MONTEREY PARK —The Beth and Wilbur Woo Family Foundation has donated funds to help with the construction of the new buildings on MERCI’s 525 N. Chandler site in Monterey Park. The donation will support John and Mary’s Place, MERCI’s newly constructed group home for six people with developmental disabilities. The residence’s main meeting space, the Great Room, will be named in honor of the Beth and Wilbur Woo Family Foundation and family member Pamela, who is a MERCI client.
Long time Monterey Park residents Beth and Wilbur Woo established the foundation in 1999 to help non-profits in the area and to recognize volunteerism. For many years Beth Woo was a volunteer in the LAMP Literacy Program at the Monterey Park Bruggemeyer Library helping people to learn or to improve their English. In 2006 Beth Woo was awarded the library’s Harvey Elparin’s “Tutor of the Year” Award“The Woo family believes in MERCI’s mission,” the foundation said in a statement. “We are very happy for the opportunity to help the Merci community move closer to completing its fundraising goals and opening a residence that will fill a great need.”
Marta Escañuelas said in accepting the donation, “MERCI and all our clients really appreciate this donation. It will help be a big help in the campaign to raise $500,000 to restart the construction on the new classroom and administration buildings.”
. Wilbur Woo, who passed away in 2012, was Vice President of Cathay Bank. He immigrated to the United States from China in 1921 at the age of five and moved with his family to Monterey Park more than 50 years ago. Their son Michael Woo in 1985 became the first Asian American elected to the Los Angeles City Council. Beth and Wilbur Woo’s daughter, Pamela, has participated in MERCI’s day program since 2012.
Construction has stopped on the new classroom and administration buildings at MERCI’s 525 N. Chandler site in Monterey Park.
To restart the construction MERCI has to raise $500,000 to receive a loan from the Non-profit Finance Fund. With the donation from the Beth and Wilbur Woo Family Foundation MERCI has raised close to $100,000 in cash and pledges with $400,000 to go.