LOS ANGELES, November 14, 2017 — Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles is thrilled to have its headquarters back in the Pico-Union area of Los Angeles and celebrated this milestone with a Ribbon Cutting Ceremony of the Ron Olson Justice Center on Monday, November 13, 2017. With this new building, LAFLA can expand its efforts providing access to justice for its client communities.
“We have come back home to the Westlake/Pico-Union community because those who live around us deserve a place where they will be treated with respect and dignity when facing life’s challenges,” said Silvia Argueta, executive director of Legal Aid Foundation “We now have more space and resources to continue and expand our leadership in poverty law and will continue fighting for social, racial and economic justice for our client communities.”
The new facility has several features that helps Legal Aid Foundation serve clients, including a bright and inviting reception area, intake rooms that allow clients to speak privately with advocates while still being able to watch their children, accessibility to those who are disabled, and a Veterans Resource Center with legal resources and materials. On the top floor, a state of the art board room and conference center will be available for trainings and community meetings.
The new building is named after Ronald L. Olson, one of the named partners of Munger, Tolles & Olson LLP and is a culmination of five years of hard work and dedication by capital campaign co-chairs, Brad Brian and Glenn Pomerantz of Munger, Tolles & Olson and Jim Hornstein of Moldex-Metric, Inc. Ron Olson has a long history of public service and served as president of Legal Aid Foundation’s board from 1984-1985. Legal Aid Foundation is humbled and proud to have Ron Olson’s name associated with its work.
“LAFLA has always been an anchor of this community and held a place of deep regard and respect for me personally,” said Ron Olson. “My relationship with LAFLA’s mission began when I served on its pro bono board and has continued through our firm’s ongoing commitment to encouraging service and charitable giving by all of our attorneys. A mission as big and bold as LAFLA’s, with a client-base so vulnerable and deserving, takes the leadership and investment of many – two things I hope my gift, combined with each and every donor who supported this campaign, will help signal to others for generations to come.”
One of the most interesting partnerships that came out of the construction of this building is with Piece by Piece, a subsidiary of the Skid Row Housing Trust. Piece by Piece designed the large mandalas on the Union side of the building which brought together the community, partner agencies and Legal Aid Foundation staff to design and create the mandalas. This partnership and the mandalas are a permanent symbol of our commitment to the community we serve.
To fund the construction, more than $13.6 million was raised from private donors, law firms, corporations and foundations including The Ahmanson Foundation and the W.M. Keck Foundation in addition to $4.7 million in New Markets Tax Credits through New Markets Community Capital LLC, a TELACU Company, Genesis LA and Chase Bank.
The architect was House & Robertson Architects, Inc. and the construction company was MATT Construction with project management from S.L. Leonard & Associates.
About Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles
Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles seeks to achieve equal justice for low-income people in Los Angeles County. LAFLA changes lives through direct representation, systems change and community empowerment. It has five offices in the Greater Los Angeles areas, along with four Self-Help Legal Access Centers at area courthouses and three domestic violence clinics to aid survivors.