About

We are a nonprofit organization that supports educational, recreational, and cultural programs at EXPO Center, a City of Los Angeles Department of Recreation and Parks facility that serves at-risk youth, families and seniors in South Los Angeles. Our work benefits one of the most densely populated and economically challenged communities in Los Angeles and accommodates over 1 million participant visits annually.

We raise funds from foundations, corporations and individuals, and strategically direct these resources to support innovative recreational and multifaceted educational and cultural programs at EXPO Center. Thanks to the generosity of our supporters, EXPO Center is able to offer critical enrichment programs for at-risk youth, families and seniors – none of which would be possible without this financial support.

History of The Friends of EXPO Center

In 1998, led by the Weingart Foundation, several Los Angeles foundations and the City of Los Angeles joined together to meet the dire need in South Los Angeles for a safe haven where the economically disadvantaged residents of Exposition Park could come together to improve their lives and create brighter futures. Through their vision and generosity, foundation leaders contributed and raised $17 million from private funders and $13 million in public support to repurpose the building that had been the swimming stadium for the 1932 Summer Olympics into a state-of-the-art recreational and community facility. The nonprofit that was thus formed – later named The Friends of EXPO Center (The Friends) – was given authority by the City to manage the construction and rehab of the Swim Stadium and new facilities. EXPO Center opened in 2004, thus beginning a unique and thriving public/private partnership in which EXPO Center is operated by the Department of Recreation and Parks with ongoing leadership and financial support from The Friends. For the community, this partnership means that thousands more youth, families and seniors can access educational, cultural, recreational and personal development resources to achieve greater possibilities for themselves, their families and their community than would otherwise be possible. For funders, the partnership means that contributions go to programming, with less of the overhead that is typically part of an organization’s costs. The Friends’ Board of Directors is committed to maintaining this extraordinary resource for the residents of South Los Angeles.

EXPO Center is an extraordinary intergenerational center offering programs to people of all ages, from preschoolers to seniors. Along with outstanding sports and recreation programs, it offers educational classes that provide music and art instruction, dance and martial arts, career preparation and job training, academic assistance, computer skills, teen leadership, afterschool enrichment programs, and more. Every part of EXPO is meticulously maintained and its first-rate amenities include a 50-meter competition pool and family recreation pool in the LA84 Foundation/John C. Argue Swim Stadium, three computer labs, a fitness and weight-training center, and a commercial kitchen. The building’s top floor has two enormous gyms that accommodate a full range of sports and recreational activities. Facilities also include The Ahmanson Senior Center, which offers a variety of classes, workshops, and clubs, The Ralph M. Parsons Preschool, the W.M. Keck Amphitheater, Soboroff Sports Field, and the Exposition Park Rose Garden.

Board of Directors

Officers

  • Steve Soboroff, Chairman
    President
    Soboroff Partners
  • Terry L. Feit, Treasurer
    Partner, Strategic Clients
    Deloitte
  • F. Patrick Escobar, Secretary
    Law Offices of Fausto P. Escobar
    LA84 Foundation (Ret.)

Directors

  • Mrs. Roy A. Anderson
    Founding Director
    The Friends of EXPO Center
  • John M. Argue
    Founder & Senior Managing Director
    Verity Point
  • Jason Booke
    Vice President/Senior Relationship Manager
    Wells Fargo Bank
  • Henry J. Brandon
    Acquisition and Deal Structure
    Nile Capital Group
  • Eric S. Bright
    Senior Vice President
    Bel Air Investment Advisors LLC
  • Stephen C. Calhoun
    Executive Vice President
    Colliers International
  • Debra Duncan
    Executive Director
    Dan Murphy Foundation
  • Chris Fox
    President/Owner
    Minuteman Parking Company
  • Jon S. Gibby
    Executive Director
    Rotary Club of Los Angeles
  • Cecilia Aguilera Glassman
    Executive Director
    Los Angeles Police Foundation
  • Maricela Gomez
    Director, Real Estate & Government Relations
    Paramount Pictures
  • Donovan Green
    Regional Director, External Affairs
    AT&T
  • Jim Hill
    Sports Anchor
    CBS 2 & KCAL 9 (Los Angeles)
  • Shelby Jordan
    CRTD
  • Deane Leavenworth
    Regional Vice President, Governmental Relations, West Region
    Charter Communications
  • Allen J. Lynch
    President
    DPI
  • Robert Mancini
    Vice President, Wealth Management
    Morgan Stanley Smith Barney
  • Brian Matthews
    Managing Principal & CFO
    Payden & Rygel
  • Michael O’Donnell
    Partner, Assurance Services
    Ernst & Young LLP
  • Earl Paysinger
    Vice President, Civic Engagement
    University of Southern California
  • Stefan Pollack
    President and CFO
    The Pollack PR Marketing Group
  • Curren D. Price, Jr.
    Councilmember, 9th District
    Los Angeles City Council
  • David A. Roberts
    Director, Economic Development & Planning
    Office of Councilmember Joe Buscaino
    Los Angeles City Council District 15
  • Dennis Rodriguez
    Chief City Executive, Los Angeles
    Siemens Corporation
  • Jeffrey N. Rudolph
    President & CEO
    California Science Center
  • Martha Saucedo
    Executive Vice President, External Affairs
    AEG
  • Andrew Shuleschenko
    Senior Vice President
    Oaktree Capital Management, L.P.
  • Mike A. Shull
    General Manager
    City of Los Angeles, Dept. of Recreation & Parks
  • Arturo Sneider
    Partner
    Primestor Development, Inc.
  • John Somerville
    Vice President Area Business Unit Lead, LA Metro Buildings + Places
    AECOM
  • Stender E. Sweeney II
    Regional Vice President & Manager
    L.A. Regional Commercial Banking
    Wells Fargo & Company
  • Heidi Talbott
    Executive & Grants Administrator
    Dan Murphy Foundation

Staff

  • Stephanie Wells
    Executive Director
  • Julia Furer
    Partnerships Director
  • Stephen Smith-Contreras
    Community Arts Director