First published in the March 24 print issue of the Pasadena Outlook.
Sycamores’ Celebrating Children Spring Gala, taking place on Saturday, March 26, will be a celebration of the agency’s 120-year history of helping Southern California’s most vulnerable children, young adults and families to create a better life.
The heart of this annual event is the presentation of Sycamores’ Celebrating Children Award, this year being given to state Sen. Anthony Portantino and the Capital Group. They are receiving this honor in recognition of their dedication, leadership and commitment to improving the lives of children, families and adults in Southern California.
Supporting public education, mental health and sensible gun control have been priorities for Portantino during his time in office. His accomplishments include increasing funding for special education and the K-12 Local Control Funding Formula. He has authored legislation that created California’s umbilical cord blood collection program, pushed back school start times for middle and high schools, banned the open carry of handguns on Main Street California, raised the purchase age of firearms to 21 and placed the suicide hotline number on student identification cards.
Additionally, Portantino has authored bills highlighting the importance of education policies that will combat the stigma of mental health and equip school staff to help students who are struggling with mental health issues. Prior to his years as a representative, he spent many years working in film and television production, served on the California Film Commission and spent nearly eight years on the La Cañada Flintridge City Council, with two terms as mayor.
Capital Group is an American financial services company. It ranks among the world’s oldest and largest investment management organizations, with more than $2.7 trillion in assets under management. Capital has generously supported Sycamores as a philanthropic partner for more than a decade.
In addition to providing annual grants, in 2020 Capital also supported Sycamores with a special grant to fund unmet financial needs related to the COVID-19 pandemic. In the past few years, Capital associates have established a mental health community within the company and worked closely with Sycamores for education and training sessions.
In March 2020, Sycamores CEO Debbie Manners joined Capital’s education team to provide a training to a large, global audience of associates on the risks and challenges that families face when working/going to school from home, signs of distress to be mindful of, supportive strategies for parents and children and tools for self-care. Educational sessions like this have helped strengthen internal discussions about mental health at Capital and deepen ties with Sycamores.
“Both Sen. Portantino and Capital Group truly embody the spirit of the Celebrating Children Award. We are delighted to be able to demonstrate our gratitude for all they do to support children and families in Southern California and beyond, with the presentation of the award,” Manners said in a statement.
The gala will be held at the Vibiana, located in the historic core of Downtown Los Angeles. Guests will be served dinner in the main hall, followed by a musical performance by Davis Gaines, Broadway actor and Los Angeles’ longest-running “Phantom of the Opera.”
Funds raised from this event will help provide critical support to the work Sycamores is doing to address the mental health needs of low-income children, young adults and families – including those who are in foster care or are experiencing homelessness, which have escalated dramatically over the last two years.
Visit sycamores.org, or contact Shannon Boalt, at firstname.lastname@example.org or (626) 493-7757 for more information.