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Villa Esperanza Services Celebrates Launch of Capital Campaign

Published on Thursday, February 27, 2014 | 4:14 pm

Local philanthropic leaders, including Pasadena Mayor Bill Bogaard, celebrated the launch of Villa Esperanza Services’ Capital Campaign. The mid-day celebration with more than 50 guests in attendance was held at a private club and was sponsored by Wells Fargo. “For the past 21 years Wells Fargo executives have served on Villa Esperanza Services’ board of directors. Since 1993 devoted Wells Fargo team members such as current director of the board Joe DeFur and former board member Rich Byrd have lead the charge in bringing hope to families in Southern California,” said Jonathan Weedman, head of the Wells Fargo Foundation in Los Angeles.

“Due to the urgent need in our community, and as a result of the passion and confidence we have in the mission of Villa Esperanza Services, Wells Fargo has committed to this first phase of the Capital Campaign with a gift of one million dollars,” said Lisa Stevens, Wells Fargo Pacific Midwest Bank Executive. Stevens also recognized The Ayrshire Foundation for leading the way with the first one million dollar gift to the campaign.

Following Wells Fargo’s opening remarks guests heard from Pasadena Mayor Bill Bogaard, Villa Esperanza Services CEO, Kelly White, and Villa Esperanza Services board member and campaign co-chair Jim McDermott, but it was, board member and father, Jay Henneberry, whose personal family story emotionally moved all those in attendance.

“To really understand the impact of Villa Esperanza Services I want to share with you what my son Jamie was like before he came to Villa for his education. Jamie was born with a rare genetic disorder, and at the time of his birth the doctor, in words I’ll never forget, told us that his condition was quote ‘incompatible with human life and we could take him home but he would be dead within a few months.’” Henneberry went on to say, “Villa Esperanza welcomed us when no one else would. They did a phenomenal job with our son, well beyond my expectations and they continue to open their arms to us. And for that I will always be hugely, hugely grateful.”

Hope Moves Forward is the name of the Villa Esperanza Capital Campaign. The organization’s namesake means “House of Hope” and Phase I of the master plan is to build a new school and purchase and renovate a new permanent home for the adult day program, entitled Dimensions. The new Villa Esperanza Services School will include seven classrooms, designed for 12 students, each 71 percent larger than the current classroom size, allowing for an increase in school enrollment by 41 percent; Dimensions Adult Day Program also forecasts growth of 36 percent. Currently the school can only accommodate five children in wheelchairs, but once complete it will be able to accommodate as many as needed in the new facility, making the school more accessible and inviting. All buildings will be energy efficient, built to LEED-certified standards as well as full American Disability Act standards.

Villa Esperanza Services has secured 45 percent of the nine million dollar Phase I goal and plans to break ground in July 2015. Phase II, another nine million dollar goal will help complete the renovation, including new occupational and physical therapy facilities and administrative offices, will begin shortly thereafter. When both phases are completed, the main campus will have grown 37 percent to 41,000 square feet.

“We are extremely grateful to the Ayrshire Foundation, Wells Fargo, Pasadena Community Foundation, board members, and philanthropic leaders from the community for their generous gifts. We rely on the community to support our general operating and to have them step forward with gifts for capital is truly amazing,” shares Villa CEO Kelly White. “Villa is fortunate to have campaign co-chairs, Cynthia Kurtz and Jim McDermott and many campaign volunteers assisting with this project.”

The tremendous showing from the community and Wells Fargo executives was heartwarming and exemplifies the commitment Wells Fargo has to Villa Esperanza Services. Wells Fargo executives in attendance at the launch event included Rich Byrd, Regional Managing Director Abbot Downing; Joe DeFur, Senior Managing Director for California; David DiCristofaro, Greater Los Angeles president; Steve Mann, regional director of Wells Fargo’s Private Bank; Tim Sloan, CFO; John Sotoodeh, LA/OC president; and Lisa Stevens, Pacific Midwest Bank executive.

Wells Fargo, recently named the nation’s top corporate philanthropist, acknowledged that the decision to fund the capital campaign was due to the urgent need and the long-standing relationship between Wells Fargo and Villa Esperanza Services. The donation to Villa Esperanza Services is from the national Wells Fargo Foundation budget and will not affect Wells Fargo’s annual giving to other local nonprofits.

About Villa Esperanza Services

Villa Esperanza Services is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the care and education of children, adults and seniors with developmental, intellectual and other disabilities. Villa offers nine programs including a comprehensive education center for children up to the age of 22 years; a Speech and Language Center and Occupational Therapy Clinic providing children, adults and seniors with comprehensive therapies; employment services; day programs for adults; and adult residences in Pasadena and Thousand Oaks. To learn more about Villa’s collaborative approach, log on to

About Wells Fargo

Wells Fargo & Company (NYSE: WFC) is a nationwide, diversified, community-based financial services company with $1.5 trillion in assets. Founded in 1852 and headquartered in San Francisco, Wells Fargo provides banking, insurance, investments, mortgage, and consumer and commercial finance through more than 9,000 stores, 12,000 ATMs, and the Internet ( and has offices in more than 35 countries to support the bank’s customers who conduct business in the global economy. With more than 270,000 team members, Wells Fargo serves one in three households in the United States. Wells Fargo & Company was ranked No. 25 on Fortune’s 2013 rankings of America’s largest corporations. Wells Fargo’s vision is to satisfy all our customers’ financial needs and help them succeed financially. Wells Fargo perspectives are also available at


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