January 26 at 10:14pm

Interfaith Community Services receives $3.2 million estate gift from North County couple

Interfaith Community Services is honored to have received this week its second largest charitable gift in the organization’s more than 35 year history. The late Joan A. and W. Lee James Jr. of San Marcos chose to generously leave their $3.2 million estate with Interfaith in hopes of helping people in need for years to come. The James’ gift will be instrumental in supporting existing Interfaith programs, as well a play a key part in the launch of the organization’s new Recovery and Wellness Center.

Natives of Pennsylvania, Joan and Lee settled in Manhattan Beach in 1963 and eventually retired to Lake San Marcos in 1998. The couple soon began attending The Lake Church in San Marcos, where Joan first became familiar with Interfaith. After Lee passed, Joan was committed to the church’s Mission Committee; during her tenure as committee chair, the church led concert fundraisers to benefit Interfaith, organized food donations to Interfaith’s Julia’s Pantry and church members attended Interfaith’s monthly General Membership Meetings.

“Those three years were great years. The committee kept me active and busy, and giving back to the community gave purpose to my life”, said Joan in May 2016.

Towards the end of her life, Joan decided to leave a charitable legacy through the W. Lee James and Joan A. James Trust. Given her long involvement with Interfaith and her desire to help others, Joan reached out to Interfaith to explore possibilities. She felt confident in her and Lee’s contribution to Interfaith, knowing their gift would have a lasting legacy in transforming the lives of countless individuals in need.

Joan was particularly passionate about helping homeless individuals struggling in health crises to heal and improve their lives, and cared deeply about veterans. As Interfaith continues to help such individuals now more than ever, the James’ gift will be instrumental in supporting existing Interfaith programs. The James’ gift will also play a key part in the launch of Interfaith’s new Recovery and Wellness Center, which will provide a safe place for homeless veterans and individuals overcoming addiction to achieve sobriety, health and self-sufficiency. In recognition, Interfaith will name the new center in honor of Joan and Lee.

“The people we serve are incredibly blessed by the James’ generosity and compassion,” said Greg Anglea, Executive Director of Interfaith Community Services. “Because of Joan and Lee, Interfaith will be able to further expand our vital services to help people reach self-sufficiency and independence.  We are forever grateful for their remarkable gift; their legacy will live on and transform many lives.”

While still in the initial planning phase, Interfaith is actively looking for a location for its new Recovery and Wellness Center. If you know of available property, please contact Greg Anglea at ganglea@interfaithservices.org.

About Interfaith Community Services

As North County’s largest social services agency, Interfaith Community Services has been “helping people help themselves” since 1979. The organization provides a wide range of programs designed to empower hungry, homeless, and low-income community members to begin a pathway towards self-sufficiency. Each year, Interfaith Community Services impacts over 17,000 community members by providing basic needs and nutrition support, social services, shelters and housing, employment development, youth programs, senior services, veterans programs and addiction recovery support.

Media Contact: Lauren Holt, Communications Coordinator, at lholt@interfaithservices.org or (619) 851-4639.