Developer ‘Papa’ Doug Manchester Discusses Giving Back

Most San Diegans know “Papa” Doug Manchester as a successful real estate developer and now owner of U-T San Diego, but may not know that he is a major donor to nonprofits and charities.

Manchester and his family have given more than $40 million over several decades to charities and institutions including University of San Diego, the Child Abuse Protection Foundation, the Bishop’s School in La Jolla, Wake Forest University and his alma mater, San Diego State University.

“We’re all charged with the responsibility of giving back to this incredible community,” said Manchester in an interview with Times of San Diego. “Everybody here in this great country of ours who’s had success is called on to follow the Alexis De Toqueville mission and model.”

De Toqueville was a French historian and political thinker whose landmark book Democracy in American pointed out how newly-independent Americans, unlike Europeans, engaged in voluntary action on behalf of the common good. Manchester helped found the local United Way Tocqueville Society, a group of major donors.

Manchester is most proud of his work building University of San Diego’s endowment and preserving its architecturally unique campus, personally funding three Spanish Renaissance-style buildings. “We now have a university up there that is financially sound, well respected, and if you walk on that campus you have homogeneous architecture.”

He said the San Diego community is becoming “much more” generous as it grows larger. He cited fellow business leaders and philanthropists Ernest Rady, Irwin Jacobs and T. Denny Sanford.

“Their generosity has been enormous and has benefited the community so much,” he said. “They’re three great friends and I admire and respect them so very much for what they have done…. In a much smaller way, our family has attempted to do the same thing.”

Turning to the U-T, he said he wants the newspaper to continue to “champion what is good and right about our community.” He said a recent proposal to make the U-T a nonprofit enterprise is a “good idea,” but has been difficult to achieve.

Manchester’s local philanthropy included a gift of land on the waterfront, adjacent to his hotel developments, that became the site of the San Diego Convention Center. He later developed The Grand Del Mar, whose signature restaurant Addison — named for famed 1920s resort architect Addison Mizner — has won a long list of international awards for culinary excellence. “I wanted it to be the very best,” he said.

The 72-year-old Manchester said he plans to continue his philanthropic efforts, vowing never to retire.

Story from the Times of San Diego, By


2015 Patrons of the Prado’s Masterpiece Gala, in celebration of Balboa Park’s 100-year anniversary of the Panama-California International Exposition, to take place July 18, 2015

Papa Doug and Geniya Manchester to Serve as Presenting Sponsor and U-T San Diego as Media Sponsor 

San Diego, CA – Patrons of the Prado’s Masterpiece Gala, in celebration of Balboa Park’s 100-year anniversary of the Panama-California International Exposition will take place on Saturday, July 18, 2015, at the Spreckels Organ Pavilion. This will be the organization’s largest fundraiser to date, with an ambitious goal to raise significant financial support for the programs and initiatives of the 11 museums, arts and cultural institutions along The Prado of Balboa Park. To kick off the event, Patrons of the Prado ( has announced that Papa Doug and Geniya Manchester have accepted the invitation to serve as presenting sponsor and U-T San Diego as media sponsor.

The event honors San Diego Mayor Kevin L. Faulconer.

“Balboa Park is the pride of our world-class city, so it’s only fitting that we come together to support the world-class art and cultural institutions that reside within it,” Mayor Faulconer said. “This is yet another way San Diegans are uniting this year to celebrate and elevate Balboa Park for its centennial celebration.”

Arlene and Richard Esgate, and Jack McGrory will serve as gala chairs and early major sponsors. Other event sponsors include Malin Burnham; Bill Roper; Valerie and Harry Cooper; Kurt and Andrea Culver, EsGil Corp.; Catherine and Phil Blair; and Linda and Mel Katz.

“Our board enthusiastically welcomes the news of Papa Doug, Geniya and U-T San Diego’s generous commitment of $200,000 for the 2015 Masterpiece Gala,” said Arlene Esgate. “We are honored to have them play a pivotal role for our 100-year anniversary celebration of the city’s beloved Balboa Park.”

Patrons of the Prado is dedicated to raising funds that benefit designated arts organizations and museums at Balboa Park’s Prado, enabling these valuable nonprofit cultural organizations to fulfill their specific missions.

“Geniya and I are truly honored to participate in this wonderful celebration,” said Papa Doug

Neighborhood Market Association and Chaldean Community at Large Name Papa Doug Manchester as Recipient of Shepherd of Humanity Award

First Shepherd of Humanity Recognition in the Last Eight Years

San Diego, CA – The Neighborhood Market Association and the Chaldean community at large have named Papa Doug Manchester as recipient of the Shepherd of Humanity Award, which is given in recognition of an individual’s extraordinary contributions to the Chaldean-Christian community globally. The award was presented to Papa Doug at NMA’s annual banquet, held at the Manchester Grand Hyatt on Feb. 20, 2015. Other honorees that evening included Voices of Humanity recipients John Carroll, CW 6 news reporter, and Richard Allyn, CBS 8 news reporter; and Retailer of the Year, presented to the Arabo Family.

The banquet brings together retailers, suppliers, government representatives and community leaders to celebrate NMA’s accomplishments. The event also recognizes association members and public officials for their outstanding service to the industry and community. 

The spiritual and community passion Papa Doug has consistently shown to the Chaldean community, and the humanitarian efforts we have received from U-T San Diego, have helped protect and promote our security and interests throughout the world, said Mark Arabo, NMA president and national spokesman for the Iraqi Chaldean Christian community. “The Shepherd of Humanity Award stands as an achievement for protecting not simply the Christian community, but humanity. Our community has recognized the Shepherd of Humanity winners as more than just humanitarians, but as angels on Earth. We’re honored to recognize Papa Doug as the first recipient of this award in the last eight years.”.

NMA is a nonprofit industry organization with 2,300 business members, headquartered in San Diego with multiple offices throughout California. The organization, founded in 1995, was originally called the Chaldean Grocers’ Association and was modeled after other ethnically-based grocer organizations. In 1996, the organization changed its name to the San Diego Merchants Association in hopes of promoting inclusiveness. In 2001, the organization changed its name again to Independent Grocers and Convenience Stores and began accepting members from outside California. In 2007, the organization merged with the California Beverage Merchants, creating the Neighborhood Market Association.

NMA is dedicated to the well-being of not only its members, but the public at large,” said Arabo. “As a nonprofit organization and members of the community, we work to assist in the betterment of groups and individuals, both here in San Diego and throughout the world.”

NMA’s Arabo founded the Minority Humanitarian Foundation to establish a safe passage for those needing to leave Iraq, and provide humanitarian aid to those who wish to stay in the country. Since its founding, the nonprofit has made contact with 70,000 Chaldeans who fled from Mosul and surrounding cities when ISIS stormed the region in July 2014.

I am truly honored and sincerely humbled that the Neighborhood Market Association has named me for the Shepherd of Humanity award,” said Papa Doug Manchester. “It’s even more humbling to learn that I am the first non-Iraqi Christian to receive a nomination, much less the award itself, and I am particularly honored to follow in the very formidable footsteps of former Sen. Wadie Deddeh and Bishop Jammo.”

Manchester added, “As a publisher, I believe we must serve as a voice for the people and for the community in order to inform, educate and engage people to be inspired to take action for the better of the community. Our job is not only to inform the community on what is taking place locally, but also address national and international issues that are taking place from around the world, in order to elevate public attention and awareness. We are blessed to live in a country in which we can express freedom of speech and free will; however, we must stand up for and protect those who do not have a voice.”  

Jeff Light Named U-T San Diego President and Chief Operating Officer

San Diego, CA –– The U-T San Diego has named Jeff Light as its new president and chief operating officer. Light, currently editor and vice president of content at U-T San Diego, will continue as the editor of the newsroom, a position he began in 2010 at the multimedia publishing company.

Jeff’s hard work, professionalism and dedication has led the industry, and we are confident that he will continue to lead our company in fulfilling our community vision and goals,” U-T San Diego Publisher “Papa” Doug Manchester said. “He has experience in both the news and business sides, and in both print and digital formats. All the operating divisions of the company will now report up through Jeff.”

Light, 54, came to the U-T after serving as vice president for interactive publishing at The Orange County Register. Since his arrival in San Diego, he has overseen various initiatives in the newsroom, both on the print and digital side. Light, who has an MBA degree from University of California Irvine and BA from Brown University, said he will emphasize more multimedia innovation and product development in his expanded role.

The U-T has made huge strides in the last five years, both in terms of business success and the quality of our products,” said Light. “I have confidence that we have an outstanding team in place to build on the great turnaround story at the U-T.”

Light grew up in Buffalo, N.Y., where his father was editor of the local newspaper. Over the last three decades, he has worked for newspapers and their web sites. He has been an editor, a reporter, a clerk, even a “hopper” – the person who throws the bundles of papers from the delivery trucks in the dead of night. He believes that journalism is one of society’s greatest callings. That is to say, it is one of the best things a person can do with his or her life.

In one of Light’s first initiatives as president and COO, he has promoted U-T San Diego’s A-1 editor, Lora Cicalo, to managing editor. In this capacity, Cicalo will work closely with Light in managing the newsroom and continue to oversee production of the daily print editions.

Lora will serve as a key partner in all newsroom decisions and the ultimate decision-maker whenever I am absent,” said Light. “Lora is an extraordinary journalist and one of the most admired people in our newsroom. I’m delighted to have her in this role.”