School gym named after La Cañada family that's given over $1M

Inscribed high on a wall of the La Cañada High School building formerly known as the north gym are the names of Spartan athletes who made an impact over the decades. Today, emblazoned on the front facade is the name of a different set of superstars: the Hotchkin family.

Over the last 15 years, Dave Hotchkin and his family have donated more than $1 million to the La Cañada Flintridge Educational Foundation. As a result, the La Cañada Unified School District named the gym in their honor.

“It’s staggering generosity,” said Deborah Weirick, the foundation’s executive director, during a renaming ceremony on Dec. 5. The dedication was attended by foundation and school district brass and several members of the Hotchkin family.

Dave Hotchkin credited his parents for instilling a sense of community.

“They always gave us a sense of giving and charity,” he said.

Hotchkin’s father, Ed Hotchkin, blazed the trail in the eastern portion of San Gabriel Valley, making substantial donations to the Santa Anita Family YMCA in Monrovia.

“I did the same thing there that Dave and his family did here,” Ed Hotchkin said.

Dave and Jan Hotchkin moved to La Cañada in 1997. Their children, Jonathan and Carolyn, attended La Cañada schools while Jan worked as a teacher specialist at Palm Crest Elementary School. The Hotchkins assumed leadership roles at the foundation and the Flintridge Guild of Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles.

The Hotchkins’ gifts are just part of the success of the La Cañada Educational Foundation. Since its founding in 1978, the organization has raised more than $17 million for local public schools.

During 2011-12, the foundation raised more than $2.7 million in cash and proceeds from its annual fundraising drive and events such as the gala and jog-a-thon. The 2011-12 endowment gift was $170,000, and another $197,582 came from tuition from the summer school program the foundation took over after the district hit financial obstacles.

“The success of the foundation is symbolic of the community’s interest in support of its public schools,” said Scott Tracy, the president of the school district’s governing board. “Especially in times of financial uncertainty, the foundation has proven to be a life-saver.”

The foundation suggests each family of a district student donate $2,500 each year, according to Paris Cohen, president of the foundation board. Currently, about half of school district families donate to the foundation.

“We’d really like to get that other 50% to give,” she said. “If you can’t give the $2,500, please give what you can.”

The foundation accepts in-kind donations, stock transfers and other sources of support.

For more information on the La Cañada Flintridge Educational Foundation, call (818) 952-4268 or visit, which offers information in English and Korean.

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