Successful Local Businessman John D. (Jack) Jones Provides Vital Support to The Boys & Girls Clubs of Santa Monica For New Site at Mar Vista Gardens

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Jones donated $1 million to the Boys & Girls Clubs of Santa Monica for a new community branch located in the Mar Vista Gardens apartment complex.

Jack Jones philanthropist and real estate professional

All children deserve an opportunity to reach their full potential and modest beginnings need not limit opportunities for success. Our community’s future strength lies in the minds and actions of children.

The Jack and Cindy Jones Youth Center provides youngsters with a helping hand to achieve their dreams

John D. (Jack) Jones is a successful local real estate businessman committed to providing youngsters with a solid foundation to achieve their life goals. With the belief that every child deserves to realize their full potential, Jones donated $1 million to the Boys & Girls Clubs of Santa Monica for a new community branch located in the Mar Vista Gardens apartment complex.

Overcoming a modest beginning due to the guidance, values and influence provided by his parents, Jones recognizes that children not only need to have a safe place to live, but they need access to a positive learning environment to be successful. For the last 40 years, Jones has provided safe, secure, and well-managed apartment homes to local families at a fair price. With the establishment of the new Boys & Girls Club youth center in Mar Vista Gardens, he will provide opportunities and hope to thousands of children.

“We are very grateful for Jack’s support of this important endeavor,” said Boys & Girls Clubs of Santa Monica President and CEO Aaron Young. "Jack’s commitment of giving back to the Los Angeles community in this way is truly inspiring. The Mar Vista Gardens project would not be possible without Jack’s vision and dedication.”

“I believe the Mar Vista Gardens Boys & Girls Clubs site represents a safe, secure and positive learning environment for starting and keeping youngsters on the right path,” said Jones. “All children deserve an opportunity to reach their full potential and modest beginnings need not limit opportunities for success. Our community’s future strength lies in the minds and actions of children – they are our future.”

The Club’s newest branch - The Jack and Cindy Jones Youth Center - is located at 4901 Marionwood Drive in Mar Vista Gardens. Working with the Housing Authority of the City of Los Angeles, the facility will undergo a major refurbishment over the next few months and becomes the newest addition to the Santa Monica Boys & Girls Clubs’ community branches. The Youth Center will provide a range of recreational and educational resources for youth to enjoy that help youth achieve outcomes of academic success, good character & citizenship, and healthy lifestyles. A few years ago, when Jones learned about the Boys & Girls Clubs from his friend Cal Johnston, he knew his dream was to eventually open a club in Inglewood. After a couple of false starts, the opportunity did not materialize; but a new door opened in 2009 when he met Aaron Young, president of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Santa Monica. They established a great relationship and Jones has since served on the Club’s board of directors.

Last year, amidst City and County budget cuts, the stars aligned enabling Jones’s dream to come true with the chance to open a new Boys & Girls Club in Mar Vista Gardens. Rather than closing down the existing Community Center, the Housing Authority of Los Angeles solicited bids from non-profits to operate the facility for the benefit of the community. When the Boys & Girls Clubs of Santa Monica was selected, it created the perfect opportunity for Jones to fund the new club.

“I hope that my support for the Club will influence others to make similar investments in our communities,” Jones added. “Local executives have the means and desires to see the community’s children grow and prosper. My wish is for my own children and grandchildren to carry on our family’s tradition of investing in our community and supporting local kids.”

About John D. (Jack) Jones

Born in Scranton, PA, Jones grew up in Baltimore, MD and moved with his family to Thousand Oaks in 1964.

The family real estate business started small in Scranton with Jones’s grandfather owning and renting two houses. His father, John L. Jones owned three rental properties in Baltimore, before the move to California. As a child, Jones assisted his parents with property maintenance and repairs. As a young man, he aspired to owning his own business. He concluded that if he wanted to sit in the front at concerts and assumed, incorrectly, that those sitting in the front owned their own businesses.

Jack explored the possibilities of starting a variety of businesses, including an automobile dealership, a shirt rental enterprise and a Chinese buffet. But his thoughts always came back to income producing property.

From the age of 16, Jones always had a job during summers, weekends and after school and gained significant experience in a variety of fields. Jones graduated from UCLA in 1969 with a Bachelor’s degree in Mathematics with an unimpressive ‘C’ average. Because of his extensive work experience, he landed an excellent job with Garrett AiResearch as a scientific computer programmer in a difficult employment market.

Jones and his father managed apartment buildings for other owners until 1971, which proved to be a valuable learning experience. Then, while still working full time in aerospace and part time in real estate, Jones made his first investment in income property by buying a 10 per cent interest in a 28-unit apartment complex with his father and a family friend. Shortly thereafter, his father proposed that they both leave aerospace and pursue real estate opportunities full time, along with Jack’s mother Helen Jones, thus a new family business was formed: John L. Jones & Sons, Inc.

The syndication of their first property was a 24-unit apartment building in Westwood (which they still own). It was the first of many small investments and the beginning of direct involvement and commitment to local communities for the benefit of both residents and investors.

The partnership continued investing in apartment buildings and in 1978, a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity arose to purchase a 420-unit apartment complex in Baldwin Hills for a very attractive price. Jones knew he could refurbish the property and attract qualified renters who were looking for safe, well-run and well maintained housing at fair rental prices. For 35 years, the complex continued to perform exceptionally well, providing opportunities to acquire other buildings in niche communities. They added several large properties to their portfolio in the 1980’s.

Jones continues to retain ownership interest in numerous properties throughout Los Angeles County. He has owned the vast majority of his properties for over 25 years, bringing affordable housing and stability to those neighborhoods.

Currently, Jones assists his son John who manages the day-to-day operations of their firm, Greystone Management Group, located in Woodland Hills. They both continue to look for local investment opportunities in real estate.

Considering Jones’s grandfather’s modest beginnings with just two rental houses, Jones’s son is now the fourth generation of Joneses investing in property and continuing their heritage of involvement and commitment to local Los Angeles area communities, including Baldwin Hills, Canoga Park, Culver City, Hawthorne, Ladera Heights, Leimert Park, North Hollywood, South L.A and Van Nuys, among others.

About the Jack and Cindy Jones Youth Center at Mar Vista Gardens
Mar Vista Gardens has 62 buildings and 601 apartments, housing about 600youth 6-18 years of age who are eligible to join the Club. The Jack and Cindy Jones Youth Center provides services to Mar Vista Gardens youth during non-school hours, where they can receive tutoring, develop social skills, have access to technology, participate in sports and healthy lifestyle programs, and leadership & community service projects. The Club also offers adults open gym and aerobics classes from 7-9 pm and on Saturdays from 3-5pm after the kids go home.

Programs are offered in character and leadership, education and careers, health and life skills, the arts, sports, fitness and recreation as well as specialized initiatives all designed to give youngsters an edge.

About The Boys & Girls Clubs of Santa Monica

Founded in 1944, Boys & Girls Clubs of Santa Monica currently serves approximately 8,000 youth through memberships and community outreach. They come from all over Los Angeles County, largely from Santa Monica, Culver City, Venice, West Los Angeles and Inglewood. Members pay a $20 annual fee for access to all Club amenities and programs that span across education, leadership, recreation and more. The Club operates with the objective of serving children from all backgrounds, regardless of economic circumstances – ensuring that youth ages 6 to 18 have a safe and nurturing environment to develop socially, succeed in school, stay physically active and prepare for positive futures. In the past 6 months, we have added 3 more sites – at Olympic High School, Broadway Community Corporation Housing, and Mar Vista Gardens. The Boys & Girls Clubs of Santa Monica now has 8 sites in and around Santa Monica, and plans to open 2 more sites in 2013. For more information, visit us at http://www.smbgc.org, or follow us on Facebook (facebook.com/smbgcfan) and Twitter (twitter.com/SMBGC).

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Agnes Huff, PhD
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