PHILANTHROPY

On a personal note, my philanthropic endeavors have taken me on a fascinating and personally fulfilling journey, giving back to my community and making an impact in unique ways I never anticipated would be possible.

 

Personal Philanthropy Project

 

On my birthday, I was not only feeling down that I was getting older, but I also felt anxious about the negative state of the world around me.  I am a mom of twins, and I had serious concerns about the kind of world my kids were growing up in.  I felt compelled that we all can and should be doing more to give back.  So, at my birthday dinner in March 2017, in lieu of presents, I asked my friends to join me in a one-year community service challenge. Each month, one of us would plan a service event that the rest could join.  Different people planning would result in a diversity of causes and activities, but I was committing to going to them all.  In one year we volunteered at:

  • Wheels for Deals with Seniors at Alexandria Care Center

  • Food Forward at Santa Monica Farmers Market

  • Restoration of Ballona Wetlands in Playa del Rey

  • Ace of Hearts Adopt-A-Dog Event at Petco

  • Serving lunch to the homeless at The Midnight Mission

  • Torrance ReStore for Habitat for Humanity of Greater Los Angeles

  • Thanksgiving Food Pantry at St. Margaret's Center

  • Christmas Program at Lennox Middle School

  • Organizing Fossils at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles

  • Horse Rescue Animal Care at Saffyre Sanctuary

  • Painting St. Paul's Church with the Compton Initiative

  • Heal the Bay Beach Cleanup at Santa Monica Beach

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I enjoyed them all, but I was particularly moved by my experience serving at the Midnight Mission (LA’s most established nonprofit dedicated to helping the homeless). Our volunteer coordinator led a tour of the facility and the history of the organization’s development, and at the end we hear about how he was personally rehabilitated through this program.  Within a few months, participants who complete the program are sober, fully employed with full-time housing.  That transformation is amazing, and I was impressed with how well the organization was run, so I wanted to get more involved.

LA Finance Cares Week

 

I met with the development team at the Midnight Mission and they emphasized the continual need for help with fundraising and increasing awareness.  Starting with my contacts in LA’s finance industry, I enlisted corporate sponsorships and recruited over 200 senior executives to serve over 7,000 meals to the homeless of downtown LA for one week in May 2018.  

 

LA Finance Cares Week benefitting the Midnight Mission felt like a culminating event to complete a full year of community service for my personal philanthropy project.  It was a great success in its first year in 2018 and it has become an annual event.  So far, our sponsors and participants have come from: Bank of America, Beach Point Capital, Canyon Capital, Capital Group, Coldwell Banker, Deutsche Bank, Diversis Capital, East West Bank, Google, Gratia Capital, Harvard Business School, Hiscox, JPMorgan, Loyola Marymount University, Mattel, Morgan Stanley, Natural History Museums of Los Angeles County, Optum Group, UCLA, United Healthcare, USC, Wharton, and West LA Parents of Multiples.

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SALT Method

In July 2018 I started teaching a bi-weekly class (which is now part of the rehabilitation program) at the Midnight Mission based on my self-pioneered SALT (Sensorial Awareness Learning Technique) Method, which incorporates mindfulness, art, and creative forms of expression, to educate and inspire program participants recovering from homelessness, trauma, addiction, incarceration, and abuse.  The main objective is to explore innovative ways to transform grief into hope in an interactive, supportive group setting, and students leave each class feeling more positive than when they started.  

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