Press Release

Portraits of Compassion Photography Exhibit Showcases Unsung Heroes of Los Angeles County

Press Release | March 6, 2016


LOS ANGELES – March 6, 2016 – We are pleased to announce the opening of a photography exhibit that elevates incredible stories of significant – yet unrecognized – contributions  across Los Angeles County and demonstrates how everyday individuals are creating social change.

Portraits of Compassion showcases 30 “Unsung Heroes” of Los Angeles County who are working to improve our region, with original photography by L.A.-based photographers Sam Comen, Stella Kalinina and Noé Montes. The exhibit opens today and will run through April 4, 2016 at LA Plaza de Cultura y Artes. The Unsung Heroes were nominated by the community and selected by the California Community Foundation (CCF) to uplift examples of people performing selfless acts that are making a positive impact in Los Angeles County.

Conceptualized and commissioned by CCF, the exhibit is a gift to Los Angeles County residents in celebration of the foundation’s 100 years of service to the region. The nation’s third-oldest community foundation, CCF was established as a permanent philanthropic resource to respond to the needs of our region, both now and in the future. Whether in the areas of housing, education, health, immigrant integration or the arts, CCF is committed to improving quality of life for all Angelenos.

“We want this exhibit to turn inspiration into action,” said Antonia Hernández, president and CEO of the California Community Foundation. “The Unsung Heroes teach us that acts of kindness, compassion, generosity and courage have a ripple effect that will multiply over countless lives.”

“Photography is a universal language that speaks to people from all walks of life,” said photographer Noé Montes. “The passions of these Unsung Heroes are as diverse as Los Angeles, and they are transforming our region for the better. By capturing these portraits, we wanted to convey that anyone can make a difference in their communities.”

The Unsung Heroes run the gamut from educators to farmers to cooks to activists. They are dedicated volunteers like Steve Danz, who pilots low-income patients to urgent medical appointments. They are social workers like Yasuko Sakamoto, who have founded institutions critical to our community’s well-being. They are compassionate people like Robert and Jeanne Segal, who have turned personal tragedy into triumph by helping others in need. A common theme to their actions is a deep desire to build a better Los Angeles.

The Unsung Heroes are:

  1. Daniel Adler, Long Beach Polytechnic High School
  2. Kaz Ando, AIDS Project L.A., Koreatown Youth and Community Center
  3. Damiek Barrow, Washington Preparatory High School
  4. Shaunelle Curry, Media Done Responsibly
  5. Steve Danz, Angel Flight West
  6. Sister Margaret Farrell, Covenant House
  7. Theresa Farthing, L.A. Kitchen
  8. Andrea Flores, The Beat Within
  9. Hayward Gray, Jr., People Coordinated Services Senior Center
  10. Isabel Guillen, Chavelyta’s Pink Hood
  11. Umar Hakim, ILM Foundation
  12. John Hwang, Skid Row Stories
  13. Ann Jackson, West Park Terrace Block Association
  14. Rebecca Joseph, and California State University, Los Angeles
  15. Gloria Lazalde, Proyecto Mariposa
  16. Jimmy Lizama, Re:Ciclos
  17. Mollie Lowery, Housing Works
  18. Eduardo “Lalo” Marquez, PIECES
  19. Mud Baron, John Muir High School Ranch
  20. Cynthia Mendenhall, Watts Neighborhood Advisory Council
  21. Sylvia Miller, CASA of Los Angeles
  22. Santiago Ortega, St. Francis Medical Center
  23. Kaci Patterson, Building Leaders and Cultivating Change (B.L.A.C.C.)
  24. Rosalie Portillo, Plaza de la Raza
  25. Michael Quill, L.A. Waterkeeper
  26. Yasuko Sakamoto, Little Tokyo Service Center
  27. Robert & Jeanne Segal,
  28. Harry Shabazian, Students Run L.A.
  29. Maria Sipin, Multicultural Communities for Mobility
  30. Wesley Walker, Jr., Los Angeles Community Action Network


Portraits of Compassion is open to the public free of charge through April 4, 2016 at LA Plaza de Cultura y Artes (501 N. Main Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012).

For more information, please visit and follow along on social media with #LAheroes.

About the California Community Foundation
The California Community Foundation is committed to improving the quality of life for all Los Angeles County residents by addressing the root causes of the county’s most urgent problems. The foundation has served as a public, charitable organization since 1915, empowering donors to pursue their own personal passions and to collaborate with us in transforming Los Angeles County. CCF stewards $1.5 billion in assets and manages nearly 1,600 charitable foundations, funds and legacies. For more information, please visit

About LA Plaza de Cultura y Artes
The mission of LA Plaza de Cultura y Artes is to celebrate and cultivate an appreciation for the enduring and evolving influence of Mexican and Mexican-American culture, with a specific focus upon the unique Mexican-American experience in Los Angeles and Southern California. LA Plaza is the nation’s premier center of Mexican American culture. Providing an experience unlike any other, LA Plaza’s interactive exhibits and dynamic programs invite visitors to explore, as well as contribute to, the ongoing story of Mexican-Americans in Los Angeles and beyond. For more information, please visit

Taleen Ananian
(213) 452-6203