Pacific Gateway Receives National Honor, $300,000 Grant

(Photograph by the Business Journal’s Brandon Richardson)

On March 13, Pacific Gateway, the workforce development arm of the City of Long Beach, received a $300,000 grant from the Wells Fargo Foundation for winning first place in the 2018 CommunityWINS competition held by the U.S. Conference of Mayors and the foundation. The organization received the honor for its innovative partnership with United Kingdom-based organization Beyond Jobs, a collaboration that led to the creation of a new system to connect the on-demand workforce with employers who need them. The platform allows workers to post their qualifications and available hours, and for employers to easily sort through vetted candidates as needed. Employers interested in using the database may contact Andrew Lippa, business development specialist for Pacific Gateway Workforce Partnership, at 562/570-3747. Pictured, from left: Natasha Mata, region bank president of the greater Central Los Angeles region for Wells Fargo; Wingham Rowan, director of Beyond Jobs; Nick Schultz, executive director of Pacific Gateway; Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia; Gene Lowe, assistant executive director for the U.S. Conference of Mayors; and 5th District Councilmember Stacy Mungo.

American Gold Star Manor Residents Celebrate Completion Of $109.8M Renovation Project

(Photograph by the Business Journal’s Brandon Richardson)

Long Beach seniors and veterans gathered to celebrate the completion of the three-year long renovation of American Gold Star Manor (AGSM), a 21-acre affordable housing community. “The transformation of our campus here in Long Beach was 40 years in the making,” Terry Geiling, president and CEO of AGSM, stated. “This renovation is more than just building repairs. The renovation ensures that our veterans and seniors have an affordable place where they age independently – a place, a community they can call home.” Originally purchased in 1975 from the United States Navy by American Gold Star Mothers Inc., the property consists of 348 affordable homes for seniors and veterans. The $109.8 million renovation project was completed five months early and included the replacement or partial replacement of sewer, HVAC, fire and elevator systems; the replacement of permanent and electrical fixtures; environmentally sustainable upgrades; home upgrades; new paint and landscaping; and accessibility improvements. AGSM partnered with nonprofit affordable developer Adobe Communities. The project garnered $55 million in construction and permanent financing from City Community Capital, $30 million in private equity from Raymond James Tax Credit Funds through the low-income housing tax credit program and $3.12 million in annual operating subsidies from the U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development. “It was an honor to bring our development expertise to AGSM for the renovation of this extraordinary campus,” Robin Hughes, president and CEO of Abode, stated. “While the financing and subsidies play a vital role in the long-term operation of property, they [will] allow the manor to offer permanently affordable housing for decades to come.” Pictured from left: Diane Jacobus, AGSM board chair; Kevin Kilbane, senior vice president of Raymond James; Becky Christmas, national president of American Gold Star Mothers Inc.; Long Beach 7th District Councilmember Roberto Uranga; Geiling; Kelly Boyer, Abode Communities boardmember; Rep. Alan Lowenthal; Lara Regus, senior vice president of Abode Communities; and Sonia Rahm, senior vice president of Citi Community Capital.

Food Finders Celebrates 30th Anniversary

(Photograph by the Business Journal’s Brandon Richardson)

Headquartered in Lakewood, Food Finders has been dedicated to reducing food waste since 1989. The organization collects unused food from grocery stores, restaurants and other markets, and distributes it to nonprofits and social service agencies that help the underfed and the homeless. According to its website, its efforts have rescued close to 150 million pounds of food, or enough to serve 22,000 meals per day. “We are continuing outreach to business owners and vendors that have food overages, and we link the food directly to any of 400 or so different pantries, shelters, missions, recovery homes [and] missions,” Executive Director Patti Larson told the Business Journal. Larson said Food Finders serves four counties in Southern California: Los Angeles, Orange, San Bernardino and Riverside. An estimate from the National Institutes of Health places the amount of food wasted in America – based on calories that go uneaten – at 37%. This statistic is based on a 2009 study from the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, whose findings were re-confirmed by the authors in 2015. Larson said she believes the number one reason people don’t donate their unused but unspoiled food is because they think there’s a liability involved in donating it. “Or they’re just not aware there’s something convenient like Food Finders where we’ll come pick up the food for them,” she added. The organization is celebrating its 30th anniversary this April and hopes to raise $30,000 to continue its food rescuing efforts. The Food Finders staff, from left: Lisa Hoffmaster, Veronica Legarreta, Patti Larson, Sokha Ny, Enrique Wong, Diana Lara, Eric Lara.

LBCC Celebrates Completion Of Historic Building Renovation

(Photograph by the Business Journal’s Brandon Richardson)

Long Beach City College (LBCC) officials celebrated the completion of nearly $13 million in renovations to Building P, the oldest building on the school’s Liberal Arts Campus, with a ribbon cutting ceremony on March 14. Originally built 85 years ago, this was the first major renovation for the 16,016-square-foot building, which houses the English department’s composition, creative writing, journalism and literature programs. The renovated building includes five new classrooms, one computer lab, a multi-purpose room, a digital newsroom, two meeting rooms and 12 offices. The building was upgraded to meet current accessibility, seismic and fire codes, and features upgraded audio-visual and information technology systems. The central courtyard was also reconfigured and now includes a stage for outdoor events. The project was funded through the $1.5 billion Measure E bond approved by voters in 2016, which provided $616 million for new construction, renovation and repairs at both LBCC campuses. “Our faculty and our students deserve facilities such as Building P because it enables them to teach and learn with updated equipment in a beautiful environment that still holds a rich academic history,” LBCC Board of Trustees President Sunny Zia stated. Pictured from left: Marlene Drinkwine, LBCC vice president of business services; Reagan Ferragamo Romali, LBCC superintendent-president; LBCC Trustees Virginia Baxter and Uduak-Joe Ntuk; Zia; Nicolas Cabeza, representative from Assemblymember Patrick O’Donnell’s office; Lee Douglas, dean of the school of language arts; Vivian Malauulu, LBCC Board of Trustees vice president; and Doug Otto, LBCC trustee.

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