RANCHO MIRAGE, Calif. -

Local philanthropist, Helene Galen, announced at a press conference this afternoon that the Galen Family Foundation has pledged $1.5 million to name the Rancho Mirage High School performing arts center and theater and establish an endowment fund for the performing arts.

While Galen supports a wide array of local charities, and she and her late husband, Louis, are extensive contributors to the University of Southern California (USC), this is the first pledge she has made to a public school district.

"I want to tell the community that a member of the board of trustees of a major private university wants to make a significant gift to a public high school because this high school, in my home city of 35 years, is providing students with an amazing opportunity to learn about culinary and performing arts and a first-class theater where students can either become stars in the entertainment world to add flair to their lives or to succeed in business or even law," Galen said. "I salute the Rancho Mirage High School and pray for its success. I am blessed that I am able to fulfill my husband's motto, 'if you get, you should give.'"  

The naming agreement, signed at today's event, establishes The Helene Galen Center for the Performing Arts, the Helene Galen Theatre for the Performing Arts and the establishment of an endowment fund to support the performing arts programs for Palm Springs Unified School District students at Rancho Mirage High School, which opens this fall.

"In light of the major fiscal challenges school districts continue to face, it is the Board of Education's goal to go beyond the traditional funding streams to acquire the resources we need to get the job done," said Shari Stewart, Board of Education president. "One of those avenues provides individuals, businesses or organizations the opportunity to participate in facility naming and enhancing the district's endowment fund for future programs and projects.  We are extremely grateful to Helene Galen and the Galen Family Foundation for launching these efforts with such an important and generous gift."

Following the announcement, Galen presented a $250,000 check to Stewart, the first of a six-year installment on the $1.5 million pledge. The names of the Helene Galen Center for the Performing Arts and the Helene Galen Theatre for the Performing Arts will be formally dedicated at a ceremony in November. 

The gift will be administered by The Pinnacle Fund, the Foundation for the Palm Springs Unified School District. Pinnacle is the fundraising arm of the Palm Springs Unified School District, and the 501(c)3 organization which raises, receives, and disburses many school-district donations . For more information on naming opportunities or other donations, call (760) 416-8455.