Wise: The Celebration of Caring honorees recognized at the event were RAND president Michael Rich, former WISE Senior Services CEO Maria Arechaederra, Compassion in Caring Award honoree Barbara Browning, and WISE & Healthy Aging CEO Grace Cheng Braun. In addition, a host of local leaders came out to show their support including WISE & Healthy Aging Board Chair and CEO of Northridge Hospital Medical Center Paul Watkins and his wife Andrea, Santa Monica-UCLA Medical Center’s Chief Medical Officer Dr. Phil Levine and UCLA Health Senior Director Janet Rimicci. Local service agencies also participated including Rotary Club of Santa Monica Bill Powell and his wife Carol with fellow Rotarians Myles Pritchard and Judy Neveau. Courtesy photos

In what was clearly the social event to kick off the summer, WISE & Healthy Aging hosted its first in-person community event since 2019. Sponsored by RAND and Santa Monica College, the Celebration of Caring event was held at The Broad Stage at Santa Monica College’s Performing Arts Center on Monday. With more than 200 attendees that included local community leaders and long-time supporters, the evening included a community tribute to Iao Katagiri, a tireless community advocate who passed away on April 28; honored Barbara Browning, a veteran volunteer for more than 15,000 hours supporting seniors and their caregivers at WISE& Healthy Aging, since her retirement in 2010f UCLA Medical Center, Santa Monica; and recognized Michael Rich, President of the RAND Corporation, for his 40 years of service on the WISE & Healthy Aging Board. Grace Cheng Braun, President and CEO of WISE & Healthy Aging since 2005, was also honored as she prepares to leave the organization at the end of June. 

Paul Watkins, President & CEO of Northridge Hospital Medical Center and WISE & Healthy Aging’s Board Chair, also recognized Cheng Braun for her 17 years of service to WISE & Healthy Aging and introduced Molly Davies as the incoming President and CEO of WISE & Healthy Aging, commencing July 1.