Peggy Downes Baskin


Peggy Downes Baskin was born in Seattle, Washington in 1930. She attended Vassar College where she graduated magna cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa in 1952. Later in life, Peggy expanded her higher education and attended the Claremont Graduate School of Public Policy, where she received a Ph.D in 1983. Later, she was a post-doctoral research associate at the University of California at Berkeley. Peggy was a professor of political science, with specialization in the fields of “The Presidency”, “Elections” and “Presidential Management Styles” for eighteen years at Santa Clara University. She also spent five years at the University of California at Santa Cruz as a senior lecturer on Women and Politics and Women in Power. For the past five years, she has stayed on as a research associate in the field.

Peggy has written numerous journal articles on women and politics and is also credited with authoring the following: The New Older Woman, 1995, co-author; Beyond Superwoman, 2004, co-author; The Quiet Eye – Listening to Images, 2006, author; The Wandering Spirit – Through the Lens of Time, 2010, author. In addition to the Peggy & Jack Baskin Foundation, Peggy co-founded several other philanthropic organizations, including: Women’s Educational Success at Cabrillo College (2003), Women’s Leadership Forum at Cal State Monterey Bay (2003), Women Helping Women at Monterey Peninsula College (2003), The Women’s Fund of the Community Foundation of Monterey County.

Peggy currently splits her time (between travels) at her homes in Carmel and Santa Cruz, on the Monterey Peninsula in Central California.

Jack Baskin

1919 – 2020

Jack Baskin, born in 1919, was a retired engineer, real estate broker and developer, and well known local philanthropist. He resided in Santa Cruz, California for the last 40 years of his life. Prior to this, his major business interests were in Los Angeles and Orange Counties. His business entity, Jack Baskin, Inc. was one of only five property management firms in Northern California that was approved by both the Federal Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and CHFA (California Housing Finance Agency) to manage agency assisted low income housing communities. Jack Baskin, Inc., a General Contractor, was incorporated in 1948. Jack Baskin, its President and RME, was also a licensed California Professional Engineer.

Mr. Baskin’s roots in the real estate development business date back to the late 50’s when, with $5000 in venture capital, he built a small residential project in El Segundo, California. After building seven (7) schools for the Los Angeles County Unified School District, J.B. Inc. built several thousand single-family residences in Los Angeles and Orange Counties in Southern California. During the sixties, Mr. Baskin made his home in the Southern California community of Brentwood. In 1968, offices were moved to the San Francisco Bay area when J.B. Inc. entered into a development agreement with the City of Vallejo Redevelopment Agency and subsequently built 600 low income apartments, which were retained and self-managed. Included was the 14-story Marina Tower. The top floor of the building served as the main business offices for his company, since it was completed. Additionally, the firm built and managed many other housing projects in the San Francisco Bay area, including 600 apartments in the San Francisco Redevelopment Western Addition area. In 1999, after 50 years in business and in concert with Mr. Baskin’s enjoyable retirement, the offices of his company were closed and the corporation dissolved. All real estate holdings still retained by Mr. Baskin are held by The Jack Baskin Family Trust and are managed by S.A.R. Asset Management, Incorporated (Robert Ridino, President) of Aptos, California.

In the past thirty years, Mr. Baskin supported numerous philanthropic causes and personally donated several million dollars to various local institutions including the Dominican Hospital of Santa Cruz, Cabrillo College, the Seymour Marine Laboratory, and the University of California. In 1986, Mr. Baskin was named the Santa Cruz County Chamber of Commerce “Man of the Year”. In 1997, Mr. Baskin established a $5 million dollar grant, which has been used to build the Baskin School of Engineering on campus at the University of California, Santa Cruz. The school opened in 1999 and has quickly become a magnet for technological innovation; located within thirty minutes of the high tech center of the world, Silicon Valley.

Additional grants, including $500,000 (2002) and $1,000,000 (2003), now make Mr. Baskin’s total financial contributions to the university over $8,000,000, solidifying his commitment to the University of Santa Cruz and the community at large. Mr. Baskin was a director emeritus of the Community Foundation of Santa Cruz County (CFSCC) and one of its founding members. In 2006, Mr. Baskin pledged $1,250,000 to CFSCC for the purpose of acquiring a site in Aptos, California upon which to build the permanent headquarters for the foundation. Construction of the facility was completed in October 2010, and dedicated as The Jack & Peggy Baskin Center for Philanthropy. In January 2008, Mr. Baskin also established The Peggy and Jack Baskin Foundation, funded personally with initial gifts of $2,000,000. The private non-profit foundation was established to provide financial support for higher educational opportunities to disadvantaged women in Santa Cruz, Monterey and Santa Clara Counties.

Jack Baskin passed away on January 12th, 2020 at the age of 100. He led a long, prolific life marked by generosity and kindness, and he will be deeply missed by all those who knew him. Mr. Baskin was a visionary who believed that all people, regardless of gender, background, or socioeconomic status, should have access to equal educational opportunities. The Peggy and Jack Baskin Foundation continues to carry on his legacy through our work and our mission of promoting racial and gender equity.