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Introducing Mike Gentile, Old Riverside Foundation’s New President : President’s Message




Mike Gentile


Old Riverside Foundation (ORF) has a new president, namely, me. I am very humbled by the trust that the Board of Directors has put in me to lead this organization, now in its thirty-ninth year. A lot has happened in Riverside and to the Old Riverside Foundation over that time, and both institutions are thriving and stronger than ever.

I would like to acknowledge the leadership of my predecessor, Carol McDoniel. Carol became President during some difficult times at Old Riverside Foundation. Under her direction, the organization grew to become solidly established in the community. She helped forge a constructive relationship with the City of Riverside without compromising Old Riverside Foundation’s mission, thereby earning much-deserved respect for her and the Foundation. I hope that we can continue to build on this success and broaden our reach.


Last October we witnessed the retirement of a man who wore many hats at Old Riverside Foundation, all with unflappable patience, determination, and skill, Dave Leonard. Among other duties, Dave held a very important role as our advocacy chair.


The advocacy chair is our Preservation Watchdog, and our main voice in crafting Old Riverside Foundation’s positions regarding buildings under threat. Dave’s calm leadership kept us from overreaching in ways that could have risked prior gains, and we owe him a hearty thanks for negotiating the Historic Preservation Fund (HPF) with the City in the wake of the Press-Bindery Building debacle a few years ago. The HPF has helped a number of residents repair and restore their homes so we can all enjoy their beauty and legacy.


That was a long way of saying that there are big shoes to fill, but I have every confidence that the ORF community will help. I would like to appeal to the membership, and the general public for that matter, to let us know if they see anything that may concern them regarding historic structures. We can always be reached at, by phone at (951) 683-2725, or through our Facebook page. We would love to hear from you, and we will investigate your concern.


Another resource to consider is the Community and Economic Development Department at the City of Riverside. This is the home of the city’s Historic Preservation office. Their number is (951) 826-5371. They’ve told us that concerns from the public are very important to them, and it is usually more effective in helping to stop damage to historic structures than if the notice comes from city staff. As members of the community, we have more power than we think when it comes to historic preservation. Let’s take advantage of that!


The Vintage Home Tour, Restoration Faire, and Mercantile will be here before you know it. This is always a big event and such great fun! I look forward to seeing you all there.


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