Summer 2010

Frank Talk

Since 1926, our family has been involved with AbilityFirst. Founded by my dad and several fellow members of the Los Angeles Rotary Club in response to the polio epidemic, AbilityFirst continues to be important to the Lawry’s organization.

Lawry's CEO-president Richard R. Frank (far right), with Work Center director Peter Yoou and AbilityFirst president and CEO Lori Gangemi at the Lawrence L. Frank Center. Lawry's CEO-president Richard R. Frank (far right), with Work Center director Peter Yoou and AbilityFirst president and CEO Lori Gangemi at the Lawrence L. Frank Center.

Ever since Lawry’s began, we’ve actively participated in the civic groups and charities of the communities that house our restaurants.

Being a good neighbor is one of the principles of our company; in fact, it’s part of Lawry’s Code of Ethics. We believe companies have a responsibility to help their communities, to give something back rather than focusing solely on profits. My son Richard and I are lifelong volunteers and we encourage our co-workers to get involved in their communities, too, on behalf of their restaurants and as individuals.

companies have a responsibility to help their communities

As he did in so many aspects of my personal life and our company, my father set the example and led the way for our community service. Among many other charitable endeavors, in 1926, as polio epidemics devastated thousands of children and adults in America, my dad, along with several fellow members of the Los Angeles Rotary Club, founded the Crippled Children’s Society of Southern California.

my father set the example and led the way for our community service

He was elected its first president, and for the next 25-plus years was its go-to guy, getting the organization up and running and spearheading fund-raising efforts. In 1947, he was key in creating the society’s Camp Paivika in Crestline, CA.

It was one of the nation’s first accessible camps, enabling disabled children to participate in outdoor and recreational activities formerly believed to be beyond their capabilities. It continues to be one of the preeminent facilities of its kind in the country.

“An exceptionally well-run organization doing a challenging job in very challenging times.”

Today, 84 years later, the organization is still going strong. In 1999, it changed its name to AbilityFirst. At its 24 locations throughout Southern California, it offers a broad range of programs and services to help children and adults with physical and developmental disabilities reach their full potential through education and training, employment, accessible housing and recreational and social activities.

As my son, Richard, says, “It is an exceptionally well-run organization doing a challenging job in very challenging times.”

For three generations, my family has continued to serve AbilityFirst. Some years ago, in honor of my father, I founded the AbilityFirst Lawrence L. Frank Center in Pasadena, CA. I’m a long-time member of the organization’s board and a past vice president. My son is now vice chairman of the board and co-chair of the steering committee for AbilityFirst’s Gourmet Festival of Fall event coming up in October.

an organization that so meaningfully benefits so many in our community

Our efforts are truly a labor of love—we’re proud to play a role in the ongoing success of an organization that so meaningfully benefits so many in our community.

Richard and I would like you to know that the AbilityFirst Work Center (part of its employment program for disabled adults) has become Lawry’s new fulfillment house, packaging and shipping Lawry’s Seasoned Salt & Pepper gifts for Lawry’s VIP Rewards members as well as many of the products sold on our website.

We’d become dissatisfied with the quality of work done by our previous fulfillment house, so a committee of our co-workers interviewed possible successors and recommended AbilityFirst as best for the job. We’re happy to report they’re getting great reviews from those of you who order our products.

From the desk of Richard N. Frank

Illustration of two women clinking wine glasses together

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