Laurence Richards is an amazing friend to United Way of Greater Los Angeles and to our Los Angeles community as a whole. He brings his full energy to everything he does, which is noteworthy because his commitments are vast — Laurence is Vice Chair of United Way’s Tocqueville Society, Founder of The Park co-working space, and Founder/Chief Investment Officer of The Legacy Road Group.
Always generous with his time, Laurence sat down with us for our first Donor Spotlight Q&A.
You have a long history with United Way of Greater Los Angeles. How did you initially get involved with the organization? What inspired you to take a leadership position as a cabinet member for Tocqueville Society?
My passions have always been in education and community. Being a native to Los Angeles, I was looking for an organization that truly makes an impact on the citizens of Los Angeles. I believe that United Way’s commitment to Los Angeles, in particular in education, homelessness, and poverty, is inspirational. After initially joining as a member of the Tocqueville Society, Caroline Nahas encouraged me to become a part of the Tocqueville Society Cabinet, because she believed it would provide me with a wonderful opportunity to impact United Way and the larger Los Angeles community. She was right.
Was there an event -- international, national or personal -- that propelled you into your career or path of service?
After working on Wall Street, I was fortunate to meet an exceptionally successful businessman and philanthropist who hired me to manage his family’s diverse business and investment interests and to form a family office. Serving as the Chief Investment Officer of this family office was a truly remarkable experience and ultimately is how I got into the business of family offices.
How does your work at The Legacy Road Group identify with your work at UWGLA?
At Legacy Road Group we are focused on identifying meaningful opportunities to generate exceptional returns for our investors. Ultimately, we are focused on identifying and creating value, and we search for people who are talented and have wonderful ideas with great potential. Philanthropy is quite similar. We are looking for people and opportunities that possess great potential for growth, where the greatest impact can be made. We are searching for exceptional value. Ultimately, we are focused on creating a better world for everyone.
You are one of the co-founders of The Park, a creative co-working space located in DTLA. What was your idea for creating a hub of collaboration for entrepreneurs, freelancers and designers?
Our outlook at The Park is to create, innovate, and dream. We wanted to provide not just an office space but a unique experience that integrates community, culture, and the spirit of Los Angeles under one roof. We wanted to take the best of a boardroom and office space, combine it with a historic building, and integrate creative energy and sophistication to create a dynamic, innovative new work environment.
What do you want your legacy to be? What would you like people to say about you and your life?
The name of our company is Legacy Road. We named it Legacy Road, and we went so far both to create and to acquire the rights to the name Legacy Road, because we are passionate about what this name means. What is a person’s legacy all about? For me, when I think about legacy, I think about charitable legacy, spiritual legacy, financial legacy, and family legacy. We are all on an exciting road to create our own legacy.
Where that road takes us, depends on how we navigate all of the challenging and exciting twists and turns that confront us. The choices we make, and the outcomes we create, constitute our legacy. All of these elements constitute an entire legacy, and when people talk about my life, I would like them to say “He made the choices to create a meaningful and powerful legacy for the things he cared about.”
Thank you so much for all you’ve done to support United Way and our community. To close out our Q&A, can you tell us about an experience with UWGLA that had an impact on you personally?
The meaningful experiences I've had at United Way have all been connected with people. The people I have met who have served in key fundraising and programming positions at United Way have been wonderful. And the people I have met who have served United Way in philanthropic and volunteer roles have been wonderful as well. It has been a pleasure to meet so many talented people from diverse circumstances who are impacting our city each and every day in powerful ways.