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Monday, September 25, 2023

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David Malcolm (left) and Mrs. Dianne L. Bashor David Malcolm (left) and Mrs. Dianne L. Bashor

Facilitating the Big Gifts

Philanthropic donations like Mrs. Dianne L. Bashor’s $15 million Aztec Stadium commitment are carefully crafted. Trusted advisors like David Malcolm help make them happen.
By Tobin Vaughn

While still in high school, David Malcolm earned his real estate license. At 18 he was already selling properties. Through almost five ensuing decades he has been a businessman, board member, and officeholder of both elected and appointed positions.

Still active in real estate, Malcolm today manages large estates and family trusts, working to bring clarity and order to a sometimes confusing, chaotic process.

The common thread throughout his career has been Malcolm’s love of fixing things.  From repairing and flipping houses to finding ways to help businesses remain solvent, he has always been a problem solver, a deal maker.

“I love coming into a difficult situation and figuring a way out,” Malcom said. “That’s my passion.”

Identifying opportunities

Not that he pretends to have all the answers. Malcolm excels at identifying people with the proper skill sets for a particular challenge, then assembling a team to find a solution.

“I’m not usually the right person to get a job done,” he said. “I am the right person to see the opportunity.”

It’s a talent he brings to philanthropists looking to fund projects that fuel their passions. One such donor is Mrs. Dianne L. Bashor, who in December 2019 announced a $15 million donation to the San Diego State University Mission Valley Aztec Stadium project.

Malcolm helped negotiate the gift after working for years with Mrs. Bashor and her late husband Jim. The couple were known for their generous contributions to such institutions as UCLA and USC, and for their support of military causes and the San Diego Zoo.

Malcolm helped Mrs. Bashor appreciate the vision for Mission Valley laid out by the university. “To me, creating jobs that give people real, livable wages was what this project was about,” he said.

“This wasn’t just a football stadium. This was about giving our kids a great education and an opportunity to get a great job here in San Diego.”

A new face

Having grown up in Chula Vista, Malcolm knows what SDSU represents to the San Diego community. He served on the board of the university’s Corky McMillin Center for Real Estate and was part of the group that formed the Compact for Success, an initiative that helped better prepare South Bay students for entry to the university.

“A whole lot of factors make SDSU our school, our standard bearer,” Malcolm said. “But when people drive down I-8, you can’t really see San Diego State buildings.

“You are going to be able to see it now. For generations to come SDSU Mission Valley is going to be the face that everyone will see along with all the opportunities built around that campus.”

Mrs. Bashor, a football fan, was enticed by the naming of the new stadium’s playing surface Bashor Field. But as a civic champion, Malcolm said, she also considered how her gift might help move San Diego forward.

“We have an obligation to create a vibrant, balanced, great opportunity for our kids on a vacant property in the core of America’s Finest City that we will never have again,” Malcolm said. “The team at San Diego State put this unique opportunity of what we are creating for San Diego into words and visuals, and that’s what really sold it.”

A great future

Malcolm mastered the ins and outs of securing large gifts by fundraising for more than 30 years with Father Joe Carroll, the famed Catholic priest long associated with San Diego’s St. Vincent de Paul Center and Father Joe’s Villages. “I learned from the best,” Malcolm said.

A longtime philanthropist in his own right, Malcolm and his wife Annie recently made a donation from their family trust through The San Diego Foundation to  its Community Scholars Initiative. Their $100,000 gift will help 38 first-generation, low-income and underrepresented students with college scholarships and services that bolster academic achievement.

It’s the type of investment in the future. That’s how he sees in SDSU Mission Valley.

“San Diego State has such a great future,” Malcolm said. “And it’s not just about big gifts, it’s about community where everyone, every dollar makes a difference and hopefully other people can share the vision.”