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Thursday, Jun 1, 2023

Dole Chief Donates $10 Million to Area YMCA

Billionaire and Dole Food Co. chief David Murdock recently gave $10 million to the planned Westlake Village Park and YMCA, bringing the donation total to $18.7 million. Murdock previously donated $1 million, while Dole, which is headquartered in Westlake Village, gave a separate corporate donation of $1 million. The 18-acre project will feature sports fields and a 48,000-square-foot building with pools, a fitness center and a basketball gym with lockers. “The YMCA is very lucky to have a generous donor such as Mr. Murdock, and we’re thankful for his donation,” said Ronnie Stone, executive director of Triunfo YMCA. “He’s a fan of the project and he’s been pushing this through for a number of years.” The $40 million project is a joint development of the city of Westlake Village and the YMCA, which serves Westlake Village, Agoura Hills and Oak Park. The two parties have separately raised $6.7 million from a combination of grants and gifts from local businesses and individual donors. A special feature will be the Dole Nutrition Education Center, a hangout where kids can use computers and fitness equipment aimed to further their education on health and fitness. Murdock declined to comment but issued a prepared statement. “This project will increase opportunities for our community to be physically active and improve fitness and overall well-being, a cause I’ve been committed to for over 30 years,” said Murdock, 90, in the statement. Stone expects to reach the fundraising goal of $40 million in the next six months. Construction will begin in May and should be completed within 14 to 16 months, with the project expected to open late next summer. Miles of Quarters The Boys & Girls Club of the West Valley so far has collected more than $32,000 for its seventh annual Mile of Quarters at the Westfield Topanga mall. With one mile adding up to more than $17,000, the Canoga Park-based club has raised nearly enough money for two miles’ worth of quarters, although only the initial one-mile of quarters will be displayed at the March 22 event. The funds will be directed to the non-profit organization to help fund its after-school activities, scholarships and summer camps, among other expenses. Contributing to the fundraiser are sponsors Wells Fargo & Co., Westfield Group, Kaiser Permanente, State Farm Life Insurance Co., Neiman Marcus Group and Keyes Motors Inc., as well as various other groups and businesses. “We’re always for supporting children in the Valley,” said Howard Keyes, president of Keyes Motors in Van Nuys, who has contributed to the event since its first annual fundraiser. “We’re happy to support an organization that helps kids that would normally go without.” The free event will feature face painting, balloon animals and magic shows. It will be held 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. “At the end of the day, you get to see all of this silver. You’d be surprised how much kids get into laying out quarters. It’s very cute. They get very excited,” said Jan Sobel, chief executive of the West Valley club. “We have a lot of events and we have to offset those expenses. It’s really a family event, and hopefully people will bring a lot of quarters,” she said. Habit for Humanity Thanks to the Home Depot Foundation, Citigroup Inc. and 370 community leaders, more than $284,000 was raised for a local Habitat for Humanity program that assists veterans. The funds were presented at the Feb. 21 Habitat Hearts for Heroes Gala at the Sheraton Universal Hotel in Universal City. The event recognized donors and the low-income veterans and their families who will be moving into homes through the Enriched Neighborhood program. The housing and self-sufficiency program, which operates in the San Fernando and Santa Clarita valleys, is a joint program of Habitat for Humanity and the California Department of Veterans Affairs. The organization now needs to raise another $1.5 million in order to complete its 87-home Habitat Enriched Neighborhood for veterans in Santa Clarita. “We are well on our way there thanks to the tremendous support from our attendees,” said Donna Deutchman, chief executive of Habitat for Humanity San Fernando and Santa Clarita Valleys, in a statement. Stephanie Forshee can be reached at (818) 316-3121 or sforshee@sfvbj.com.

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