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Source: St. Madeleine Sophie’s Center


Photo:  Artist Kristin McKenney shares her woven bookmark with other artists at one of the evening Art Social hour classes.  Kristen used a cardboard loom kit from the Galley to make her brother-in-law this bookmark.


April 1, 2021 (El Cajon) -- St. Madeleine Sophie’s Center (SMSC), a nonprofit organization that serves individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities, has been awarded a grant from The Conrad Prebys Foundation for $25,000. The grant is designated towards Sophie’s Gallery Virtual Art Program. SMSC was among 121 local arts, education, health, and science projects to receive a combined $78 million in grant funding from The Conrad Prebys Foundation’s inaugural grant cycle. 

In the 1970s, SMSC expanded its curriculum to offer its first art classes. With these first classes, an untapped wealth of talent was revealed. Many students who had not been able to express themselves through traditional means were sharing their once hidden feelings through vibrant, original works of art on canvas, wood, glass, and other media.   


Now, every week, SMSC students are taught a variety of media, such as print-making, jewelry-making, painting, charcoal, pastels, fabric arts, and more. All classes at Sophie’s Gallery are taught by professional artists – its art program was the first in the region to offer this enhanced benefit. 


Photo, right:  Michael Mercadante color mixing


“Our staff and board are honored to serve as stewards for The Conrad Prebys Foundation, and with our role comes the responsibility to empower the nonprofits creating meaningful change across San Diego,” said Erin Decker, director of grantmaking. 


St. Madeleine Sophie’s Center is a nonprofit organization that serves more than 400 adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities through nationally recognized, innovative programs. Its mission is to educate and empower individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities to realize their full potential. Intellectual and developmental disabilities include autism, Down syndrome, cerebral palsy and other cognitive disorders for which there are no cures. 


The Conrad Prebys Foundation was established by real estate entrepreneur Conrad Prebys to perpetuate his commitment to philanthropic endeavors. The Conrad Prebys Foundation inspires transformational change by funding projects in alignment with Conrad Prebys’ legacy interests and continuing his efforts that spark meaningful advancement in our communities. For more information, visit