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$6-million donation to aid families plagued by violence

March 24, 2009 |  2:52 pm

The Children's Institute Inc., a nonprofit organization that aids families plagued by violence, received a $6-million gift from the Booth Foundation that will help fund the development of a new center in Filipino Town, near downtown Los Angeles, officials announced today.

"How stunning and wonderful this is, considering the economic times," said Nina Revoyr, the institute's vice president for external relations and director of its capital campaign.

The donation secures $15 million of the $20 million the agency sought for the project and is the largest sum it has received so far, Revoyr said. The new center will be named after the foundation's founder, philanthropist Franklin Otis Booth Jr., who was the great-grandson of Gen. Harrison Gray Otis, former owner and publisher of the Los Angeles Times. Booth died in June.

Three separate buildings totaling 48,000 square feet will make up the Otis Booth campus. The center near the intersection of Temple and Alvarado streets will allow the Children's Institute to serve another 5,000 children and families each year in a violence-plagued neighborhood served by the Los Angeles Police Department's Rampart Division, agency officials said.

The buildings will have classrooms, where parenting and nutrition classes will be held, as well as therapy rooms, space for performing and visual arts, a teen center and basketball courts, all aimed at keeping at-risk children away from violence.

"The Booth family has been integral to the history of Los Angeles, and with this gift, its impact on our city's children and families will continue for generations to come," said Mary Emmons, president and executive officer of the children's institute.

-- Ruben Vives