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The Big Picture San Diego Blog


EDC Turns 50

May 7, 2015

Herb Klein Civic Leadership Award

San Diego Regional Economic Development Corporation is pleased to announce Gary and Mary West as the 2015 Honorees of the Herb Klein Civic Leadership Award. EDC honors individuals who have demonstrated outstanding leadership in addressing challenges and making significant contributions to improving San Diego.

2015 Honorees Gary and Mary West

Gary and Mary West are two of the most generous philanthropists and entrepreneurs in our region. The Wests have called San Diego their home since 2006 and have created and funded some of the most innovative charitable causes in our community. Gary and Mary’s greatest passions are improving care for our nation’s seniors and transforming healthcare delivery for all Americans, and they have committed tremendous resources to those causes locally.

In 2006, they established the Gary and Mary West Foundation, the second largest private foundation in San Diego. Through their philanthropy, the Wests have had a positive impact on disadvantaged seniors through organizations like Serving Seniors and their flagship Gary and Mary West Senior Wellness Center, which is now hailed as an international model for successful aging. The new facility brings more than 20 non-profit organizations under one roof to provide critical social services to nearly 600 seniors a day in Downtown San Diego. Gary and Mary also actively support organizations such as Meals-on-Wheels Greater San Diego, Legal Aid Society of San Diego, Canine Companions for Independence, the Challenge Center, the San Diego Public Library Foundation, Paws’itive Teams, Access to Independence and the San Diego Police Foundation.

Their dedication to lowering the cost of healthcare led to the 2009 formation of what is now known as the West Health Institute. It’s an independent, nonprofit medical research organization pioneering new and smarter technologies, policies and practices to make high-quality healthcare more affordable.  Knowing technology alone could not address the spending crisis in healthcare, they launched the non-partisan, Washington, D.C.-based West Health Policy Center in 2012 to help shape federal policy and regulations.

Gary and Mary’s most recent effort to reimagine healthcare delivery resulted in the Foundation launching the Center for Medical Interoperability, a non-profit organization dedicated to improving communications in our nation’s hospitals and healthcare systems for better safety, quality and affordability.

Throughout their careers, Gary and Mary have been dedicated to providing good jobs so that others may live the American Dream, and we are incredibly fortunate they have chosen to bring their entrepreneurial spirit and generous philanthropy to our region.

Please join us on June 4, 2015 as we celebrate Gary and Mary West and their extraordinary contributions to San Diego.

The 2015 Herb Klein Civic Leadership award is generously sponsored by: