Deborah Szekely
Fellow of the Wellness Hall of Fame

Deborah Szekely

Charitable work

Organisation Free Family Fitness and Fun
Years 1971-1972
Position Founder


Free Family Fitness and Fun was a San Diego fitness programme held in 18 parks and recreation centers.

Instructors were senior physical education students from San Diego State University and community colleges and several thousand San Diego families participated.

Organisation UNESCO
Year 1972
Role US Delegate
Company: President's Council on Physical Fitness and Sport
Years 1975 - 1985
Position Member


The council was established to develop a national programe for physical fitness and sport.

Company Fundacion La Puerta
Position Co-founder with Rancho La Puerta's General Manager José Manual Jasso


Fundación La Puerta is the non-profit organisation of Rancho La Puerta. It actively supports environmental, social, sporting, arts and educational projects in the Tecate and Mexico/US border area, including the preservation of endangered native plant and wildlife habitat within this region.

Details: Fundacion La Puerta
Company: Combined Arts and Education Council of San Diego County (COMBO)
Founded: 1978
Position: Founder


COMBO has raised more than US$25 million to support 21 cultural organizations. In 1978 it raised more than US$6 million to rebuild the Old Globe Theatre, San Diego.

Initiative Eureka Communities
Founded 1991


This national leadership training programme trained CEOs of nonprofit organizations via mentorship programs. Served as Eureka's President through December, 1995. During 11 years with Eureka, Deborah raised $14 million in donations.

Initiative New Americans Museum
Position Founder 2001, Board member 2001-2016


The New Americans Museum is an immigration learning centre and museum located in Liberty Station, San Diego, California. The centre and gallery feature programmes highlighting the contributions of immigrants to the US.

Company: Living Skills (pilot)
Year 2008
Position: Founder


Living Skills was a 5th Grade Curriculum initiative developed by Deborah Szekely with Dr David Kessler, Professor of Pediatrics and Epidemiology and Biostatistics at the School of Medicine, University of California, San Francisco, she promoted a pilot programme to help educate school children on the importance of healthy lifestyles.

Link: Children's Defense
Company: Wellness Warrior
Years: 2013 - 2016
Position: Founder

About was a non-profit, online movement and wellness-news source established to improve the lives of Americans via the prevention of illness, as well as assuring that the nation's food, water and farmlands were free of chemicals and GMOs.

The intention for Wellness Warrior was to raise awareness that wellness is more than a lifestyle issue, wellness is more than a health issu and that with the rise in American health disparities and diminished lifespan, that wellness had become a question of justice.

Deborah Szekely was the first in the wellness industry to recognize America was in crisis and she took steps to democratise wellness through political accountability.

Wellness Warrior awarded nonpartisan digital report cards that tracked members of the Senate and Congress on wellness votes to increase accountability among elected officials and began a wellness industry conversation that has only deepened during the global pandemic.

Wellness Warrior organised "wellness day on the Hill" to lobby the US government about healthy equity.

Initiative Our Green Umbrella
Year 2022
Position Honoree


Our Green Umbrella is a newly-established initiative to plant trees throughout the Tecate Mexico community in honor of Deborah Szekely's 100th birthday.

The initiative will see a water truck purchased and trees planted in Tecate schoolyards, parks, and underserved neighborhoods to cast their protective shade over the community.

"As a tree grows, so does a person, a family, a business, a community and a greener, cooler world!" says Szekely.

Details: Rancho La Puerta Donate: Give Central

Congratulate Deborah Szekely on her induction into the Wellness Hall of Fame

Leave your comments, tributes and commendations for Deborah below.

This is also an opportunity to share your recollections.

Your comments may be edited for permanent inclusion in the Wellness Hall of Fame library.

If the Facebook comments panel does not load below, please log in to facebook and then return to this page, or alternatively email your comments to [email protected]