By Jose Martinez, 5/11/2011
Donation Will be Used to Create the ‘Mani Family Floor’
The Mani family, longtime supporters of West Hollywood, has donated $1 million to support the new West Hollywood Library and adjacent park expansion.
“From our first days starting out, right through to today, we have always had the incredible support of this community,” Simon Mani said. “We are honored to have the chance to give back and to support the new West Hollywood Library, a new and vital cultural center that will help build the future of this community.”
The Mani family also launched an additional $500,000 challenge to others in the business community to match their gift in support of the new library, which will open in the fall. For every $2 received in response to this challenge, the Mani family will donate an additional dollar, up to $500,000.
The Mani’s transformational gift, which was announced at a reception last week at Soho House, will create the Mani Family Floor at the new library. At the reception, L.A. County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky, 3rd District, announced a $250,000 pledge from the County of Los Angeles. The county’s Public Library system will operate the new library facility.
“Libraries are free to anyone, that’s what makes them so important, but they aren’t free to operate,” Yaroslavsky said. “Every day we see the value that libraries bring, and we’re proud to work in partnership with the City of West Hollywood to make this new library and park expansion a flagship destination among county libraries.”
The West Hollywood Library and park expansion project will result in a greatly improved park, with an open-air court linking the library, the park and San Vicente Boulevard.
“The Mani Brothers’ donation to the library fund is an exemplary act of good corporate citizenship,” West Hollywood Mayor John Duran said. “The Mani’s involvement in the community and their visionary transformation of their properties continue to make the Sunset Strip and West Hollywood as a whole a better, nicer place for residents and visitors alike. I am truly appreciative of their efforts on behalf of the city.”
Brothers Simon and Daniel Mani immigrated to the United States in 1968 from Egypt. In 1970, they founded the International Baking Company in Los Angeles, which they eventually sold to Sara Lee Corporation in 1992 before founding Mani Brothers Real Estate Investment Group in 1994. The Mani family operates, manages, and leases over 1 million square feet of prime commercial property, including 801 South Figueroa, 8439 Sunset Boulevard, 9000 Sunset Boulevard, 9201 Sunset Boulevard, and 1401 Ocean Avenue.
To date, nearly $6.25 million has been raised as part of the Library/Park campaign.
“This project was designed to meet the needs of the community, today and for decades to come,” Councilmember John Heilman said. “With our new facility, we will not only expand our collections but also offer job training at the Wells Fargo Career Development Center, computer and Internet access in the Stuart Feigin Technology Area, live performances at the Children’s Theatre, study rooms, exhibit areas and a coffee bar. It’s a strong reflection of the city’s rich intellectual, literary and cultural diversity, and we’re so proud to have the community’s support in creating a landmark facility that serves our passionate commitment to lifelong learning.”
Heilman said he is impressed by the rapid development of the new library.
“I think it’s going to be more than a library, it’s going to be a community gathering place,” Heilman said. “Its legacy will be its use by the community; kids going in to do their homework and adults writing their next screenplay. I’m really looking forward to it being a gathering place.”