Sycuan Band of the Kumeyaay Nation Make $100,000 Gift to Escrow Account

Press release from Edward Wilensky of San Diego Opera

Wednesday, May 14

Timing of donation fulfills challenge gift requirement and releases additional $500,000 to San Diego Opera, bringing crowd fund total to over $2 million

San Diego, CA – San Diego Opera is excited to announce that the Sycuan Band of the Kumeyaay Nation has made a $100,000 gift to the Company’s escrow account. This gift, combined with an additional $400,000 raised through the opera’s crowd funding effort, meets the challenge gift requirement of $500,000 and releases an additional $500,000 that was pledged last week by Gloria Rasmussen, Jay Merritt and the investment group “The Sopranos.”

This brings the crowd fund total to over $2 million raised. Sycuan’s gift is also the largest corporate donation to the fund to save San Diego Opera. This gift is representative of Sycuan’s ongoing commitment to San Diego Opera over the past decade at varying levels. Sycuan’s first gift to San Diego Opera was in 2003 to underwrite the San Diego Opera Bravissimo Patron Tent. In 2004, Sycuan became the Season Sponsor and has continued to support the Company over the past 10 years, most recently as catering sponsor to the Bravissimo Patron tent and as the Season Phone Etiquette Sponsor during the 2014 season.

“The Sycuan Band of the Kumeyaay Nation has been a proud sponsor of San Diego Opera since 2003,” shares Daniel J. Tucker, Tribal Chairman of the Sycuan Band of the Kumeyaay Nation. “We appreciate what the company has done for our community through their student outreach programs and student ticket initiatives. We are honored to continue to support San Diego Opera in keeping this art form alive for everyone to enjoy for years to come and encourage other corporate sponsors to join our efforts to save San Diego Opera.”

San Diego Opera announced on April 25, 2014, that fundraising options for the Company’s 2015 season, its 50th, were available after the creation of an escrow account approved by the Board of Directors. This account enabled the Company to collect funds that are restricted to the production of a 2015 season.

If the 2015 season is not announced, donations will not be released to the Company and will be returned to the donor. The creation of this account allows the Company to explore moving forward while protecting donor money and giving supporters the security that their gift is being applied to the future of San Diego Opera which is now actively analyzing sustainable business models and various plans for future seasons.

The Company reached its initial $1 million goal last week. Shortly after it reached the goal, a group of donors made a $500,000 matching challenge gift, increasing the fundraising goal to $2 million. With the $100,000 gift from the Sycuan Band of the Kumeyaay Nation, combined with an additional $400,000 raised by the public, the challenge gift criteria has been met and funds have been released to the Company. San Diego Opera continues fundraising for its 2015 season.

Tax deductible donations restricted to the 2015 season can be made online at (anytime) or by phone at 619.533.7000 (Monday-Friday, 8:30 AM – 4:30 PM). San Diego Opera is also accepting unrestricted tax deductible donations for the 2014 season.

San Diego Opera announced its closure and the sale of its assets on March 19, 2014. The original closure date was scheduled to occur on April 14, 2014, the day after the Company’s final sold-out performance of Don Quixote. A vote by the Board on March 31, 2014, delayed that closure by two weeks until April 29, 2014. Another vote by the Board on April 18, 2014, extended that closure date to at least May 19, 2014 while the Company explores options for its survival.

Members of the Sycuan Band of the Kumeyaay Nation have resided in and around the foothills of the Dehesa Valley for nearly 12,000 years. Today they are a modern government providing public services to their members, employees and neighbors. The Sycuan Tribal Government operates one of the region’s premier Indian gaming and resort facilities, Sycuan Casino and Resort. The Sycuan Tribe demonstrates its strong commitment to the San Diego region through support of civic and charitable organizations. The Tribe, through the Sycuan Tribal Development Corporation (STDC), also seeks to reinvest back into the San Diego community with a progressive business development effort. To date, STDC has purchased Sycuan Resort (formerly Singing Hills Country Club) and the historic US GRANT HOTEL, is an investor in Hotel Solamar near Petco Park, and is owner/developer of the Marina Gateway Hotel and Conference Center in National City. Combined, these enterprises now employ more than 3,000 San Diegans. For more information about Sycuan visit

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