First published in the Sept. 22 print issue of the Pasadena Outlook.
The Rose Bowl Legacy Foundation, the stadium’s nonprofit organization, has compiled of its $40-million centennial fundraising campaign that launched in 2017.
The energetic campaign announcement was shared by Legacy Board of Directors and campaign chairman, Mickey Segal, during the recent Rose Bowl Party of the Century on the field of the iconic stadium on Aug. 13.
The goal of the centennial campaign was to reach $40 million in gross donations prior to the venue’s 100th birthday, which was met early with the announcement at the Party of the Century. Amidst the campaign, Legacy grew its donor base from 25 local donors to about 5,000 donors nationwide and has appropriately tied the venue’s generational history back to key areas around the nation. The gross campaign total was also anchored by $13.75 million in public support through State and Federal grant awards to further strengthen the venue’s safety and hardening as it relates to live events in a modern world.
“The Legacy Foundation has grown by leaps and bounds over the past several years because of the enthusiasm of donors — big and small — around the country,” said Segal, who has been involved with the Foundation since the early 2010s and leading its Board since 2015. “This fundraising campaign was one that many thought was not attainable. But our Board, Advisory Board, and support base around the country answered with a resilient result that is emblematic of the stadium’s history.”
The announcement, met with a roaring applause during the event, was part of an evening to celebrate the global venue’s 100th birthday in which more than $2.1 million in gross fundraising was provided by those in attendance and an audience bidding on auction items from around the country. Segal’s announcement at the event was followed by a paddle raiser in which almost $800,000 was donated by those in attendance to repair the stadium’s iconic marquee sign, which was installed in 1950.
“The Rose Bowl Operating Company and city of Pasadena are grateful to the Legacy Foundation. We would like to thank them for reminding all of us how much the Rose Bowl Stadium means to our community, region, and the world,” said Jens Weiden, Rose Bowl chief executive officer and general manager. “The fact that this campaign was successfully completed in our centennial year further highlights the importance of the Legacy Foundation. It is community support like this that will ensure that this wonderful treasure thrives for another 100 years.”
The campaign was launched with a lead gift in 2017 by Tod and Cathy Spieker, a Bay Area family with a fondness for the history at America’s stadium. The Spieker’s donation named the field at the Rose Bowl Stadium as a result of the foundational commitment to the campaign. “The Rose Bowl holds a special place because it’s a historical landmark — a true historical landmark,” Spieker said in a 2017 interview. “One should want to preserve historical landmarks.”
Key enhancements around America’s Stadium were also bolstered by the fundraising campaign’s success such as a full replacement of the venue’s water and gas lines, new LED stadium lights, a second videoboard, the addition of a museum and preservation of the stadium’s two original locker rooms from 1922. Gifts from the campaign not only supported capital enhancements, but also added key heritage recognition pieces around the property such as statues (Jackie Robinson, 1999 Team USA Women’s World Cup Champions and Keith Jackson) and historical markers (such as stadium architect Myron Hunt and the “Home of the Rose Bowl Game”) to further deepen the educational experience of visitors to the venerable stadium throughout the year.
“The Legacy team is humbled by the support that we felt during this campaign from private contributors, the local community and our government officials,” said Dedan Brozino, the stadium’s chief development officer. “This campaign completion, and the reaction of donors from around the country, is a statement of the Rose Bowl Stadium’s importance to the fabric of this nation.
In 2020, key donations during the campaign also helped launch the Rose Bowl Institute (RBi) educational initiative, which champions sportsmanship, leadership and citizenship through educational programs, focused dialogues, awards and scholarships. All Institute programming has been kept free of charge to the public due to the private contributions. Since it’s launch just two years ago, the Rose Bowl Institute has impacted and reached more than 25,000 youth and community members in 33 states and seven countries.
Since Legacy was founded in 2010 as a nonprofit organization, it has raised more than $50 million in gross gifts and pledges to protect, preserve and enhance the future of the Rose Bowl Stadium as a National Historic Landmark.
“We remain inspired by those locally and around the country that treasure the Rose Bowl’s past, but are also motivated to support the future generational impact that is yet to come,” Brozino said. “This fundraising campaign is just a start – we are not finished. This place deserves the best because of what it stands for.”