The mission of the Rob Benzon Foundation is to provide unexpected help and hope to individuals in the San Diego community who are suffering from a personal catastrophic event not of their making who are in need of emergency support for actual expenses.
Additionally we help individuals through local charitable causes serving the youth and the LGBT communities where specific needs can be identified. Our target grants to other organizations do not support general fund or overhead but rather are directed to specific causes or events the organization can isolate consistent with our mission to provide unexpected help and hope to qualifying individuals.
On Saturday, June 5, 1999, the San Diego Community lost one of its greatest friends, Rob Benzon. This vibrant and inspirational 31-year-old drowned in a sudden ocean rip-current while on vacation in Acapulco with many of the current board members. His sudden death was devastating to all those who knew him.
Rob Benzon was a lot of things to a lot of people, but what he did most was to remind people that every day is a precious gift. He took great pleasure in making others smile. His infectious laugh and reassuring presence, along with his willingness to help others, is missed every day. Never a wealthy person, Rob gave generously with his money, his time, and his love. Our work is in memory of him.
about the rob benzon foundation (rbf)
The Rob Benzon Foundation is a 501(C)(3) charitable organization formed in 1999 by friends of Rob Benzon to keep his memory alive after losing him at the age of 31. The all-volunteer board is comprised of a group of a diverse group of San Diegans, many of whom were with Rob the day he died. We are all dedicated to the legacy of Rob Benzon by bringing unexpected help and hope to San Diegans in a time of crisis.
Our main focus is helping individuals who have suffered from unexpected personal catastrophic event and are in need of emergency help. If an individual meets the needs outlined in the mission statement, we issue funds that are earmarked for a specific purchase, such as emergency food and shelter, medicine, medical treatment, funeral expenses, and other similar emergency needs.
Our secondary focus is helping select local charitable causes, primarily those benefiting the youth and the LGBT communities but only where specific needs can be identified. Our grants to other organizations do not support general fund or overhead but rather are directed to specific events the organization can isolate that are consistent with our mission.
The Rob Benzon Foundation board, without any staff along with the generous host committee, sponsors and underwriters, provides everything needed to produce fundraising events. Therefore, 100% of the ticket sales are donated back to the San Diego community in the form of Rob Benzon Foundation grants. To date, over $200,000 has been granted. Those buying tickets to events and donating goods and services do so knowing that that ALL funds raised through fundraiser ticket sales will be distributed directly to worthwhile causes, without a penny going to overhead expenses.
How It All Began
At Rob’s memorial service, Rob’s friends and family took up a collection to make a donation to honor their friend. Rob’s mother, Connie, matched the total amount plus added the proceeds from selling Rob’s possessions. The Rob Benzon Memorial fund was formed with this $10,000 to help those in need in Rob’s memory.
The friends continued to add to the fund by soliciting donations from guests at their annual parties. The guiding principle was to bring friends together to have a good time and allow people, who are not normally philanthropic, to give a small amount of money to attend the event. This money, when aggregated, is then used to make a difference in someone else’s life, bringing them unexpected hope.
As donations from the fund were made in the early years and people in need benefited from fund, the friends were inspired to do more to continue Rob’s legacy. They incorporated the fund into what is now the registered non-profit 501(c)(3) Rob Benzon Foundation and continue to raise and grant funds for this purpose. We know Rob is smiling down and his laugh still resonates in the ears of his friends and in the smiles of those who are helped in his memory.