This past Friday I attended the 90th birthday party of a dear and longtime friend. His name is Ken Hofmann.
Many people in Concord do not know him, although they probably saw his name in the sports pages as the part-owner and silent partner of both the Seattle Seahawks and Oakland Athletics.
Being the "silent" partner has well-suited Ken since he eschews publicity of any nature, but he has been involved in our city in a most significant way, and I hope he will forgive me for this minor intrusion on his privacy.
I met Ken in 1968, and discovered he was involved in a number of philanthropic enterprises, always behind the scenes. When Concord embarked on a series of "In the Park" musical concerts and determined a pavilion was worth pursuing, I went to Ken and asked for a donation of land for such a venue. He gave us more than 100 acres and made our dream come true.
My wife and I were active in the then Mt. Diablo Hospital Foundation. When we wanted to build a state-of-the-art cancer center, Ken funded the project, a significant enhancement for those suffering from the disease.
I asked him to help us purchase a da Vinci Robotic Surgical System to allow for less invasive surgeries. He wrote the check for more than a million dollars.
When the John Muir Medical Center took over the Mt. Diablo Medical Center and designated it the Concord Campus of their system, they asked for help in building a new cardiac care high rise.
However, if Ken had done none of the above, what he did in endowing the Community Youth Center in Concord will stand as the finest example of local philanthropic giving at an extraordinary level.
The CYC is a nonprofit corporation that offers an unmatched operational model for youths, ages 3-18, to thrive in a dynamic and positive environment through sports and academics.
The CYC, located on Galaxy Court in Concord, opened in September 1995, to provide a place which challenges the youth of Concord and the surrounding communities.
Each year the CYC has continued to grow with more than 1,500 members, and each plateau has been mainly financed by Ken Hofmann.
In addition to the recreational and competitive sports programs, the capstone of the CYC is an Academic Excellence Center with highly qualified teaching professionals. When the two activities are combined, they help the members to manage their time effectively to become better students and athletes.
Along with the Academic Excellence Center, highly skilled coaches teach boxing, dance, gymnastics, judo, cheerleading, rhythmic gymnastics, taekwondo, wrestling and sport-specific conditioning.
There is a nominal membership fee of about one dollar a day, with a reduced rate for families with more than one child. More importantly, if a family cannot afford the fee, a scholarship program is available.
The CYC has a mission statement that deserves to be quoted: "Maintain an environment comprised of facilities, staff and volunteers that guarantees young individuals a chance to develop and grow in athletics, academics, and life. Deliver the service with a high level of structure, encouragement, support and discipline in a safe, rewarding and positive manner."
It is my fervent hope that many people not aware of the CYC, but who recognize the need for programs of this nature, will get involved and support the CYC to the best of their ability.
I am enormously grateful for Ken Hofmann's vision, elevating many disadvantaged young people, encouraging discipline among CYC members, and enhancing the lives of so many of our youth by providing the kind of environment essential to a successful life.
Happy 90th, Ken, and thank you. You keep making dreams come true.
Helix is the mayor of Concord. Email him at email@example.com.