A local philanthropist announced Tuesday that her family foundation donated $1.5 million to Rancho Mirage High School.
Helene Galen said her Galen Family Foundation pledged the money to name the school's performing arts center and theater and start an endowment fund. The Helene Galen Center for the Performing Arts and the Helene Galen Theatre for the Performing Arts will be dedicated in November, according to the Palm Springs Unified School District.
It is is the first donation Galen made to a public school district, according to district spokeswoman Joan Boiko.
"This high school, in my home city of 35 years, is providing students with an amazing opportunity to learn about culinary and performing arts and a first-class theater where students can either become stars in the entertainment world to add flair to their lives or to succeed in business or even law," Galen said.
Galen has donated millions of dollars over the years to local nonprofits, including the Barbara Sinatra Children's Center at Eisenhower Medical Center, the McCallum Theatre, the Palm Springs Art Museum and the newly established Palm Springs Art Museum in Palm Desert, dubbed The Galen. She also donated money to bring the "Forever Marilyn" sculpture to downtown Palm Springs.
"In light of the major fiscal challenges school districts continue to face, it is the Board of Education's goal to go beyond the traditional funding streams to acquire the resources we need to get the job done," said Shari Stewart, president of the district's Board of Education president. "One of those avenues provides individuals, businesses or organizations the opportunity to participate in facility naming and enhancing the district's endowment fund for future programs and projects. We are extremely grateful to Helene Galen and the Galen Family Foundation for launching these efforts with such an important and generous gift."
Galen's late husband, Lou, was the former chief executive of Golden West Financial Corp.