David Bohnett Speeches

Remarks On the Dedication of the Franklin Canyon Orange Grove

Thank you, Barry, for that kind introduction. Your commitment to community service in Los Angeles is a personal inspiration, and our city and country are very fortunate to benefit from your passion and leadership.

Among Barry's many achievements was his leadership role in the Olympic games held here in Los Angeles in 1984. The transformational effect that those games had on Los Angeles can't be overestimated, and Barry played a major part of that effort. The reason I mention that here today is that Los Angeles remains a city where dreams big and small really do come true. Seeing the positive changes in our city as a result of those games set an early example for me that a commitment to serve one's community can bring great personal reward and tremendous benefit to our fellow citizens.

Thank you as well to Judith Kieffer, Jon Mukri, Councilman Tom LaBonge, and Rich Harasick at the DWP for helping make this project turn a dream into reality.

The response from the neighborhood and community with regard to the grove's revitalization has been overwhelmingly positive, so much so that it's worth trying to understand how that phenomena came to be. Comments like 'miraculous' and 'a dream come true' are just an example of the feedback we've heard, indicating that the importance of this orange grove goes beyond it's agricultural benefits.

In thinking more about it, what this land and these trees really represent is hope, and hope can be a very powerful thing. The mission of the David Bohnett Foundation is 'Improving Society through Social Activism', and the way we try to live up to that mission is to invest in individuals and organizations that help us achieve our full potential as a society and lift up those in underserved communities. So, the social activism part translates to improving society through investment in music education, environmental stewardship, bike lanes and mass transit initiatives, animal welfare, responsible gun legislation, marriage equality, and last but not least, helping restore a local orange grove.

As a result of these activities, our mission really translates to improving society through hope, and the best way each of us can fulfill our duty to community and our fellow man is to invest time and effort in activities large and small that create a hope for a better future.

There will be ongoing expenses for the maintenance and care of this orange grove and I'm pleased to say that I've got that covered. But there over 420 parks in the City of Los Angeles, many in communities that sure could use a dose of hope for the future, and I ask that everyone here consider helping out through a donation to the Parks Foundation.

For as little as $1 and up to any generous amount, you can become a Friend of the Parks and designate your donation to a park of your choice. $500 sends a deserving and needy child for a one week sleep away camp in Griffith Park, for $3,500 (and this can be paid over time) you can help us save the environment by buying solar trash compactors which bear your company name and can be placed at a park of your choice, all the way up to $25,000 to adopt the park for a year. The point is, each one of us can make a difference in our community through a donation, large or small, to the LA Parks Foundation, and materials about the Foundation are available here at this event.

It's important to acknowledge and recognize the efforts of Rick Nahmias and the Food Forward organization for their vital role in this project. Food Forward brings together volunteers and neighbors to share in the gleaning and distributing of locally grown food from private homes and public spaces which is then distributed to local food pantries and organizations serving those in need. The hardy volunteers of Food Forward organized a fruit pick here at the orange grove several years ago, and it was a chance coincidence I was riding my bike up North Beverly Drive that day and stopped by to see what the pick was all about. That fortuitous encounter was a key milestone in the story of how we ended up here today and thank you to Rick and his crew for all the good work at Food Forward.

The Los Angeles Olympic games gave us all hope for the future of our city. The Franklin Canyon Orange Grove gives us hope that small miracles really do happen, new trees can be planted, wise and weathered old trees can be pruned and tended, and the abundant fruit from these seven score of trees will be distributed to food banks throughout needy communities in Los Angeles. Thank you for your support for this effort, and for your consideration to help the Los Angeles Parks Foundation continue their important service to our community.

Media contact: Carolyn Campbell, (310) 659-5427: Carolyn@CampbellComm.biz