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Community Recognition Award Goes To Tom Safran – Resident, Business Owner, And Servant Leader

Tom Safran, 70, will be recognized for his contributions to the area at the Brentwood Centennial Plus-10 celebration Saturday, Jan. 23 from 6:30 to 10 pm at the Luxe Sunset Boulevard Hotel. Anyone who lives or works in Brentwood is invited, with invitations going out via email in early December. Courtesy photo.
Tom Safran, 70, will be recognized for his contributions to the area at the Brentwood Centennial Plus-10 celebration Saturday, Jan. 23 from 6:30 to 10 pm at the Luxe Sunset Boulevard Hotel. 

There has never been a time Tom Safran has said “no” to Brentwood. When he sees a piece of trash on the sidewalk, he picks it up. When he sees a school in need of a playground or a garden, he supplies it. And when he sees graffiti or garbage that the City won’t clean, he underwrites it.

It’s why the Brentwood Community Council (BCC) handpicked Safran, a resident and businessman of 30 years in 90049, as recipient of the Community Recognition Award. Nervously modest but deeply appreciative, Safran hesitated to talk about the “model citizen” award, stressing the reasons he contributes to the community (and it has nothing to do with praise).

“If you live in a community, than why not get involved, why not give back? I don’t know any other way to be,” Safran said. “I always believe that we should participate in our community and give back. And I live by a motto of, “If not now, when, if not us, who?”’

The 70-year-old is chairman and founder of Thomas Safran & Associates, a Brentwood-based company specializing in developing affordable housing and mixed use for family and seniors around Los Angeles. It’s something Safran has been doing since 1959. He even arranged housing in one of his buildings for Wendell Brown, “Brentwood’s Uplifting Poet” known for selling his poetry and interacting with residents in front of Vicente Foods.

But for those who don’t know of Safran, they know of his tacit civic offerings. Safran was involved in Brentwood Green, a variety of small gardens on the Brentwood Magnet Campus, which he continues to enhance with donations for maintenance. On the same campus he donated the Safran Playground.

He has underwritten a survey to categorize all trees in Brentwood public space, along with his generous contributions to saving the coral trees. He led the charge to eliminate advertising on benches; the benches he also donates where needed. He even has benches and containers cleaned of graffiti. And when the City would not collect trash on San Vicente Boulevard because it is a Specific Plan area, Tom has footed the bill to do so.

There’s no project too big or too small for Safran. He regularly hosts political candidates in his home, “and I always to the best of my ability do it so people can come and not pay,” he said.

His next event will hear from Loretta Sanchez (D-Calif.) on Sunday, Nov. 15.

Hailing from Chicago with a Bachelor’s degree from Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut and an MBA from UCLA, Safran came to fall in love with Brentwood on a casual trip to attend his good friend’s wedding in Los Angeles. They put him up in a house in Brentwood one sunny weekend in September of 1969. After he left on Sunday, he put in for a transfer at the Department of Housing and Urban Development, and 11 months later in October he moved to L.A. He would establish his own company in 1974.

“It was always in my mind – one day I’ll live in Brentwood,” he remembered.

Civic-minded with ardor for social justice, Safran has volunteered in his community serving on local boards such as homeowners associations in Brentwood and Bel Air, 15 years on the San Vicente Design Review Board, chair of the San Vicente Improvement Association, treasurer of Brentwood Green, and business representative on the BCC. He is also a founder of both the Museum of Contemporary Art and on the Board of The Music Center of Los Angeles County.

Safran credits his servant leadership to the ethos of the Baby Boomers.

“When we graduated college, we were committed to environment, stopping the Vietnam War – we were committed to making a difference in the world,” he said. “We were much more committed to our community and the world, and we thought we can make a difference.”

Brentwood would say Safran has made that difference.

The BCC will honor Safran at the Brentwood Centennial Plus-10 celebration Saturday, Jan. 23 from 6:30 to 10 pm at the Luxe Sunset Boulevard Hotel. Anyone who lives or works in Brentwood is invited, with invitations going out via email in early December.

With Toscana donating wine, Baltaire and Coral Tree Café donating food, and local schools singing, the Centennial Plus-10 will merge business, organizations, and residents for a night of community recognition and celebration, with the theme of “green” after its environmentally-driven honoree. There will be a live auction, cocktail hour, live music, take-home succulents from Fleurish, and appearances from various elected public officials.

For more information about the Brentwood Centennial Plus-10, email info@brentwoodcommunitycouncil.org.

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