Las Patronas is committed to providing financial assistance to non-profit organizations in San Diego County that provide valuable community services in the areas of health, education, social services, and cultural arts, and to continuing our tradition of service to enhance the quality of life in our community.


Las Patronas is a philanthropic organization with a long history of giving. Since its inception in 1946, Las Patronas has donated more than $25 million to over a  thousand charitable institutions in San Diego.  The funds distributed to these organizations are generated through year-long fundraising efforts and the annual presentation of the Jewel Ball, one of San Diego’s most enduring social, cultural, and philanthropic traditions. All funds raised by Las Patronas stay in San Diego County and are distributed to many small grass-root nonprofits as well as larger, more visible organizations. By giving to Las Patronas, a company or individual diversifies its philanthropic giving – reaching children and seniors, the homeless and the disabled, emergency response teams and the military as well as supporting scientific research, health services, the environment and cultural arts – in a broad geographical range throughout San Diego.


Since 1947, on a Saturday night in August, the graceful twilight at the La Jolla Beach and Tennis Club is electrified by the quickened pulse of hundreds of party-goers at the annual Jewel Ball. It is the culmination of months of industry and controlled panic by members of Las Patronas, a group of fifty La Jolla women who give endless hours to raise millions of dollars in direct aid to the San Diego non-profit community. The Jewel Ball is the primary fundraising vehicle for the grant makers of Las Patronas and one of the most enduring and spectacular philanthropic gala in the United States. What began as a lighthearted dinner-dance, has become a huge production requiring the work of many volunteers and professionals, with an extensive timeline of planning and preparation.

The event has evolved from “homemade” decorations to elaborately designed sets, created by the members themselves in a San Diego warehouse, then transported piece by piece to the La Jolla Beach and Tennis Club the week leading up to the Ball. Proceeds from the yearlong fundraising effort, culminating in a single night, fund scores of San Diego charitable organizations, our beneficiaries via the Las Patronas grants process.

Today, Las Patronas is a sophisticated, multi-faceted organization of 50 active members serving six year terms comprising over 25 committees and 20 administrative positions. Members attend countless meetings contributing time and talent to make Las Patronas a well-tuned machine, an operation as creative and efficient as any of San Diego’s most successful companies. Sponsorship by a generous base of patrons and San Diego businesses and foundations has become the backbone of fundraising efforts, along with the support of advertisers, donors and past Las Patronas members known as Advisories.

As government funding for social, cultural, educational and health oriented endeavors continues to decrease, the mission of Las Patronas is more critical than ever, funding organizations in all corners of San Diego County. All the while, Las Patronas has remained steadfastly noncommercial, nondiscriminatory, nonsectarian and nonpolitical. Most importantly, the members of Las Patronas have kept alive the original tenet of their founding members – enriching their own lives with the joy of giving to others.

Founding Members

  • Mrs. Andrew Andeck*
  • Mrs. Graeme S. Doane*
  • Mrs. Samuel W. Foster*
  • Mrs. H. Stephen King*
  • Mrs. H. Franklin McChesney*
  • Mrs. Kathryn T. McReynolds*
  • Mrs. Pending Morrison Mertz*
  • Mrs. William K. Porter, II*
  • Mrs. Ord Preston, II*
  • Mrs. Mel Rombaugh*
  • Mrs. Guy R. Showley (MacConnell)
  • Mrs. Lester R. Stoefen*
  • Mrs. Carlos Tavares*
  • Mrs. George B. Willoughby*

* Deceased