If ever Irwin Jacobs doubted that civic philanthropy could be a topsy-turvy endeavor, the last couple of weeks put those doubts to rest. Last week, a controversial initiative the Qualcomm co-founder, billionaire and local philanthropist bankrolled to remake the San Diego Unified School Board failed spectacularly.
On Tuesday, he got some redemption when the San Diego City Council offered its support as he develops a just-as-controversial plan to make over Balboa Park.
For this week’s Q&A, I’ll be sitting down with Jacobs to ask him about those two efforts, his involvement with the new downtown library and his evolving role as a philanthropist — from someone whose name has long been associated with local cultural and arts institutions to one with growing and at times contested influence over the future of public institutions.
I’d like to ask your questions as well, so if you have suggestions, please send them along by noon Thursday.
Disclosure: Jacobs is also a major donor to voiceofsandiego.org. The decision to interview him has been made independent of that in light of his recent high-profile and newsworthy campaigns.