Community Foundation hosts tour of Epicenter

10 nonprofits set to move into the new Hollister building in March.

BenitoLink receives some funding from the Community Foundation for San Benito County.


On Feb. 17, the Community Foundation for San Benito County hosted a welcome event at its new building for 70 people that included major donors, building benefactors and current and past board members.

The 9,324-square-foot philanthropic center named Epicenter, located at 440 San Benito Street in Hollister, will house 10 nonprofits starting in March. The building is equipped to house 17 nonprofits. 

Community Foundation Board Chair Fernando Gonzalez credited Community Foundation President and CEO Gary Byrne for his hard work in seeing this project to completion. 

“Gary’s been for months walking like Flash Gordon up and down San Benito Street trying to get this building built and make sure the donors are happy,” Gonzalez said.

Rebecca Wolf, who along with her husband, Randy, donated $5.5 million for the building, said despite opposition from Hollister Mayor Ignacio Velazquez they were able to construct the Epicenter. 

“We see this project as being not just for the Community Foundation and downtown Hollister but also good for the other nonprofits working in the county,” Wolf said. It says, ‘we’re here and we’re here for good!’”

Velazquez, who owns the Vault next to the Epicenter, led a referendum effort and threatened to sue the development of the 400 block. The attorney general, however, opined the sale of the property was not subject to a referendum and Velazquez didn’t follow through on his lawsuit threat.

Byrne said there are over 140 nonprofits operating in San Benito County. BenitoLink, which will be housed in the new building, began as a project of the Community Foundation and became a nonprofit in 2015. 

Among those present was Economic Development Corporation Executive Director Renee Wells. 

“The Epicenter has revitalized an area destroyed by the 1989 earthquake and will add vibrancy, activity and renewed interest in downtown development by becoming a hub for social and economic activity.”

Adjacent to the Epicenter, Del Curto Brothers Group is also building a three-story structure that will include retail space and 22 condominiums. 

Byrne presented decorative ceramic bowls to donors as mementos. Byrne also presented Randy Wolf with a wrapped gift and playfully directed him to open it at home, but not share it with his wife. 

Following speeches and a presentation, Byrne provided a tour of the building.


Other related BenitoLink articles:

400 block appeal fails

400 block appeal hearing delayed

Hollister mayor appeals planning commission approval of 400 block development

Hollister politics turn ugly

Planning Commission approves use permit for 400 block development

Hollister Mayor’s letter delays approval of 400 block tentative map

Hollister City Council approves amendment to 400 block agreement

Designs approved for 400 block buildings

Attorney general decision goes against petition to stop sale of 400 block

Hollister councilman asks experts to explain why city must sell 400 block

Referendum petition on 400 block to be on November ballot unless state attorney generays says its unlawful

Hollister City Council certifies mayor’s petition, will rescind decision on 400 block or put on ballot at next meeting


Noe Magaña

Noe Magaña is BenitoLink Co-Editor and Content Manager. He joined BenitoLink as reporter intern and was soon brought on staff as a BenitoLink reporter. He also experiments with videography and photography. He is a San Benito High School alumnus with a bachelor's in journalism from San Jose State and a Liberal Arts Associate's Degree from Gavilan College. Noe also attended San Jose City College and was the managing editor for the City College Times, the school's newspaper. He was a reporter and later a copy editor for San Jose State's Spartan Daily. He is a USC Center for Health Journalism 2020 California Fellow.