On March 30, 2011, the Portals division of Pacific Clinics dedicated the S. Mark Taper Foundation Recovery and Wellness Center in South Los Angeles before a crowd of over 120 special guests and dignitaries. More than $2.2 million was raised by the Western Avenue Renovation Project (WARP) Capital Campaign, ensuring the expansion of Pacific Clinics’ urgently needed mental health services to hundreds of individuals in Los Angeles' most impoverished neighborhood.
The dedication event guest list consisted of campaign donors, local political representatives and Pacific Clinics staff. The event program began with a welcome from capital campaign committee chair Richard Dominguez, who proclaimed, "This is a day of great celebration." He outlined the beginnings of the campaign, which coincided with the nation’s economic recession. "Regardless of the economic climate," said Mr. Dominguez, "I am pleased to report we were successful in our capital campaign." Mr. Dominguez went on to thank the members of the capital campaign’s steering committee, who met bi-weekly since the campaign started in early 2008.
Dr. Susan Mandel, President and CEO of Pacific Clinics, followed in the program and thanked the donors, volunteers and staff for their combined efforts in helping the agency reach both its fundraising and construction goals. She also acknowledged longtime former Portals CEO Marvin Weinstein, saying, "I view myself as a successor/trustee to Marv Weinstein…and I take that trusteeship very seriously." Dr. Mandel explained that none of what Portals does today would have been possible without his dedicated efforts.
Dr. Mandel then introduced Jim Balla, Executive Vice President and COO of Pacific Clinics as well as President of the Portals Foundation Board of Trustees. Mr. Balla – who served as President and CEO of Portals prior to joining Pacific Clinics – summarized the community need for the expanded services of the new Taper Center, which include: expanded service capacity, the creation of new program opportunities and improved access and safety in the facility. He proudly stated that the Taper Center would be "a true and treasured community asset."
Gil Abdalian, Portals' divisional director who oversees the Center’s activities, shared his belief that "the Center’s presence will contribute significantly to this community’s need for mental health services," and asked that Portals members Sheila Armstead and Kenny Bowers share their experiences to show how they, along with many other members, have benefited from Portals programs.
Jolynn Reid, Chief Development Officer of Pacific Clinics, continued the program by acknowledging the presence of two key contributors to the project: Lead donor S. Mark Taper Foundation, represented by Vice President Cynthia Taper Bolker, and Dominic Ng, Chairman, President and CEO of East West Bank, who chaired the WARP project's "Race to the Finish" campaign aimed at raising the remaining funds needed to reach the goal of the campaign.
Judy and Karen Weinstein announced that thanks to more than 100 of their friends and family, they had raised nearly $70,000 to have the outdoor area in the rear of the Center be renamed the Marvin Weinstein Memorial Courtyard in honor of their father. Judy Weinstein added that they were truly gratified that so many of the donors toward this tribute were able to make it to the dedication event.
The program concluded with closing remarks by Ron Banks, Chair of both Pacific Clinics' Board of Directors and the Portals Foundation Board of Trustees, who acknowledged everyone who made the Taper Center possible, saying that the dedication "was a wonderful way to mark the end of a 3-year effort by the members of the steering committee, whose dedication was unwavering."
Following the program, guests were given tours of the facility by divisional staff and members, showing how the renovated Center is now able to support enhanced services such as transitional housing, employment, socialization and community outreach, to name just a few.