Sixth annual GiGi’s Playhouse Donut Run returning to Crown Point on April 29

Participants in the 2022 Donut Run.
(Milan Kovacevic)

GiGi’s Playhouse, a Down syndrome achievement center in Pacific Beach, will host its sixth annual Donut Run on April 29.

The run will take place between 8 a.m. and noon at Crown Point Mission Bay. It offers GiGi’s Playhouse participants and others in the community the opportunity to fundraise and spread awareness about their mission and goals.

“It is our biggest family fun event of the year. There is a 1-mile walk and a dash for Down syndrome that has the kiddos run across the grass, which is one of my favorite parts of the day,” said Kelci Wilner, GiGi’s Playhouse board president.

Registration is $40 for adults, $20 for ages 2 to 17 and free for those under age 2.

Proceeds will support the many services GiGi’s Playhouse provides throughout the year, including career support, therapeutic help, leadership coaching and more.

Want to go?

GiGi’s Playhouse Donut Run

When: 8 a.m. to noon Saturday, April 29

Where: Crown Point Shores North Park, 700 Corona Oriente Road, Mission Bay

Cost: $40 for adults, $20 for ages 2 to 17, free for under age 2. Covers registration, shirt (if registered by April 10), medal and donut.

Register at:

Good to Know: No pets, path is stroller and wheelchair accessible.

“We are a 100 percent nonprofit,” Wilner said. “We live off fundraising, sponsors, donors and grants. The money from the run will go to keeping all our programs free for students and families.”

The event will kick off with some stretching to warm up runners and walkers.

“First will be our dash for Down syndrome, then the 1-mile walk will start, then the 5K will start. Once people are done walking or running, they will be greeted with a donut,” Wilner said.

While some individuals will participate in the athletic aspects of the Donut Run, those who choose not to can mingle and walk among several information booths that share more of GiGi Playhouse’s story and highlight what it does on a day-to-day basis.

Julia, Jillian and Chris Hodgetts at the 2022 Donut Run.
(Milan Kovacevic)

For Wilner, sharing GiGi’s Playhouse’s values is vital in attracting new donors and spreading the word about services offered in San Diego for individuals and families with Down syndrome.

GiGi Playhouse’s has become a haven for individuals and families and for the past six years the center has remained free of charge for all its offerings.

“Our programs range from career-based to therapeutic programs and the goal of fundraising like this is to keep those services free,” Wilner said.

In previous years, the Donut Run has yielded roughly 500 participants, and this year Wilner said she hopes to see similar numbers.

“It is a day to celebrate acceptance, it is an opportunity to celebrate all the families and participants in their own unique ways,” Wilner said.

GiGi’s Playhouse officials also plan to allocate some of the money to its latest advancement in Down syndrome support.

“We have only been open for just over six years, but we have so many programs for adults and children,” Wilner said. “We have a fitness class and a cooking class, and the next step is the career-based program that allows us to connect individuals with local career opportunities and that will be called GiGi University, and we are working towards that.”

Marissa Chavez, GiGi’s Playhouse site manager, touched on what the GiGi Kitchen and GiGi University will mean for individuals, explaining that teaching real-world skills is valuable and offers extensive room for growth and development.

“The GiGi Kitchen allows individuals to learn safety skills, team building and leadership skills,” Chavez said. “We love to challenge our participants and the best place to do that is in the kitchen, so we challenge them to try new things and gain more independence.”

Chavez and Wilner are equally confident that this year’s Donut Run will allow GiGi’s Playhouse to continue thriving in 2023 and branch out to more individuals who may be interested in offered services.

“I am excited to see families, the race going on, the dash for Down syndrome and bringing awareness to the community,” Chavez said.

Registration, more about GiGi’s Playhouse, information on the Donut Run and how to donate can be found at

Dogs and other pets are not permitted, but a paved path allows for easy access for strollers, wheelchairs and walkers.