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The City Club Los Angeles is the hub of financial and social diversity

One of the first private clubs to welcome African Americans and women

Jason Lewis | 2/27/2014, midnight

The City Club Los Angeles has old money, as many of the long time heavy hitters of this city frequent the upscale establishment. The City Club also has new money, as the average age of its members is in the mid 40s. But most importantly, The City Club has diverse money, as it has attracted Black people and women since the day it opened in 1989.

Former Mayor Tom Bradley became a member because the club offered membership to African Americans during a time where most private clubs were still accepting White men only. He was attracted to the club because it did not have a record of discrimination, and he became a member of the board of directors. The conference room at the City Club’s new location on Flower St. and 5th St. is named after him.

“It was fabulous having him here,” said City Club General Manager Larry Ahlquist. “He was the last mayor, that I think, really had a great vision for Los Angeles. We’re still building rail because of him.”

Former Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors Yvonne Brathwaite-Burke is currently on the board of directors at the club, and Troy S. Jenkins, an African American investor, is the chairman of the board. The City Club is truly a place where race or gender does not stop a person from maximizing the benefits of being a member of a club of this nature.

“It has a broad base appeal,” Ahlquist said. “You can do social, you can do business, you can do cultural. All of the things that you really want to combine in L.A.”

For years the club occupied the 55th floor of the Wells Fargo Building on Bunker HIll, but now it sits on the 51st floor of the City National Bank. Upon entering the club, various districts of Downtown are prominently featured. Within the lobby’s photo display, there is a picture of Biddy Mason, who was born a slave, walked to Los Angeles, became a free woman, and went on to become a real-estate entrepreneur. She was also a founding member of First African Methodist Episcopal (F.A.M.E) Church.

The club offers business and social networking, fine dining, and special events for its members. Members have access to meeting rooms, and can host events at the venue.

Club member Raymond Kyser recently hosted a Founders Day Brunch for Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc, Mu Sigma Lambda Chapter (Culver City). More than 100 people were treated to the high-class event, and were able to take in the breathtaking views of Los Angeles that the club offers. For Kyser, his experience at the club has been great.

“I’ve been a member of the City Club for three years,” Kyser said. “For me it’s a social outlet as well as conduit for business.

“I’ve been involved in the wine and spirits committees, breakfast club and business alliance committee. The City Club is diverse and accepting. This is why I maintain the membership. I’ve used it in D.C., Detroit, Houston, Seattle and San Diego.”

Through the club’s parent company, ClubCorp, members have access to clubs, hotels, and restaurants in nearly every major city around the world.

For more information on the City Club Los Angeles visit the organization’s website at www.clubcorp.com/Clubs/City-Club-Los-Angeles.