For many decades, the Benbough family helped shape the City of San Diego. Legler Benbough's father, Percy Benbough, founded the Benbough Mortuary and was mayor of San Diego from 1935 until his death in 1942.
Legler Benbough, as a businessman, civic leader, philanthropist and rancher was an important contributor to the civic and cultural life of the City throughout his lifetime. He expanded the mortuary business after his father's death to become owner of the largest group of mortuaries in the United States.
With no direct heirs, Mr. Benbough made a decision in 1985 to establish a charitable Foundation that would promote his interest in helping improve the quality of life for San Diegans.
The Foundation was initially funded with proceeds of business operations. In 1987, the Benbough ranch in Rancho Santa Fe was transferred to the Foundation and sold. In 1999, the principal funding of the Foundation occurred on the settlement of Mr. Benbough's estate.
The Foundation was created and has operated as a "spend down" Foundation with the expectation that the Foundation would wind up and dissolve when a sufficient number of projects are identified to accomplish the objectives of the Foundation with the assets remaining on hand. In November of 2014, the Foundation announced that it believes that this process will be completed in several years. In deciding the final grants, the Foundation will be looking for:
1) projects that meet the grants criteria of the Foundation that accomplish something important,and 2) projects that have mechanisms to ensure that the funds will be used as promised after the Foundation is dissolved.
Between the time of its founding in 1985 and November 13, 2015, the Foundation has granted more than Forty Million dollars in its three focus areas.