which gives guidance to future developments at the park, to allow for the planning of the construction of five buildings in the park for nine houses to share.
According to Castro, the projection is for a building permit to arrive by the end of July and construction to begin in mid-August or early September.
Morones lead the creation of the House of Mexico in 1996 but the original plan was for the House of Mexico to have it’s own cottage.
In 2004, House of Mexico became part of the House of Pacific Relations, also known as the International Cottages in Balboa Park, a nonprofit organization in which 34 countries or cultures are represented.
Castro said that it is important that Mexico has a cottage in not only because of San Diego’s proximity to the border because people don’t realize how much Mexico has to offer like culture, food, dance, cuisine, and music.
Correction. An earlier version of this story said the House of Mexico needed to fundraise $120,000 and that the Mexican Government was not going to help. It also had an incorrect founding date. The Mexican Government has committed to $100,000 to the House of Mexico, which was founded in 1996.