Pictured left to right: Yoshimi Downer, Edward Downer III, Allie Downer,Don Lau, Katie Downer and E Michael Downer. Photo by Joe L. Fisher, Black American Political Action Committee.
By Kia Croom
Don Lau, Executive Vice President of the YMCA of the East Bay, announced the renaming of its Coronado Community Y facility (formerly Richmond Boy’s Club) to the E. M. Downer Family YWCA at a dedication ceremony on May 10.
The building dedication celebrates Edward M. Downer III, Chair Emeritus of the Mechanics Bank Board of Directors for continuing in the Downer Family legacy of philanthropy and civic involvement. The event marked 20 years of the Y providing services to the community.
A lobby display at the facility depicts the history of the Downer Family and Mechanics Bank in the community.
“After a fire destroyed the Richmond Boy’s Club in 1981, a community campaign was established to raise funds for a new building,” Lau said.
The campaign raised $1 million dollars including a major contribution of $400,000 from Chevron. After the campaign could not raise what was needed to complete the project, Mechanics Bank stepped up and loaned the Club over $400,000 and the new building was completed.
Over 150 guests attended the dedication event including Downer and wife Yoshimi, son E. Michael Downer and his daughters Allie and Katie, nephew Rick Nelson, Congressman George Miller, a representative from State Senator Loni Hancock’s office, Assemblymember Nancy Skinner, Supervisor John Gioia and City of Richmond Mayor Gayle McLaughlin.