Paul Wetmore

2018 Catalyst Award Finalist

Al Wooten Jr. Heritage Center
Merrill Lynch

When Paul Wetmore became the Chairman of the Board at the Al Wooten Jr. Heritage Center in 2008, the organization’s outlook was bleak. Board members were leaving the organization, bills were piling up and leaders were seriously considering shutting the center down. Paul was instrumental in turning this struggling organization around — so much so that FY 2017 ended with a $250,000 surplus. As Board Chair, Paul recruited new leadership to improve financial reporting and an attorney to update bylaws. Education leaders from UCLS, USC and Pepperdine were recruited to join the board and improve educational programs. New grant funding flowed in thanks to these changes, allowing the organization to issue student grants for members who went on to attend college. Paul’s vision and commitment to the Al Wooten Jr. Heritage Center kept the doors open and ensured that 350 students could continue receiving college readiness activities such as homework help, tutoring, SAT-prep, STEM and performing arts. Paul is currently directing a capital campaign to improve facilities at the Center and he continues to host an annual luncheon at the Los Angeles Athletic Club for students who test at grade level in English or Math.