This month we highlight Five Acres supporter and 2015 Gala Chair Sue McGuirl.

Sue is a Senior Director for Fireman’s Fund Entertainment Insurance, a company of Allianz, and has been in the insurance business for thirty years. Sue works on insurance for touring entertainers, live events, film and TV. She was once a figure skating coach and coached synchronized team skating for many years. In her interview below, Sue shares with us how she was first introduced to Five Acres and the ways her involvement has grown over the last few years.

FA: How did you get introduced to Five Acres?

SM: I was transferred from Connecticut to Los Angeles about six years ago. Our neighborhood friend, Michele Hall, introduced me to Five Acres. She invited Bob and me to the Swingin’ on a Star Gala. It was one of my first fundraisers for Five Acres. Shortly after, I joined my first committee for the Grace Center Fashion Show. After that, I had a tour of the main campus and ultimately joined the Program Committee.

FA: How has your commitment and relationship with Five Acres evolved since first getting introduced?

SM: It has evolved! After touring the campus – at Christmastime in 2011 – I knew Five Acres was a special place and I wanted to be part of it. I was most inspired during one of my first Program Committee meetings when I met the director of the Five Acres Therapeutic School, Monique Baca-Geary. She showed us around the school and explained how the school offers an intense therapeutic learning environment for children K-10 with academic, emotional, and behavioral issues. As Monique described her 20-plus year commitment to Five Acres I could see her passion, drive, and pure love for her students and her team. It was overwhelming. It was that day I decided this was a place I wanted to support, not only for the children, but for the staff who support Five Acres’ mission.

FA: What’s next for you and your involvement with Five Acres?

SM: For the next several months my primary focus for Five Acres will be with the Sponsorship Committee for the 2015 Voices for Five Acres gala. Our committee convenes in mid-January and the team is revved up to raise money and awareness for Five Acres – all while having fun! We have a wonderful committee this year already, and we welcome more people if anyone is interested. Any amount of time, talent or treasured donations will help make the gala successful. I am truly amazed by the generosity of all the people who work so hard to make these events spectacular. This year’s gala is no exception!

FA: Would you like to reflect on your service to Five Acres?

SM: Personally, I am overwhelmed at the commitment of so many volunteers and staff members. Their passion is contagious! I hope to be able to keep that momentum going and work to support the volunteers and staff as they strive toward ensuring every child has a safe, loving, and permanent family solution.

Thank you for a wonderful year! 2014 has been a pivotal year for Five Acres because we launched our new permanency campaign to find permanent family solutions for 20,000 children by the year 2020. We believe every child deserves a loving, permanent family. It’s because of you that Five Acres has served more than 8,400 children and family members this year and your support continues to help us grow. Thank you for making a difference in the lives of children in our community.

Please enjoy this collage of photos celebrating 2014!

Cheers to the incredible impact we have made together this year and to all we will accomplish for our children and families in the years to come. Thank you for supporting Five Acres!


Christine Davis was introduced to Five Acres in the late 1980s by her mother-in-law, Sylvia, who had been involved with the agency’s Auxiliary group since the early 60’s.  “I learned then that the work being done by Five Acres was fundamental to impacting the scourge of child abuse and neglect,” says Christine. As we approach the holidays, we talked with Christine about her 25+ years with the Five Acres community and how the experience has impacted her personally.

FA: The holiday season is upon us! What are you thankful for related to your work with Five Acres?
CD: I am thankful for every person I have met there. They truly inspire me. I am thankful for each staff person who is working with every child and family. The job is stressful, requiring significant strength and commitment. They are doing the hard work and their efforts do make a difference!  My personal support of time and charitable gifts and that of my company are little to supply the air beneath their wings, but all of our “littles” do make a big difference and enable Five Acres to directly help children and families in need. I am thankful for that.

FA: How have you participated at Five Acres over the years?
CD: I started by joining the Auxiliary and became president of that group in 1994. We took on fundraising events and volunteer projects with the children, especially the Group Home, which was very gratifying. Eventually I joined the Board and held a variety of positions over the years, including Board Chair from 2006-2008. I have served on and chaired many committees, and today am on the Board Affairs Committee and am honored to be an Ambassador for the agency.

FA: That’s quite a history of involvement. Does any experience stand out?
CD: The most rewarding experience I ever had was with a young man who formerly lived in one of the Group Homes. He was buying his first car and needed someone by his side, a kind of “passage moment” to be shared with a caring parent. I remember loving him from the moment I carved a Halloween pumpkin with him at the Group Home, so volunteered to help. I met him at the dealer and we went through all of the paperwork to make sure he could pay the small loan and build a positive credit history, which he would need in life. Later, Five Acres told me he stopped by with his car to thank them and said he was taking his daughter to the zoo for the first time. That trip to the zoo with a father and daughter showed how Five Acres helped this young man overcome his circumstances, and that the next generation was also a benefiting.

FA: What a wonderful story. It sounds like you’ve found many ways to support the agency and its work.
CD: Yes, I have also gotten my company involved. I work at Union Bank and banks, like many other companies, want to give back to the communities where they do business.  For the 13 years I have worked there, Union Bank has contributed to each Five Acres annual event with a sponsorship.  The company also has a Matching Gift program. I submit receipts of my personal contributions for a 2/3 match, amplifying my own giving. Many companies offer similar programs.  I would encourage all to inquire at their employer and ensure their gifts are matched.  If your employer doesn’t offer matched giving, please champion the initiation of such a program.  It is a valuable benefit that strengthens an employee’s tie to a “company that chooses to give back to its community.”

FA: What do you wish for Five Acres?
CD: I wish all Five Acres children and families, past and present, a stronger connection this holiday season. May they achieve personal empowerment and live into a positive future.

(Tuesday, November 18, 2014, Altadena, CA ) Community members and friends of Five Acres are invited to attend the Annual Holiday Open House on Thursday, December 4th, 2014 in Altadena.

The heartwarming event kicks off with carolers from Maranatha High School, a harpist, a vocal quartet from the Jet Propulsion Lab and features a string quartet playing cheerful holiday music from the Pasadena Symphony and POPS’ “Random Acts of Music” program.


The evening will hold a holiday sing-along with Five Acres supporter and actor Ann Cusack and a very special storytelling with actor Jane Kaczmarek.


The event is open to the public and includes festive libations, scrumptious appetizers and an ongoing tour of Five Acres’ main campus.


During the holiday season, Five Acres asks the community for support of its annual Toy Drive, a holiday initiative that grants holiday wishes for the children in residence and the hundreds of community-based families who rely on our support. Each year, Five Acres hopes to make the holidays a little more joyful for our children and families.


Your unwrapped toy donations can be delivered to Five Acres between December 1and December 12, M-F/ 6:00pm and SAT 9:00a.m. to 3:00p.m.


This year, Five Acres is asking interested donors and corporate partners to consider becoming a Cottage Angel. Your gift of $500.00 sponsors holiday beautification for one of the residential cottages or group home. This contribution will provide a holiday tree, ornaments, home accents like garland, stockings and wreaths for ten children living in our residential treatment center.

For more information on ways to give the gift of hope this season to Five Acres children and families please contact Volunteer Coordinator, Susan Lowe at 626.773.3751 or


For additional inquiries, please call Director of Communications Rebecca Haussling at or 626-773-3809 or go to






About Five Acres

Five Acres is a child and family services agency strengthening families and preventing child abuse through treatment and education in community-based and residential programs. Established as an orphanage in 1888, today Five Acres offers an array of services including community-based services, residential treatment, foster care and adoption, supporting the nearly 8,400 children and families in five counties, including Los Angeles.

(Wednesday November 12 – Altadena, CA ) – Five Acres hosted a launch event Thursday November 6 at the Armory Center for the Arts to announce its 20,000 By 2020 Campaign and unveil the artistic representation of more than 20,000 children currently in foster care, in Los Angeles; a sculpture named Boy 5A. Boy 5A was revealed by actor and longtime Five Acres supporter, Sam Jaeger (Parenthood.)

Five Acres acknowledged and thanked corporate sponsors including “foster” families Pacific Oaks College, Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith, Inc/Bank of America, Langham Huntington Hotel, Jones Coffee, The Factory Hair & Makeup Studio and California Bank & Trust.

Boy 5A has found a permanent, loving home with Berkshire-Hathaway HomeServices Foundation after they agreed to purchase Boy 5A and keep him on display in one of their Southern California real estate branches.


Likened to the Cow on Parade in Chicago and the Community of Angels Project in LA, Boy 5A is designed to educate the public on the crisis that is the current foster care system. Five Acres’ goal is to help raise awareness and create a sense of urgency for the more than 20,000 children currently living in the foster care s in Los Angeles.

Of the over 400,000 children across the nation in foster care, nearly 61,000 are in the state of California and of that number a third live in the city of Los Angeles. We need to act swiftly to expand the pool of potential adoptive parents for these children in crisis. The hope is that Boy 5A will trigger action and more potential foster  and adoptive families will step up and make the commitment to either foster or adopt.

Boy 5A will be on display in the seven corporate partners’ public spaces, lobbies, courtyards and offices over a seven week span; representing the many homes and adjustments a foster child experiences while in care.   Capturing the joy and hope of the children, Boy 5A will help Five Acres drive home the message that children in foster care are just that –  children – with the same basic needs as any of their peers.
The public phase of Boy 5A kicked off last week at the Armory event and he will remain on public view until the first week of January 2015 when Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices “adopts” him and thus culminating the Five Acres permanency campaign, tied to National Adoption Awareness Month.

Boy 5A Schedule:

California Bank and Trust, Pasadena – November 11-18

Merrill Lynch/B of A in DTLA (near Staple Center) November 18- December 1

Pacific Oaks College, Pasadena December 1-December 15

Jones Coffee, Pasadena – December 15-December 22

Langham Huntington Hotel December 22 – January 4, 2015



For more information please go to  or contact Director of Communications, Rebecca Haussling at 626-773-3809.



About Five Acres:

Five Acres is a child and family services agency strengthening families and preventing child abuse through treatment and education in community based and residential programs. Established as an orphanage in 1888, today Five Acres offers an array of services including community-based services, residential treatment, foster care and adoption, supporting the nearly 8,400 children and families in five counties, including Los Angeles.


Five Acres hosts Taste of Tuscany, a benefit dinner held at Claud & Co Eatery, raises funds for programs and services

(Altadena, CA) October 28, 2014 – Five Acres supporters gathered for the 3rd annual Taste of Tuscany on October 19th benefit dinner held at Claud & Co The Eatery. It was an intimate gathering among new and old friends; many who have either been to Italy or are visiting in the near future and most importantly, have a passion for delicious food and wine and supporting Five Acres.

Read More

Five Acres Residential Therapeutic Program Collaborates with Piece By Piece instructor Leigh Adams to construct and design large mosaic artistic globes. Proceeds from the sale of the globes benefit Five Acres

October 22, 2014 – (Altadena, CA ) Piece by Piece instructor and mosaic artist Leigh Adams and her colleague Bea Jones, a retired psychiatric social worker, worked with our children through a special grant from the Marion Brucker Legacy Trust via Piece by Piece, which helped bring mosaic artistry to inner-city youth.

Read More

Five Acres Annual Golf Tournament and “Supper at the Speakeasy” Raises over $250,000 for programs and services

(PASADENA, CA) – Five Acres annual golf tournament and “Supper at the Speakeasy” event, held at the Annandale Golf Club in Pasadena on Monday, September 29th raised over $250,000 for children and families in crisis throughout Los Angeles. More than 100 golfers had a gorgeous day of golf and nearly 200 guests enjoyed a prohibition-themed dinner, live jazz music by the Cat’s Pajama’s, a silent and live auction all while raising money for Five Acres programs.

Read More

Five Acres hosted its golf classic at the Annandale Golf Club on Monday, September 29, 2014. The annual event which raises money for Five Acres various programs had over one hundred twelve golfers and Tesla Motors as our hole-in-one partner. Golfers enjoyed complimentary test drives and after a full day of golf, guests enjoyed a speakeasy-themed cocktail reception and dinner party.