Qualcomm founder Irwin Jacobs offers $10M match for library donations

New library facility opens in late September

SAN DIEGO - Qualcomm co-founder Irwin Jacobs and his wife Joan will match up to $10 million in donations to the new San Diego Central Library until the facility opens in late September, the library's foundation announced Wednesday.

The offer by Jacobs, who has already given $20 million to the project in the East Village, is designed to help the foundation reach its private fundraising goal.

Jay Hill, chief executive officer of the foundation, told City News Service the fundraising effort remains $15 million short.

"It's not unusual for organizations to carry some debt past an opening, so the opportunity to wipe out our debt is very exciting for us, just tremendous," Hill said.

The project's overall price tag is $185 million, he said.

Most funds were raised from public sources, including $20 million from the San Diego Unified School District, which will operate a charter school on the top two floors.

An additional $10 million is necessary to cover operating expenses over the next five years above what it would have cost to continue running the recently closed main library on E Street, according to Hill.

"There are still many (naming) opportunities at all levels," Hill said, noting that donors can have their names placed on bricks or auditorium chairs, or -- for the sum of $15 million -- on the auditorium itself.

Thanks to Jacobs' offer, donations given over the next almost three months will be doubled, he said. The facility is scheduled to open to the public on Sept. 28.

The old main library was closed last month, and collections are being moved to the new building. Library officials say they'll have much more space to display interesting items that previously had to be kept in storage, and will have room for more programs.

Irwin Jacobs issued a statement saying the new library "will be an ever-evolving resource for all San Diegans, and we invite you to join Joan, myself and your many fellow San Diegans who have committed to support this amazing facility."

Information about donations can be found at supportmylibrary.org or by calling (619) 238-6638.

Hill told 10News they have 10,000 visitors annually at the current downtown location, and they expect that number to jump up to 40,000 when they open the new facility on September 28, 2013.

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