DOWNTOWN : New Multiethnic Business Program

The Asian Business League of Southern California has started Bridges, an informal program to encourage business relationships among different ethnic groups in the city.

"It is a way for business people from different races to come together and better understand each other," said Janet Rhee, assistant vice president of Union Bank. "This hasn't happened before. It was just more comfortable to stay within our own ethnic groups. After the riots, we saw there was a need for this. We eventually hope to pool our resources to help our communities."

In conjunction with the Los Angeles Urban Bankers and the Los Angeles chapter of the National Black MBA Assn., the group had a fund-raiser last week at the Westin Bonaventure Hotel. More than 100 local business people and community leaders attended the event at which $2,000 was collected, Rhee said.

The proceeds will be donated to the Watts/Willowbrook Boys and Girls Club and Womens Organizations Reaching Koreans.

Information: (818) 893-4955.

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