Los Angeles Business Journal

Taking Bigger Role in Casa

By Charles Crumpley Monday, May 6, 2013

When a non-profit that advocates for foster children lost its government funding, the group found a friend in Frank Addante.

The organization, commonly called Casa (for court appointed special advocates), pairs foster children with an adult mentor who offers them guidance and stability as they navigate the sometimes turbulent system.

Addante, founder of West L.A. ad tech firm Rubicon Project, has a longstanding relationship with Casa. His wife, Allison, has been a volunteer. When the two got married last year, they asked that guests make donations to the group in lieu of gifts.

But it was in 2010, when the local chapter of Casa lost its funding, that Addante took an even bigger role. He joined the board and along with other Casa directors actually funded the non-profit for a time.

“It was like launching a startup all over again,” Addante said. “But it was also a good opportunity to give back.”

Not only did the restructured Casa manage to get its finances upright, it doubled the number of children who are served by the organization.

Last week, Casa held a gala in Beverly Hills that honored Addante, his wife and their work for the non-profit. The event, which was hosted by actor Dax Shepard and featured a silent auction, was primarily a fundraiser with Casa receiving all the proceeds.

“Sometime when there’s a crisis it causes people to step up and do better. That’s exactly what happened here,” Addante said. “It’s been incredible to watch.”

Lawyer Was Framed

Irving Greines, founding partner of Miracle Mile law firm Greines Martin Stein & Richland LLP, has also found success as a fine arts photographer, with shows around the country.

His current exhibition, on view at Angel City Brewery in downtown Los Angeles, has been years in the making. It features shots he took of the same wall in eastern downtown’s arts district during the last decade.

He revisited the same location, at the American Hotel on Hewitt Street, almost every week for 10 years, making a total of about 400 or 500 trips. He documented the continual changes rendered by new posters, painting and graffiti.

“It was just a blaze of color,” he said. “This one wall was in constant flux and it expressed so much in terms of the people of the neighborhood’s feelings and their political views.”

Greines, 71, usually shot the wall on weekends, but he would sometimes take a detour before work and show up later than usual at Greines Martin, one of two major appellate law firms in Los Angeles. On those days, he would just stay at work later. It helps that he’s his own boss, too.

“There’s not a ‘late to work’ for me,” he said.

Staff reporters Tom Dotan and Alfred Lee contributed to this column. Page 3 is compiled by Editor Charles Crumpley. He can be reached at ccrumpley@labusinessjournal.com.