Five Acres Presents Community Awards, Welcomes New Board Members

Five Acres announced its new board members and recognized its community award recipients at its 133rd Annual Meeting and Board Celebration recently. Hosting the virtual celebration, Five Acres honored community members and volunteers who were unable to be recognized last year due to the pivot to socially distance and work remotely because of the coronavirus.
These individuals have supported the charity’s mission in serving more than 9,000 children and families annually across six counties. The charity offers a full continuum of care for children and families in crisis, including foster care, adoption, deaf services, therapeutic residential care for foster youth and community-based mental/behavioral health programs.
The individuals and organizations recognized were:
Christianne Kerns with the Dorothy Cook Lifetime Achievement Award
Five Acres’ leadership and staff with the Five Acres Heart Award
Rustin Mork with the Volunteer of the Year Award
Susan McGuirl with the Person of the Year Award
Rotary Club of Pasadena with Special Service to Children
Kathryne Beynon Foundation with the Five Acres Award
L.A. County Board Supervisor Kathryn Barger with the Children’s Thanks
Rita and Armen Baranian with Special Awards
Five Acres also bid farewell to Kelley Bannon Lashley and Scott Street, board members who departed in 2020, and Sam Greenberg, who also served his tenure and departed this year. A Legacy Society member, Lashley chaired the Advancement and Planned Giving committees while galvanizing additional support for Five Acres; Street chaired the annual golf tournament three times while helping raise critical awareness; Greenberg provided his tax expertise as a presenter during his tenure.
The organization also welcomed three new board members: Dennis Duran, Bisi Ezeolu and Lance Polverini, who join the class of 2021. In addition, four board members who began their tenure in 2020 were recognized: Chantal Bennett, Mimi Carter, Jason Melillo and John Reitnouer.
Dennis M. Duran, a Pasadena resident, is the vice president of IT infrastructure and information security for SCAN Health Plan in Long Beach. In 2018, Duran and his wife, Lori, became foster parents through Five Acres to their two children whose adoption is in the process of being finalized.
Bisi Ezeolu is a partner in the law firm of Tucker Ellis LLP in downtown Los Angeles and joins the Five Acres board of directors after having served on its Human Resources Committee. Ezeolu and his wife, Marisa, live in Altadena.
Lance Polverini is a senior vice president and private wealth relationship manager with Merrill Private Wealth Management in Los Angeles. He is currently a partner on the Gray Team at Merrill Private Wealth Management/Bank of America, formerly the Private Banking and Investment Group. Born and raised in Pasadena, Polverini along with his wife, Amy, are active members in the community.
“While we are unable to celebrate in person, we honor, recognize and appreciate all of our wonderful awardees, departing board members, new board members, and new executive committee, who have been an asset to the impact and growth of Five Acres,” said Chanel Boutakidis, Five Acres chief executive officer. “This past year has been a challenging one yet the loyalty and commitment of those we recognize this evening have enabled us to continue focusing on the children and staff’s safety and well-being, while bringing loving, permanent forever families to children and youth in foster care.”
Since 1888, Five Acres has protected the most vulnerable members of our community: children. Serving more than 10,200 children and family members annually across six counties, Five Acres strives for permanency — a permanent, loving home — for all children in their care. The three pillars of safety, well-being and permanency provide the framework for its programs and guide their steps as the agency develops even more effective means of caring for children and families in crisis. To learn more, visit 5acres.org.