‘We Give Thanks’ Founder Frank Garcia to be Honored as Americana Man of the Year at 36th Annual Awards

Marc S. Posner
Friday, January 07, 2011
Anaheim restaurant owner and philanthropist Frank Garcia is being honored as the Man of the Year at the Cypress College Foundation’s 36th Annual Americana Awards. The Americana Awards, sponsored by Union Bank, N.A., will be held on Saturday, February 26, 2011 in the Disneyland Hotel’s Grand Ballroom.

The owner of La Casa Garcia Mexican Restaurants in Anaheim, Garcia is known as an altruistic businessman who serves those who are less fortunate through his “We Give Thanks” organization.

Well known in the community for his generosity and gifts to the less fortunate, Garcia established We Give Thanks in 1985 with a mission “to promote the health and well being the of needy community members of the Orange County and Los Angeles communities and, thereby make a substantial contribution to their quality of life.”

Garcia has hosted annual Thanksgiving dinners — first at his restaurant, and for the past 5 years at Honda Center — for those in need. An estimated 20,000 people attended the 2010 We Give Thanks, which has served a quarter-million people during its 24-year history.

For the last six years, he celebrates the Christmas season with the Marine Corps’ Toys for Tots to see that needy children receive a toy. Garcia has also extended himself by adopting 28 children from an orphanage in Tijuana, providing clothes, school supplies, and food, when needed.

As a response to the devastation of Hurricane Katrina, Garcia and his crew wanted to assist those who were victims. They were directed by authorities to Corpus Christi, TX. He raised $8,000, and recruited 12 chefs to join him. They spent two weeks feeding breakfast, lunch, and dinner for 700 people living in a shelter.

In the midst of all of his activities, Garcia says, “The main thing in life is to have a family.” Garcia and his wife, Silvia, have five children and nine grandchildren.

The Americana Awards are the single-largest fundraiser for Cypress College and represent a primary source of funding for the Cypress College Foundation, which funds a variety of projects including student scholarships and other special projects.

Tickets for the Americana Awards are available from the Cypress College Foundation for $225 per person with various sponsorship levels also available. Information is available by calling (714) 484-7126 or at http://www.CypressCollege.edu or http://www.Facebook.com/AmericanaAwards. The evening begins at 5:30 p.m. with no-host cocktails and a silent auction. Dinner is served at 7 p.m.

In addition to the Man of the Year presentation to Garcia, the America Awards salute citizens of the year from the eight cities in the college’ primary service area. Citizens of the Year are: Patricia Pina, Anaheim; Diana Scheerhorn, Ph.D, Buena Park; Frann Shermet, Cypress; Pat Halberstadt, Garden Grove; Ron and Elfriede MacIver, La Palma; Alice B. Jempsa, Los Alamitos/Rossmoor; James C. Caviola, Seal Beach; and Sandra Stubban, Stanton.

In July, 2010, Union Bank, N.A., strengthened its partnership with Cypress College, agreeing to serve as the title sponsor of the 2011, 2012 and 2013 Americana Awards. Union Bank has a long-standing leadership role at the college with representation on the Cypress College Foundation Board of Directors. Union Bank’s three-year commitment to Cypress College totals $75,000.

For more information about the Americana Awards, please call the Cypress College Foundation office at (714) 484-7126 or visit: http://www.cypresscollege.edu/about/Foundation/.

About Cypress College:

Cypress College has motivated the minds of students since 1966. For nearly a half-million people — including actors, athletes, doctors, executives, mechanics, nurses and teachers — Cypress College has been a springboard to their dreams. For some, Cypress College is the ticket into their university of choice and for others it provides essential training for a rewarding career. Just one Cypress College class is often all it takes to provide cutting-edge skills that lead to a promotion or a new job.

Cypress College’s 16,500 students and the highly qualified teaching faculty are proud of the many excellent academic and vocational programs. Cypress College offers 58 university-transfer majors, 145 career-certificate programs, and degrees in 55 areas of study. The college’s traditional semesters begin in January and August, while short-term courses start throughout the year. A Cypress College education costs just $26 per unit — just $78 for a typical, full-credit class — California’s lowest tuition. Financial aid and scholarships also are available to qualifying students.

Cypress College is one of three campuses in the North Orange County Community College District and a member of the 110-campus California Community College System. The college primarily serves the cities of Anaheim, Buena Park, Cypress, Garden Grove, La Palma, Los Alamitos, Seal Beach and Stanton. Michael J. Kasler is the president.

Located at 9200 Valley View Street in Cypress, the college is easily accessible from several Southern California freeways, including the 5, 91, 605, 22 and 405. The campus is just a stone’s-throw from Downtown Disney and Knott’s Berry Farm.

More information about Cypress College is available by calling (714) 484-7000 or by visiting the campus Web site at http://www.CypressCollege.edu.

About UnionBanCal Corporation & Union Bank, N.A.:

Headquartered in San Francisco, UnionBanCal Corporation is a financial holding company with assets of $84 billion at June 30, 2010. Its primary subsidiary, Union Bank, N.A., is a full-service commercial bank providing an array of financial services to individuals, small businesses, middle-market companies, and major corporations. The bank operated 396 banking offices in California, Oregon, Washington and Texas as well as two international offices, on June 30, 2010. UnionBanCal Corporation is a wholly-owned subsidiary of The Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ, Ltd., which is a subsidiary of Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group, Inc. Union Bank is a proud member of the Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group (MUFG, NYSE:MTU), one of the world’s largest financial organizations. Visit www.unionbank.com for more information.