The History of SD BIG

Bill Walton, a native San Diegan, NBA player and announcer played on the South Mission Beach basketball court since he was a young man in the 1960s. In 1997, he and several other sports enthusiasts refurbished that basketball court and installed 14 new beach volleyball courts to create the sports courts. 
In 2002, the courts had been a bit neglected, so a group of us decided to have a little fundraiser to buy new nets, lines and hardware. These events turned into silent auctions and eventually fun beach volleyball tournaments. In 2007, Laura Hendrickson, put in the time to make our efforts official and created San Diego Beach Improvement Group (SD BIG), an official nonprofit 501(c)(3). As a San Diego native, it was the perfect fit for giving back to the beach and volleyball community she’d grown up.
Since then our events have shifted, but our purpose remains strong. Join us for one of our monthly beach cleanups/socials, our BIG Kahuna Beachfest or the Annual Polar Bear Classic.

Keeping San Diego Beaches at their best through collaborative efforts, sports and empowerment.

We raise funds to do beach cleanups, maintain sports facilities, amenities and landscaping and host events to improve our beaches and implement master plans. This empowers everyone to have access to a healthy and active lifestyle.

Join our collaborative today!
Make a donation, match our grants, be a sponsor, be a partner or join our team as a board member, project manager, intern or volunteer.

Check out this great video that students from San Diego State University made showcasing the awesome experience of playing volleyball in South Mission Beach:


There are many benefits to having a nonprofit 501(c)(3) designation. One of the biggest reasons is to allow our donors and sponsors, to obtain a tax-deductible receipt.

As a nonprofit, we also get discounts when putting on events and other tax breaks that are listed here:

  • Exemption from Federal income tax;

  • Tax-deductible contributions;

  • Possible exemption from state income, sales, and employment taxes;

  • Reduced postal rates;

  • Exemption from Federal unemployment tax; and.

  • Tax-exempt financing.

Because we want to be completely transparent in our activities, we have provided a separate page to help you know exactly where we are in our process to become an official 501(c)(3), where the money goes and how we run the nonprofit. Visit our page dedicated to these inquiries at Public Reporting and Transparency.

We aspire to collaborate with like-minded people, community groups and corporations who love the beach as much as we do. With this support, we can garner enough to stabilize our nonprofit so that individuals can choose the projects they give to and see the impact of their donations. Our activities and programs are built around empowering kids and adults to build friendships, a sense of community and a health in body, mind and soul for life.


If you love beach volleyball and the beach, consider being a part of our tribe. Contact Laura Hendrickson at or 619-888-6743 to learn more about how to get involved.