While some 20th anniversaries are celebrated with gifts of china or platinum, the passage of Proposition 10 that created First 5s in California in 1998 was marked on Nov. 9 by exchanging gems of progress, partnership and promise born of First 5 LA’s past two decades of work to improve the lives of young children and their families in Los Angeles County.
The anniversary event itself was steeped in history, drawing more than 150 invited guests to Pico House aside historic Olvera Street in downtown Los Angeles. Philanthropists and other partners, First 5 LA Commissioners past and present, elected representatives and government officials, grantees and other dignitaries celebrated amidst a backdrop of past accomplishments and an expert panel providing insights on the current state – and future – of early childhood.
Although actor/director/producer Rob Reiner was not in attendance, his presence loomed large in First 5 LA Executive Director Kim Belshé’s opening remarks, which were rich in gratitude for his launch of the voter-passed proposition that created the statewide network of First 5s.
“It was Rob Reiner who 20 years ago really stepped up in the effort to address what was being characterized as an inadvertent epidemic of neglect of our youngest children,” Belshé said. “Informed by that understanding, he launched Prop 10, which continues today as First 5 California, 58 county commissions and the Association of First 5s.”
In true cinematic fashion, Reiner provided his own reflections on the past two decades in a video that was shared at the event.