The Burnham Companies
The co-founder of 14 major organizations. The chairman of nine key non-profits. Five decades of entrepreneurism and service to San Diego. Numerous accomplishments. Only one name: Malin Burnham.
From the age of 17, when he became the youngest skipper ever to sail to a World Championship in the International Star Class of yacht racing, Malin Burnham has stood out from the crowd. He has provided the impetus, the concept and the direction to some of San Diego's most important institutions.
In 1963, Burnham and two other general partners formed Sleepy Hollow Properties, a limited partnership that began with the purchase of a single apartment complex and grew to be the REIT known as Burnham Pacific Properties.
In 1965, as a project of San Diegans Inc., Burnham led a civic group visiting several East Coast cities to study the optimum type of organization to facilitate public/private cooperation in the promotion of center-city redevelopment.
After two-and-one-half years of lobbying, the Center City Development Corporation was formed by the San Diego City Council. The CCDC led off its work with the Horton Plaza Shopping Center, which subsequently attracted downtown housing, additional office buildings, a convention center and several hotels.
In the 1970s, Burnham served on the original board to start what is now the San Diego Foundation.
The 1980s found Burnham raising capital to form First National Bank. At the time of its inception, First National had the largest initial capitalization of any bank in the United States. In the same period, he found time to organize, and serve as president and CEO of Sail America Foundation, the sponsoring organization for the team that brought the America's Cup to San Diego from Australia.
In the 1990s, Burnham co-founded Community Leaders Undoing Biases to promote positive dialogue between diverse communities, and was influential in the establishment of the San Diego Aircraft Carrier Museum and the San Diego Regional Airport Authority. He helped formulate and support UCSD's Connect program from its very beginning.
This list of accomplishments is by no means complete. It is hard to imagine what San Diego would be today without Burnham's energy, vision and generosity.
But what is certain is that the region, her people and her commerce, are vastly richer for what he has given them.
Made over a span of half a century, Burnham's contributions helped to shape and build San Diego, leaving his imprint forever on the city. A lifetime of achievement, indeed.