Kent’s Lopez Center plans fund-raising dinner Sept. 16

The financial challenges continue for the Lucy Lopez Community Center in Kent.

Lourdes Carrillo

Lourdes Carrillo

The financial challenges continue for the Lucy Lopez Community Center in Kent.

Roberto Gonzalez and Raul Ramos, co-founders of the center, hope to get help from the community at a fund-raising dinner from 5-9 p.m. Friday, Sept. 16 at the ShoWare Center. Tickets are $50 for the dinner that will be provided by the arena’s food and beverage service.

Ramos said Sept. 16 was picked for the dinner because it’s Mexican Independence Day, when Mexico celebrates its freedom from Spanish rule.

“It’s a way to give us additional operating funds,” Ramos said about the dinner. “It’s one of our many efforts to raise funds.”

The center opened in 2008 in a converted home at the southwest corner of Washington Avenue and James Street. The center is a nonprofit cultural and education facility set up to serve a growing Hispanic population as well others in the city through English classes, citizenship classes and other services.

But officials closed the center in June because of a lack of funds. The center plans to reopen Sept. 19.

Ramos and other volunteers are working to redo the center’s floors, heating system and Internet. They also plan to paint the outside of the facility.

“We are mounting fundraisers through corporate sponsorships and trying to seek grants,” said Ramos, who has talked to several companies about helping to fund the center.

Businesses can help sponsor the dinner with donations of $5,000, $3,000, $1,000 or $500.

“This event will raise critical funding to expand our services,” Gonzalez said in a letter to help raise money for the center. “The most important task is to fund a job training program. We have already received substantial monetary support from the state and currently own a 1.3-acre parcel in Kent (next to the center) that will house our future facility and expansion of services but we can’t do this without your help.”

Ramos said raising funds has been a tough challenge.

“This economy has been devastating not only for private businesses but for non-profits,” Ramos said. “But we’re optimistic.”

Anyone interested in buying tickets for the dinner or a sponsorship table can call Gonzalez at 253-282-4174 email or go to and use PayPal.

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