On Thursday, May 26th, nearly 400 community and business leaders, politicians, educators, and residents mingled and enjoyed a sumptuous ranch-style barbecue and music by the California Cowboy Band on the beautiful grounds of Rancho Los Alamitos at its Cottonwood Awards Luncheon. This one-of-a-kind experience hosted by the Rancho celebrates individuals who have shown significant leadership in enhancing the cultural communities of the Southern California region and raises funds for the historic site.
Presenting sponsors were the Don Temple Family Charitable Foundation, Port of Long Beach, and Signal Hill Petroleum. Master of Ceremonies, Steve Goodling, introduced speakers including Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia and Councilmembers Daryl Supernaw and Suzie Price. Randy Gordon, with his booming auctioneer’s voice, challenged the crowd to “Pony Up!” for the Rancho, which they did in record numbers. Cyrus Parker-Jeannette and Dr. Jeff Klaus of CSULB introduced Rue Cepeda-Partida and Julie Haltom as the 2022 Cottonwood Scholars.
This year’s recipients of the 2022 Cottonwood Award for Leadership were Marlene Temple and the Don Temple Family Charitable Foundation. The award was presented by Bonnie Lowenthal, a member of the Long Beach Board of Harbor Commissioners, who praised Temple for her enthusiasm, generosity, and energy in promoting Long Beach and its cultural institutions. Marlene Temple and her husband, Don Temple, founded the Don Temple Family Charitable Foundation in 2006. She is a member of the Board of Directors of Rancho Los Alamitos Foundation and the Board of Trustees of Musical Theater West and Memorial Medical Center. She actively supports International City Theatre, Long Beach Playhouse, the Dramatic Allied Arts Guild, Steel Magnolias, Ronald McDonald House, and Aquarium of the Pacific among others.
The 2022 Cottonwood Award for Service and Commitment was presented to TABC/Toyota – Jim Zehmer, President for their significant impact on the cultural development of the City of Long Beach. This year marks TABC’s 50th anniversary in Long Beach. It opened in 1972 as Toyota’s first manufacturing plant in North America. Since then, TABC has established deep roots in Long Beach and is a respected community partner and employer, with more than 300 employees. Its community involvement includes grantmaking, nonprofit board leadership for several organizations, employee volunteerism, Long Beach Area Chamber of Commerce, and more.
Funds raised by the sold-out event support the extraordinary educational programs the Rancho provides to children, families, and visitors to the site. Rancho Los Alamitos, the “Ranch of the Little Cottonwoods,” is a Long Beach City Landmark and is twice listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and has been home to diverse cultures for over 7,000 years. It includes a ranch house (ca. 1790-1933), 4 acres of lush historic gardens, an interpretive center, a gift shop stocked with books and unique items, and a restored barnyard with livestock including horses, sheep, goats, chickens, and ducks.
The Rancho Los Alamitos is open daily, Wednesday through Sunday, from 1:00 to 5:00 pm. Guests can wander garden trails, learn from knowledgeable docents and volunteers, meet the barnyard’s resident livestock, and explore California history. Free admission and parking. Reservations are required for groups larger than 10 and for special event photography. Admission and parking are free. For more information, visit RanchoLosAlamitos.org or call (562) 431-3541. The not-for-profit Rancho Los Alamitos Foundation operates the Rancho in a public/private partnership with the City of Long Beach in the Department of Parks, Recreation & Marine.