LA84 Foundation

On a sunny October morning, I had the chance to hold a surprisingly heavy Olympic torch replica at a beautiful venue on Adams Boulevard just west of Western at the corner of Gramercy. Although the site is only several blocks away from my dad’s home in West Adams, like many gems in this district, I'd never heard about it before and found out about it when my company booked it for a staff meeting. Lighting up the quiet courtyard of the historic Britt House is the steadfast Olympic flame maintained by the LA84 Foundation

DEC18la84The institution, previously known as the Amateur Athletic Foundation of Los Angeles until its name change in 2007, is committed to promoting youth sports in eight counties in Southern California, including awarding grants to sports programs, training coaches, commissioning research and maintaining an Olympic and sports library collection. Grant recipients include LA’s BEST, a program that helps students develop their physical and social skills through sports such as Falcons Youth & Family Services, a volunteer-driven tackle football and cheer organization serving youth in South Los Angeles; LAUSD’s Beyond the Bell Branch (BTB), which has been responsible for the operation and supervision of all K-12 before/after school programs districtwide; and P.F. Bresee Foundation, an LA84 grantee that offers after-school sports programs and leagues across Central and South Los Angeles. 

The private nonprofit organization has been located at the historic Britt House since it was created with surplus funding from Los Angeles’s 1984 Summer Olympic Games, one of three times the city has been selected to host the Olympiads: 1932, 1984 and 2028. 

Dec18la842 The existence of the foundation and its home in West Adams is a reminder of the advancements the city has pushed for each time it hosts the event. The Olympics have left their mark throughout the city, including the renaming of 10th Street to Olympic Boulevard, the first-ever Olympic village for visiting athletes and the introduction of corporate sponsorships to mitigate costs (including the McDonald's Olympic Swim Stadium sponsored by the fast food giant).

Since the 1984 Olympiads were the first without government funding, local businessman Peter Ueberroth formed the committee of entrepreneurs and business leaders that would become LA84. With sponsorships, private fundraising and unprecedented television deals, the committee raised funding in advance of the games, including a $225 million deal with ABC for broadcast rights. 

The efforts of the group led to a surplus of $232.5 million. Leading up to the games in 1978, Los Angeles voters decided with Proposition N that 60 percent of any surplus would go back to the U.S. Olympic Committee but 40 percent would stay in Southern California, leading to a $93 million endowment to create the nonprofit LA84. 

Dec18la843The Britt House is a Craftsman home located in what once was part of Rancho Las Cienegas, a Mexican land grant. The home was built for attorney Eugene Britt in 1910, who commissioned the design and construction in a desire to reflect his taste and position in his profession. Architect Alfred Rosenheim also designed the Hellman Building in the Old Bank District and the Second Church of Christ Scientist, also in West Adams. The Britt family lived in the house for about 10 years, then ownership moved through several families until Ueberroth (president of the committee that managed the 1984 Olympics) worked with First Interstate Bank to purchase it, restore it, and create a sports museum and library. First Interstate Bank donated the campus to the foundation, along with its collection of memorabilia, books and film. LA84 has maintained the library, which the University of Southern California calls one of the world’s most comprehensive sports collections. Today, the library is available on-site and online. 

The digital collection includes digital archives of reports, oral histories, sports articles and Olympic game history. The sports library is open Monday through Friday, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., excluding holidays. However, to visit the library, the foundation requires the completion and approval of an appointment form that includes contact information and the nature of the visit, whether it’s a group tour or a research activity. 

LA84  2141 W.Adams Blvd./Gramercy 323-730-4600


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Established in August of 2008 by writerartist Dianne V. Lawrence, The Neighborhood News covers the events, people, history, politics and historic architecture of communities throughout the Mid-City and West Adams area in Los Angeles Council District 10.

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