The Getty House Foundation


“I call on the people of our city to not just dream of the L.A. we want, but to participate in making the dream come true. Please join me in this effort. A city where people are housed and tents are gone. A city where people are comfortable walking and shopping in all neighborhoods at all hours. A city where murals replace graffiti; A city where we lock arms with each other until we get the job done. That’s the reality we can build, Los Angeles. Let’s build it together.” 
— Mayor Karen Bass’s Inauguration Speech, December 11, 2022

The Getty House Foundation is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the preservation of the Getty House, civics education, and community/global engagement. The Getty House is the official residence of Mayor Karen Bass, the first woman and the second African American to hold the office of Mayor of Los Angeles, America’s second largest city. It is more than simply the Official Mayoral Residence and a site for elegant gatherings, it is also a place where Angelenos share ideas, translate them into action to uplift our neighborhoods, and enact public-private partnerships that will inject our city with the innovative solutions it needs to move forward. The Getty House Foundation works with the Mayor’s office to develop a series of programs and outreach initiatives which reflect the goals of the Bass administration. Our three Series include the following:

  1. Global LA Series: Los Angeles is an international city with over 100 foreign consulates, international business leaders, the upcoming 2028 Olympics, and immigrants from around the world. The Mayor and the Getty House Foundation host events with international leaders and local civic and business leaders to bring our world closer together. Additionally, the Foundation works with the Mayor to host protocol and diplomatic events for visiting dignitaries and Heads of State.
  2. Strategic Policy LA Series: This Series focuses on convenings and strategic gatherings around Mayor Bass’ key policy issues such as homelessness and creating economic opportunities for all Angelenos. Mayor Bass moderates panels with civic and business leaders from LA City, LA County, the state of California, and the entire nation to discuss her policy priorities and foster public-private partnerships to address them.
  3. Lock Arms LA Series: The Foundation, in coordination with the Mayor, organizes events, programs, and activities that encourage community members to actively participate in shaping the future of Los Angeles – to lock arms on behalf of our City. The Series serves as a platform for dialogue, fostering connections, and building relationships between the City’s diverse communities. The Foundation, the Mayor, and her family invite Angelenos to celebrate important events and holidays; host a speaker series to bring diverse voices to discuss and reflect on our City’s history and future; have events that celebrate and promote the rich cultural heritage of Los Angeles showcasing art, history, and traditions, fostering a sense of pride and appreciation for the City’s cultural diversity; and create events specifically aimed at educating young people on the importance of civic engagement.

In summary, the Getty House and the Getty House Foundation serve as a hub for community engagement, cultural enrichment, education, and public service, with the aim of creating a stronger, more vibrant Los Angeles for all.


The History of the Getty House and the Getty House Foundation

The English Tudor style house was built in 1921 by Swedish immigrants Leta and Paul Paulson who purchased an acre of land along the nearby, ever-growing Wilshire Boulevard, in Windsor Square. It was built by the same architects who designed the Egyptian and Chinese Theatres on Hollywood Boulevard. In 1928, Leslie Lockhart, president of the Rio Grande Oil Company, and his wife Jeanne, bought the house. They renovated, giving the house a total of 19 rooms, and purchased the lot behind their home for a tennis court.

In 1958 E.D. Buckley, an associate of Getty Oil Company, purchased the “Getty House property” from the Lockharts. The Getty Oil Company had intended to build their corporate headquarters in the area and purchased property on adjacent blocks, but a residential zoning ordinance prohibited such construction. In 1975, Getty Oil wrote a letter to the Los Angeles City Council, offering the house as a gift for use as an official home for the Mayor of Los Angeles. On July 13, 1977, the house was officially dedicated as “Getty House, Official Residence of the Mayor of the City of Los Angeles,” during the first term of Los Angeles’ 38th mayor, Tom Bradley.

The Mayor, his wife Ethel, and their daughter moved into the house upon completion of the refurbishing in 1977 and lived there for 16 years. The house immediately became an important place to entertain visiting dignitaries. Just weeks after its dedication, Getty House was the site for a formal dinner welcoming the Prince of Wales, His Royal Highness Prince Charles. In attendance were city council members and Hollywood notable Gregory Peck. Mayor Bradley also served an important role in the 1984 Olympic Games, the acquisition of which he considered to be “the highlight of my entire political career.”

In many ways, Mayor Bradley’s position as the first mayoral occupant demonstrates the potential of Getty House to bridge people and interests. Bradley was the first African American elected mayor of Los Angeles, and the first mayor to reside in Getty House. Only decades before, in the 1940s, African Americans could not buy property in the exclusive neighborhoods of Hancock Park and Windsor Square. A former police chief, Bradley served as a coalition builder for the city during his five terms. He was one of Los Angeles’ most noted civic boosters, a role Getty House proudly continues today.

In 1993 Mayor Richard Riordan took office. While choosing to live in his personal residence, Riordan understood the importance of Getty House as a symbol of civic pride and a venue for special events and convenings. In 1993, the Getty House Restoration Foundation was established to raise funds for and oversee the refurbishment of Getty House. It supervised the repairs to the House following the 1994 Northridge earthquake.

In 1996, the foundation’s name was changed to the Getty House Foundation. Along with a new identity there was a redefined mission to focus on civics education, the preservation of the house, and community engagement; a focus that serves as the guiding principle to this day.

James K. Hahn took office as Los Angeles’ 40th mayor on July 1, 2001. Mayor Hahn continued his campaign to protect children and abate violence, causes begun during his tenure as city attorney. His dedication to children, youth, and their families is evident in his expansion and leadership of the after-school program, LA’s BEST.

In 2005, Antonio R. Villaraigosa became the city’s 41st mayor, and he and his family moved into Getty House. For the Villaraigosa administration, Getty House became a venue where community and city intersected. In addition to opening its doors to residents of Los Angeles, Getty House hosted renowned writer Carlos Fuentes, who was presented with the Key to the City in spring 2006. Other notable visitors include New York Sen. Hillary Clinton, California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, and Gov. Emilio Gonzalez of Jalisco, Mexico.

With the election of Eric Garcetti in 2013, the Foundation, in conjunction with Mayor Garcetti and his wife Amy Wakeland, developed new programs and outreach initiatives, including the Community Holiday Series, the Engage LA Series, and the Women’s Leadership Series. These programs celebrated our city’s diversity, fostered public-private partnerships, and promoted civic engagement in Los Angeles. Getty House also served as the venue for special events such as important mayoral protocol and governmental relations events.

If you are interested in learning more about the Getty House Foundation or would like to engage with the Foundation in any of our Series or programs, we welcome your support. Please email us at