Margie & Robert E. Petersen Foundation Awards Hillsides $5 Million Grant for At-Risk Youth

Los Angeles, April 26, 2017 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The Margie & Robert E. Petersen Foundation has awarded Hillsides, a Southern California foster care charity, a $5 million grant for youth who are at risk, the largest grant ever received in Hillsides’ 104-year-old history. The gift will be used to support transition-aged youth ages 16-24 though an array of social, educational and mental health services. The needs of these youth include education, employment, housing, independent living skills, mental healthcare and peer support. 

In recognition of the gift, Hillsides will name the new 34,000 square-foot student center that is currently under construction on Hillsides main campus in Pasadena, CA the Margie & Robert E. Petersen Student Center.

 “Hillsides serves more than 1,400 transition-aged youth, and we are dedicated to leading new initiatives that advance housing, employment, and mental health services for Los Angeles County youth,” said Hillsides President and Chief Executive Officer Joseph M. Costa.  “We are overjoyed and incredibly appreciative of this historic gift that will allow us to provide a much-needed continuum of care for this vulnerable population.” 

 Hillsides serves transition-aged youth through its five core programs:  Bienvenidos Foster Care and Adoptions that provides home-based family care services; Hillsides Education Center, a nationally accredited therapeutic non-public residential and day school; Family Resource Centers, which offer community-based mental health services; Residential Treatment Services for children who are in foster care or cannot live at home for other reasons; and Youth Moving On, which offers housing services, workforce development and a Peer Resource drop-in center for transition-aged youth.

 The Margie & Robert E. Petersen Student Center will include new art and music studios, a large indoor gym and recreation room, a modernized kitchen and a spacious new dining commons built above a subterranean garage.  The center is part of a $17.1 million capital improvement project to update and re-imagine Hillsides’ Pasadena campus. Construction is expected to be completed by December 2018.   


 About Hillsides

Hillsides provides high quality care, advocacy, and innovative services that promote safe, permanent environments where children and youth can thrive. Headquartered in Pasadena, the agency and its affiliation with Bienvenidos serves 13,000 children and families in Southern California throughout its 33 sites, including school-based mental health offices in Los Angeles, Pasadena, and Baldwin Park. Foster care and adoptions services in approved resource family homes serve families in Los Angeles, Orange, San Bernardino and Riverside Counties. To learn more about both agencies, visit and Visit Hillsides on Facebook @hillsideschildren, on Twitter @Hillsides, or on Instagram @HillsidesPasadena.

Alison Bell


A photo accompanying this announcement is available at


A photo accompanying this announcement is available at

Left to right:  Petersen Foundation Director Kevin Strauch, Petersen Foundation President Galeta (Gigi)  Carleton, Hillsides President and Chief Executive Officer Joseph M. Costa, Hillsides Board Chair Donna Ford, and Donald  P. Clark, Hillsides Campaign Cabinet co-chair.

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