Los Angeles Business Community Steps up to Help Reduce Gang Activity During Critical Summer Months

Hot Summerís Night Benefit Reception Hosted by the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce Foundation Raises over $25,000 for L.A. Cityís Summer Night Lights Gang Reduction Program

August 5, 2009 9:00 am

LOS ANGELES, CA – The Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce announced today that it raised over $25,000 for the City of Los Angeles Summer Night Lights gang reduction program at it’s Hot Summer’s Night Benefit Reception at the GRAMMY Museum at L.A. LIVE on Tuesday, August 4.  Proceeds and donations are collected and granted through the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce Foundation.

"Summer Night Lights is providing our young people with alternatives to gangs by creating a hub of hope, safety and opportunity in our parks," said Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa. "I want to thank the Los Angeles business community for their support of a program that is truly changing the face of gang prevention in our city."

Summer Night Lights keeps16 city parks open after dark with organized activities such as sports, arts and films.  All parks are located in the City of Los Angeles' Gang Reduction and Youth Development zones and include intervention workers to help maintain cease-fires in the surrounding communities.  This year’s program also includes job opportunities for young adults at each site to help develop and staff activities.

“Summer Night Lights could not come at a better time for youth in our communities,” said Fran Inman, L.A. Area Chamber Board Chair and SVP, Majestic Realty Co.  “Given the current economic climate, a record number of teens are out of school, out of work and in search of activities this summer.  From our perspective, this program makes so much sense - it represents the city and its agencies, law enforcement, businesses, sports leaders and the non profit foundations working together to build hope and create opportunities”

Research shows that crime spikes during the summer when youth are out of school and unengaged. Last year, communities surrounding the participating parks in the Summer Night Lights program saw a 17 percent drop in violent gang-related crime, an 86 percent reduction in homicides and a 23 percent decrease in aggravated assaults.

“Gang violence is bad for everyone - youth, communities, business and the economy,” said Gary Toebben, President & CEO, Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce.  “The L.A. Area Chamber is proud to support the Summer Night Lights program through our foundation to provide a safe haven and job opportunities during the critical summer months and amidst this current economic climate.  We applaud Advancement Project Board Member Connie Rice and L.A. City Gang Czar Rev. Jeff Carr for their leadership and effective efforts to reduce gang activity through programs like Summer Night Lights.”

The L.A. Area Chamber advocates for a coordinated gang prevention strategy that includes the county, the private-sector and the school district.  More information on the L.A. Area Chamber and its education and workforce development initiatives is available at: www.lachamber.com.

The Hot Summer’s Night Benefit Reception and proceeds were made possible through the support of sponsors including the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce Foundation, AEG and Majestic Realty Co. and the generous contributions of the Los Angeles business community.

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The Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce represents the interests of business in L.A. County. Founded in 1888, the Chamber promotes a prosperous economy and quality of life in the Los Angeles region. For more information, visit www.lachamber.com.


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