Charity Ball 1 Thumbnail

Glitter in the Air.

The annual Charity Ball, hosted at the Hotel del Coronado, is part of San Diego’s grand traditions, committed to the children of our community. For more than a century, the volunteer-organized Charity Ball has brought together community leaders and supporters for a night of elegance and entertainment. It is one special evening each year, but the night has long-lasting impact on families across our region.

By raising funds to provide care for the children who need help the most, the Charity Ball has created a lasting legacy. Your support throughout the years helps Rady Children’s Hospital keep its covenant to the community - to raise the bar, to seek new treatments and cures and to ensure that we meet the needs of families now, and for many years to come.

In 1909, the first Charity Ball was held in downtown San Diego and since 1912, all Charity Balls, with the exception of 1922, have been held at the Hotel del Coronado. The Ball took a decade-long hiatus during the Depression and World War II but returned with renewed vigor in 1946. Beginning in 1953, the annual event has exclusively benefited Rady Children’s Hospital, raising millions of dollars for facilities, programs and services, and excellence in patient care.

The guiding light of each Ball has been the Charity Ball Chairman. The inaugural event was steered by Lena Sefton Wakefield, a vibrant and formidable woman who helped guide San Diego for more than 40 years. Proceeds from that first gathering were $1,570 and supported the infirmary at the San Diego Children’s Home. Lena’s mother, Harriet Lyle Sefton had been the infirmary’s original benefactor. Early events provided seed money for what would eventually become the internationally recognized Rady Children’s Hospital.

Other dynamic women would follow in Lena’s footsteps carrying the philanthropic torch of the Charity Ball comprising an impressive ledger of Who’s Who of San Diego. The Sefton family helped to lead the way, Harriett Hollida Sefton-Campbell, Chairman in 1911-15 and 1918-19; Helen Wolcott Thomas Sefton, 1920; and with amazing dedication, Lena Sefton Wakefield Clark once again took the helm in 1946. Other recognized names include Mabel Phillips Jessop in 1953 and Jean Utt Frazee in 1967. The Charity Ball’s history is rich with a legacy of generous, influential families who have been the fabric of San Diego business and philanthropy for generations.

The 110th Anniversary Charity Ball – Glitter in the Air will be held at the Hotel del Coronado on February 9, 2019, chaired by Gwynn Thomas, honors each of the inspirational Charity Ball Chairmen whose dedication and purpose have lifted up the lives of so many families.

Your partnership will help support the new Copley Psychiatric Emergency Department and affiliated programs at Rady Children’s Hospital-San Diego. As one of the first centers of its kind, the Copley Psychiatric Emergency Department will become the model for proactive, multi-disciplinary collaboration - and will change the course of care for so many of our youth. Your generosity provides the opportunity to improve the lives of children battling behavioral and/or mental health disorders. 

Please join us.

Chairman Gwynn Thomas  1  25096 300 600 80 Chairman Gwynn Thomas 1
Charity Ball  1.1  25097 300 600 80 Charity Ball 1.1

Advertisers & Partners

Learn more about the advertisers and charities featured in Giving Back Magazine.

See Partners