ChamberFest; EmpowerTech relocates; food truck dinner; Rotary Bingofest

The Los Angeles Business Journal named Karen Dial the 2011 Philanthropist of the Year at its 19th annual Women Making a Difference Awards event May 16.

The awards honor women for outstanding achievement in the business community and were presented at a luncheon at the Hyatt Regency Century Plaza Hotel. Among more than 250 nominees, Dial was honored for her contributions made through the Drollinger Family Charitable Foundation, according to the publication.

As managing director of the foundation, Dial has overseen the donation of nearly $2 million to local organizations in need since 2007. These donations are considered vital to such local organizations as Friends of the Ballona Wetlands, Westchester Family YMCA, and the Los Angeles Police Department Pacific Area Boosters Association.

The donations have funded organizations that help send children with cancer to camp, promote HIV/AIDS prevention programs, fight cancer, protect the environment, and provide mental health services to those in need.

Thanks in part to Dial and the foundation, underprivileged children have learned how to swim, the homeless have been connected to vital services that provide them with health care, food and shelter, and those with physical and developmental disabilities have received the modern, assistive technology they need to live a better life.

CHAMBERFEST

The LAX Coastal Area Chamber of Commerce will host its seventh annual ChamberFest from 4 to 8 p.m. Thursday, June 2 at Playa Vista’s CenterPointe Club, 6200 Playa Vista Drive.

ChamberFest is free and open to the public and showcases businesses, restaurants and nonprofit groups to the community. Attendees can learn about, interact with and network with exhibitors in a fun environment filled with music, food and raffles. The indoor/outdoor expo will include more than 60 booths, including one of the most popular aspects of the event: free food tastings from some area restaurants, including Cantalini’s Salerno Beach, Tony P’s Dockside Grill, Fresh Brothers Pizza and Teacups Tea Lounge.

“This is a great event for local businesses to showcase their products and services to the community,” chamber President/CEO Christina Davis said. “Every year, we have hundreds of people come through and learn something new about business and what is going on in their neighborhood.”

ChamberFest will also feature entertainment, a silent auction and giveaways. A raffle will take place throughout the event, which will include restaurant gift certificates and gift baskets.

There will be plenty of street parking available. For more information, please contact the LAX Coastal Area Chamber at (310) 645-5151.

EMPOWERTECH MOVES TO PARADISE

EmpowerTech, a Westchester-based nonprofit organization that provides computer training to persons with physical and developmental disabilities, is moving to a new, larger location at The Paradise Building, 9100 S. Sepulveda Blvd. in Westchester.

Unlike EmpowerTech’s current space, which features an open configuration, the new center will have private offices and training rooms that will allow the agency’s assistive technology specialists to work privately and in smaller groups with students.

“It will be enormously challenging and expensive to move an entire high tech facility without interrupting service to our students, but at the end of the day, this will be a major improvement for EmpowerTech,” Joan Anderson, EmpowerTech executive director, said. “To make this happen though, we need additional financial support to pay for the move. It is our hope that we can rely on the community to help us preserve this invaluable resource by making contributions to help offset our relocation costs.”

EmpowerTech was recently given a notice to vacate by June 30, when Dial, president of H.B. Drollinger Co., stepped in.

“When we learned about the tough spot in which EmpowerTech had been placed, we felt we had to get involved,” Dial said. “Our company has been part of the Westchester community for decades, and we feel an obligation to look out for our neighbors – especially for a neighbor like EmpowerTech which has done so much for our local community. We are pleased that we were able to come through for this incredible organization.”

In addition to financial assistance with the upcoming move, EmpowerTech is seeking donations of office furniture and equipment. Those interested in making a donation are asked to contact Anderson at (310) 338-1597 or via email at janderson@empowertech.org.

FOOD TRUCK INVASION

From the celebration of the First Friday of each month in the Westchester Triangle where food trucks line 87th Street from 4 to 8 p.m., to Gateway to Go, a collection of food trucks every Tuesday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the parking lot of the Crowne Plaza Hotel, food trucks are invading Westchester.

Now, Visitation School is getting into the act, too.

The Go Country 105 Chuck Wagon and The Grilled Cheese Truck will be just two of the 20 gourmet food trucks that will be serving dinner at school from 5 to 10 p.m. Friday, May 27.

The school is located at 8740 Emerson Ave., and free parking for the event will be available in the Westchester Emerson Adult School lot at 8810 S. Emerson Ave.

For children, the event will include an outdoor, big-screen showing of “Kung Fu Panda,” beginning at 8:15 p.m.

Go Country radio personality Shawn Parr and 13-year-old Jessica Leoni of Westchester are scheduled to kick off the country and line dancing in O’Sullivan Hall. A professional line dance instructor will be on hand to teach everyone some new steps, while a face-painter will be there to entertain the children.

For more information, including a list of trucks that will be participating, www.visitationschool.org.

ROTARY BINGOFEST

The Playa Venice Rotary Club will hold Bingofest at 6 p.m. Saturday, June 4 at the Boys & Girls Club of Venice, 2232 Lincoln Blvd. in Venice.

Net proceeds from the event will benefit the projects of the Playa Venice Sunrise Foundation and Boys & Girls Club of Venice.

“Early bird” admission, purchases before Tuesday May 31, is $35 per person and includes dinner. Admission after May 31 is $45 per person.

There will be a $100 cash payout per game, and a $500 payout for the final game.

The event will include a beer and wine bar, raffle, music and entertainment.

To purchase tickets or for more information, (310) 306-8525, or make checks payable to Playa Venice Rotary Foundation and mail to: 8117 Manchester Ave., #572, Playa del Rey, CA 90293.

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