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South LA youth center honoring real estate executive for building improvements, long-time support

Al Wooten Jr. Heritage Center will present its 24th annual Vision Award to Thomas McCarthy, Co-President of McCarthy Cook & Co., June 8, at the Pacific Design Center. Wooten will also present inaugural Ron Glass Memorial Scholarship to four students.

The Al Wooten Jr. Heritage Center will honor commercial real estate executive Thomas McCarthy at their 24th annual Catch the Vision Awards Dinner fundraiser, to be held Thursday, June 8, 6-9 p.m. at Spectra Restaurant in the Pacific Design Center, 8687 Melrose Ave., Los Angeles. McCarthy has supported the nonprofit youth center for nearly 20 years and is currently helping to develop plans to renovate the center’s South Los Angeles facilities.

More than 200 people are expected, including McCarthy's friends from his alma mater UCLA and from Junior Achievement of Southern California, where McCarthy serves on the board of directors.

"I am thrilled and humbled to be the honoree at this year's Catch the Vision Gala," McCarthy said. "The Wooten Center has been making a positive difference in the lives of aspiring young people for 27 years. It's been my pleasure to support the Wooten Center's mission to help young people attain their educational dreams."

The Vision Awards are presented annually to recognize Wooten Center supporters whose contributions make a significant impact at the center. Medals are presented to Wooten “student achievers” for academic excellence and good citizenship.

"The center recently received interest by a foundation to fund badly needed upgrades to our six buildings," said Paul Wetmore, Wooten board chairperson and managing director of investments at Merrill Lynch. "I asked Tom for help with this project. He organized an outstanding team of real estate development professionals to help us. Their advice and guidance on the project has been invaluable. When we are done, the buildings will be safer, more efficient and allow us to focus on helping more children achieve academic excellence and good citizenship."

About the Honoree Thomas McCarthy is co-president of McCarthy Cook & Co., a real estate investment and development firm specializing in office, medical office, life science and mixed-use real estate assets in the major markets of the western United States. Since their founding in 1995 by Tom and his friend and partner Edward Cook, McCarthy Cook has completed over $4.9 billion in commercial real estate transactions. The firm's investment partners include many of the world's most prestigious real estate firms, including Alliance Bernstein, the Blackstone Group, JP Morgan, Morgan Stanley, Northwood Investors, and Prudential Global Investment Management.

McCarthy holds an undergraduate degree from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo and an MBA in finance from the UCLA Anderson School of Management where he serves on the advisory boards of the Fink Center for Finance and Investments and the Ziman Real Estate Center. He is also a member of the board of the Fisher Center for Real Estate at Haas-UC Berkeley. McCarthy is very passionate about helping youth. He has served on the board of directors for Junior Achievement of Southern California for 15 years and is its former chairperson. He and his associates at McCarthy Cook use the JA curriculum and their backgrounds in real estate development, economics and finance to volunteer teach economics and entrepreneurship classes at inner-city public schools. McCarthy enjoys mentoring UCLA MBA students and dearly misses coaching youth sports for his three grown children. For more information on our honoree, visit

Wooten teachers will present medals to the following student achievers:

Keyry Hernandez

Academic Excellence in Reading

Alexia Cadena

Academic Excellence in Math

Ashlynne Whitt Good Citizenship

Kai Ciofassa

Good Sportsmanship

Justin Gray

Academic Excellence in Science

About the Vision Awards Dinner

The Vision Awards Dinner is the Wooten Center's largest annual fundraiser. It will feature an opening cocktail reception and silent auction at 6 p.m., followed by the dinner and program featuring speeches by the student achievers and the award presentation to McCarthy. The trophy features artwork by acclaimed artist Synthia Saint James. The cap and gown artwork is also featured in Wooten’s logo.

A special activity will be the inaugural presentation of four scholarships from the center’s new Ron Glass Memorial Scholarship. Glass, an actor well known for his starring characters on television shows Barney Miller and Firefly, was a Wooten board member for 24 years before his passing last year from respiratory failure. Scholarships ranging from $2,000 to $5,000 will go to three college-bound high school seniors and one staff member from Wooten’s CollegeTrek Afterschool Program.

This year's dinner theme is “Building Success.” It coincides with the center’s 2017 Summer Fun Camp theme, “Arts and Architecture.” Dinner guests will have an opportunity to help provide scholarships for students to attend the summer camp ($60 per week for six weeks, M-F, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.) featuring STEAM classes in partnership with the Southern California National Organization of Minority Architects, which is providing the curriculum.

In keeping with the theme, Wooten staff chose the award-winning Pacific Design Center for its high architectural value. With nearly 100 boutiques featuring high quality interior designs, this stunning showcase center provides our students with endless possibilities in the world of arts and architecture. PDC was designed by Cesar Pelli, recipient of the American Institute of Architect's highest individual honor, the Gold Medal. Another great role-model. Spectra is a restaurant located on the third floor of the Blue Building in Suite B345. This contemporary space with breathtaking views of the Hollywood Hills and world-class cuisine by Wolfgang Puck Catering is the perfect place to kick off our summer camp theme, “Arts and Architecture.” For more information on the dinner, visit

About Al Wooten Jr. Heritage Center

Founded in 1990, the Al Wooten Jr. Heritage Center is a South Los Angeles youth center named after our founder's son, killed in 1989 in a drive-by shooting in Los Angeles. The Wooten Center provides free afterschool and low-cost summer camp programming for more than 300 boys and girls in grades 3-12.

Activities include homework and studies, individualized tutoring, project-based labs in reading, writing, math and science, monthly College and Career Days, field trips, SAT-prep classes, STEM classes such as architecture and coding, music and art, discussion groups and more to help prepare students for careers and life.

Awarded a 2010 Presidential Citizens Medal at the White House in 2010 by President Barack Obama for her work at the center, founder Myrtle Faye Rumph passed away in 2015 at age 83 from cardiac arrest. Learn more at

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