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Foundation Gives $382,000 McBoost to Soviet Arts Fest

February 05, 1989|GENE YASUDA | Times Staff Writer

The Ronald McDonald Children's Charities donated nearly $382,000 to Mayor Maureen O'Connor on Saturday to underwrite much of the children's programs slated for the upcoming Soviet arts festival in San Diego.

The check presented by Gerry Newman, president and chief executive officer of the foundation, will help finance O'Connor's ambitious $6-million cultural affair project that will feature folk art, theater, religious icons and the famous bejeweled Faberge imperial eggs.

The contribution leaves festival organizers $64,800 short of their fund-raising target of $3 million from the private sector.

$1 Million From Joan Kroc

Besides the foundation's gift, festival planners have received $1 million from Joan Kroc, the widow of Ray A. Kroc, founder of McDonald's Corp. The remaining $3 million needed to finance the event, scheduled for three weeks beginning in October, will come from the city's transient occupancy tax funds.

"We're very proud to join other community and corporate sponsors in bringing this Soviet Arts Festival to the people of San Diego," Newman said. "We're especially pleased to sponsor the children's programs because it will allow young people here to see and hear how children live and play in the U.S.S.R."

Ronald McDonald Children's Charities was established in 1984 in memory of Kroc. The not-for-profit foundation assists young people by awarding grants to programs in health-care and medical research, education and the arts and social service programs, Newman said.

Last year, the charity foundation awarded 142 grants to organizations nationwide for a total of more than $4.1 million.

The foundation's grant will be used exclusively to underwrite four of the major children's components scheduled for the festival.

As a result of the grant, the four programs--an amateur folk dance troupe, a marionette theater group, a child prodigy musician and youth-oriented performing artists--can be attended by San Diego children for free, O'Connor said.

The mayor, who proclaimed 1989 as the "Year of the Child" in San Diego, plans to allow children to attend festival activities admission free.

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