San Marcos High School’s Building Community Wellness Project Receives $1.5 Million Dollar Lead Donation from John C. Mithun Foundation

Mithun Foundation (Courtesy)

The John C. Mithun Foundation has pledged to donate $1.5 million dollars to the Royal Pride Foundation for the San Marcos High School Building Community Wellness project. The gift was announced by Principal Dare Holdren at the Royal Pride Foundation annual benefit on May 3, and is believed to be the single largest donation ever to the San Marcos High School Community.

The Building Community Wellness Project is a 2-phase plan that involves redesigning and transforming the current campus wellness center into a state-of-the-art facility that will serve as a hub for physical, emotional, and mental wellness on campus, and will also create a brand new “mini-campus” for the Health Careers Academy (HCA), allowing for significant enhancement and expansion of the highly successful program.

“The San Marcos Community is extremely appreciative of the John C. Mithun foundation and their trustees, Jack Mithun, Mercedes Millington, and Susan Torrey for their incredibly generous support of this transformative project,” said Principal Holdren. “The Wellness Center renovation will help San Marcos better respond to the mental health needs of our school and community, and de-stigmatize seeking out support by moving our mental and emotional support services away from the front office to a comfortable, intentionally designed space. The new mini-campus for the Health Careers Academy will replace timeworn portables with five new classrooms that will enableHealth Careers Academy 2.0, a re-imagined and expanded academy that will prepare students for health care careers in the local community through rigorous pathways, expanded career options, and internships for each student.”

As part of the donation, the new Health Careers Academy complex will be named in honor of Jack’s mother, Doris B. Mithun, who served in the healthcare field as a dietitian and nutritionist.

Susan Torrey of the John C. Mithun Foundation offered, “We are honored to support San Marcos High School and the development of the Building Community Wellness Project. As a cornerstone of our foundation, we know the critical importance of education. To us, this is more than a construction project. It is San Marcos paving the future for students receiving a dynamic education, and providing training and opportunities in meaningful ways for decades to come.”

  • The Building Community Wellness Project is projected to cost $11 million dollars, approximately half of which is coming from state bond money that must be spent on replacing portable classrooms with permanent ones.
  • San Marcos is seeking to raise the rest of the needed funding through philanthropic donations and with this lead gift has raised nearly $2.5 million dollars towards the goal of $5.5 million.
  • The Royal Pride Foundation, a non-profit foundation dedicated to supporting San Marcos High School, is the fiduciary entity for the project.
  • Construction for the project is projected to begin in June of 2025.

Naming opportunities for interior spaces and external gathering areas of the HCA complex, as well as for the Wellness Center, are still available. For further information or to get involved, please reach out to:

Dare Holdren
Tel. 805-689-7032


Written by SBUnified

Press releases written by the Santa Barbara Unified School District (SBUSD). Learn more at

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