Rotary gala raises money for two Downey institutions

DOWNEY – Rotary Club of Downey threw a party to benefit two of Downey’s iconic organizations, one of its oldest and one of the newest, groups which help define the city: TLC and the Downey Family YMCA.

“True Lasting Connections” makes us unique,” said Dr. John Garcia, Superintendent of the Downey Unified School District.  “I’ve worked in several school districts, and Downey is the only one in California that has a social awareness outreach like this.”  

Raul and Arlene Lopez.

Raul and Arlene Lopez.

TLC was begun in 2000 as a Resource Center for needy families whose children go to school in Downey.

Also family-oriented is the Downey Family YMCA, whose Director Anne Ullstrom thanked the Rotary Club for recognizing its service in Downey.  

The branch, established here in 1941 was built by funds raised by the community.  By the 1960’s the Y had added “Family” to its name to emphasize its more inclusive outreach.  

The evening’s award, emceed by Doug Baker, was the new Robert Golay Trophy, named for longtime Y director Bob, whose spirit and dedication inspired many youths. 

Recipients of the Golay Award for “Service Above Self” at this first annual recognition dinner were Raul Lopez and Kaiser Permanente Downey Medical Center.  

Raul was a board member of the YMCA from 1993-2017 and president of the local Rotary Club in 1994–95.  

Kaiser Permanente has been a long-time partner of both the YMCA and TLC, supporting numerous programs for both organizations.  

The Rotary Club of Downey has been serving the community since 1924, and felt it fitting to start a tradition of raising funds to benefit Downey’s service institutions and honoring its outstanding community leaders. 

After dinner at the Embassy Suites at tables decorated with black and white feathered and sequined masks, over 100 civic leaders at the “Moonlight Masquerade competed for unique items such as a week in Hawaii, showcased by auctioneer Dorothy Pemberton’s lively chatter.  

The evening was organized by Nathan Mahoney, and plans are already being made to collect items for next year’s Recognition Gala event.