Clinic celebrates 50th anniversary of its founding together with community

November 10, 2020

October 12 marked the 50th anniversary of when Venice Family Clinic first opened its doors. To mark the milestone, we held a weeklong celebration, inviting the community to join us in honoring all we’ve accomplished over the years and all that we plan to do together.

Los Angeles City Councilmember Mike Bonin proclaimed October 11-17 to be Venice Family Clinic Week, recognizing that the Clinic “has established itself as a pioneer in health care innovations and an effective advocate for equal access to care for all people.” Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti added his congratulations, calling the Clinic one of the city’s “leading lights” and thanking us for “50 years of being angels in the City of Angels through your transformative service.”

We kicked off the festivities on October 11 with a star-studded celebration hosted by Billy Crystal and Whoopi Goldberg. As with so much this year, the Clinic pivoted to a virtual livestream event, with supporters near and far tuning in to hear stories of our humble beginnings, how our care has impacted patients’ lives, and our vision for the future. Jennifer Hudson and Blake Shelton treated us with music, and several other celebrities showed their support as well, including Jason Alexander, Anjelica Huston, Molly Shannon, Ray Romano and many more.

The Clinic then hosted a Week of Action to encourage our supporters and advocates to help us celebrate our 50th anniversary by giving back to the community. We created an Action Pack as a guide for simple, fun and inspiring ways for people to volunteer their time, donate to fund our programs and services, provide essential items for our programs and the community, and engage in issues important to our patients. Venice Family Clinic received nearly 100 pledges to take action, about 450 donated personal hygiene kits and almost 200 items purchased off our Amazon Wishlist – benefitting several of our programs, including Pediatric Literacy, Homeless Health Care and Dental. Hundreds of supporters also generously made donations, helping us successfully meet a $1 million goal that will be matched.

From the big to the small, the show of support from of our community touched our hearts. We had participants from all walks of life take action, from college students to retirees, and clubs to church groups, to help our patients live better lives. UCLA Health served as a presenting sponsor of our Week of Action and had several volunteer groups participate.

“During the pandemic, it is so important to take action and give back to the community,” said UCLA student Joyce Zhang, who organized the university’s Students vs Pandemics and Association of Chinese Americans organizations to assemble and donate 400 personal hygiene packs for our patients experiencing homelessness. “We are stronger when we work together.”

Mitch del Monico, a patient and board member at Venice Family Clinic, volunteered his time to sign up other patients and community members to vote and complete the Census.

“When people feel empowered to make a difference, it permeates every aspect of their lives,” he said. “If you’re told your voice matters, that you count, it can change not only the course of your day, but your life.”

Actors Rosario Dawson and Cameron Diaz, and film and television writer Eric Kripke were motivated to help promote the Clinic’s Week of Action efforts on social media. Model and actor Jaime King donated school and personal hygiene supplies for our patients as well.

In addition to UCLA Health, other supporters of the 50th anniversary events included Cedars-Sinai as a presenting sponsor, and also L.A. Care Health Plan, Health Net, Kaiser Permanente, Blue Shield of California Promise Health Plan, Gerber Kawasaki, KCRW and Molina Healthcare.

From operating out of a borrowed dental office caring for just 12 patients on our first day in 1970, to now serving nearly 28,000 people at 14 locations in Venice, Mar Vista, Culver City, Santa Monica, Inglewood and Hawthorne, Venice Family Clinic has come a long way in providing comprehensive health care to anyone who needs it in the communities we serve. We look forward to another 50 years of growth and innovation.