At Community Partners’ annual holiday gathering last week, we bid farewell to three devoted, long-time board members, honored several institutional partners that supported our work early on…and a most prominent foundation leader dubbed CP president Paul Vandeventer ‘Crazy Glue’ (more on that later).
Each year at this time, we bring together a wonderfully diverse group of staff, project leaders, nonprofit executives, foundation folk and many others to celebrate the season, catch up with old friends, make new connections – and also take a moment to recognize those working especially diligently to make a difference in the region.
Check out this Storify documenting the evening (with thanks Alberto Roca, project leader for DiverseScholar, for taking the time to pull this together for us)
We do this with the Albert R. Rodriguez Civic Legacy Honors, created in memory of Community Partners co-founder Al Rodriguez as a way keep alive Community Partners' – and Al's – spirited dedication to ethical integrity, public accountability, and fiscal prudence in charitable enterprise. Each year distinguished project leaders and partners are recognized for their work, and this year we honored: the law firm of Latham & Watkins for their extensive pro bono support; the Irvine Foundation, for crucial early start-up funding; and The California Endowment, for inviting us in as an anchor tenant when the Center for Healthy Communities first opened its doors (see more about the work of honorees below).
This is a big town…and you need people who intentionally and thoughtfully and purposefully give this place some adhesive, some sense of ‘glueness’…Paul love’s this place and he loves playing that role, and he does it really well.
In closing out the brief program, Dr. Robert Ross, president of The California Endowment, thanked Vandeventer for encouraging and supporting his vision for not just a new headquarters for the foundation, but one that would include the conference center. “I was really nervous,” he told the crowd. “But it was Paul who said this is an idea whose time has come” and who was 'crazy' enough to say he'd be the first tenant.
And as for the new nickname, Ross said: This is a big town…and you need people who intentionally and thoughtfully and purposefully give this place some adhesive, some sense of ‘glueness’…Paul love’s this place and he loves playing that role, and he does it really well.”
The 2015 Albert R. Rodriguez Civic Legacy Honorees:
The law firm of Latham & Watkins (accepted by Ursula Hyman)
From the leadership efforts of the firm’s first Latino partner, Albert R. Rodriguez, to more than five years of loaned office space supplemented with extensive pro bono legal and administrative services, Latham & Watkins was invaluable in accelerating a good concept into a great community organization. Later the firm donated the extensive pro bono services of partner Ursula Hyman, who worked with Community Partners for several years to bring the hard-learned experiences of surviving a wildfire to the long process of recovery and rebuilding. Ursula became a leader of post-disaster recovery efforts around California and elsewhere, making valuable contributions to our publication “From Chaos to Community: A Guide to Helping Friends and Neighbors Recover and Rebuild After a Major Disaster.” Consistently ranked in the top tier by leading legal and business publications, since 2000, Latham has provided more than $1 billion in free legal services and more than 2.5 million pro bono hours of time to the disadvantaged and the wider nonprofit sector.
The Irvine Foundation (accepted by Connie Molloy, program officer)
The James Irvine Foundation provided a critical six-year cycle of seed funding, from 1992-98, that helped launch and stabilize Community Partners from its very earliest planning stages through the startup “runway” to our organizational life. With "expanding opportunity for all" as the foundation’s guiding principle, supporting Community Partners expanded Irvine’s long commitment to building civic capacity into the pivotal inflection between the initial impulse of individuals or small groups to make change in a community and the determinative moment when a charitable endeavor begins and sustains improvements in people’s lives. It is fair to say that Community Partners would not exist had the James Irvine Foundation not taken the initial risk of sticking with us for those first six years. Since 1937, The James Irvine Foundation has provided more than $1.5 billion in grants to over 3,600 nonprofit organizations state-wide. Numerous projects under fiscal sponsorship with Community Partners have benefited from the foundation’s largesse, including the Youth Development Resources Project, African American Board Leadership Institute, Emerging Arts Leaders, Los Angeles, and the Future of California Elections. Since 2009, Community Partners’ projects have accelerated their missions in communities with more than $2 million from the foundation.
The California Endowment (accepted by Dr. Robert Ross, president)
In 2007, The California Endowment invited Community Partners to bring our capabilities to their stunning new campus that has redefined the edge of downtown Los Angeles as a crossroads of community problem solving. The move gave Community Partners a highly visible place in extraordinary facilities where caring people every single day bring their activism, advocacy and abilities to collaborate and learn from others. Beyond this connection, Community Partners provides fiscal sponsorship services to two of the Endowment’s Building Healthy Community hubs and is set to embark on another program partnership in the months ahead. Created in 1996 as the result of a health care conversion, TCE today has more than $3 billion in assets and is the largest private health foundation in the state. A leader in the field of health philanthropy, TCE’s mission is to expand access to affordable, quality health care for underserved individuals and communities and to promote fundamental improvements in the health status of all Californians. Since 2009 the foundation has provided a total of $8.2 million in grants to projects sponsored by Community Partners, including the Violence Prevention Coalition of Los Angeles, Multicultural Communities for Mobility, and LA Commons, among many others.