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My Thanksgiving Column: Holiday philanthropy is vital in time of cutbacks

Charity begins at home — and for Southern California communities that was never more important than it is today, when government is cutting back sharply on providing services and funding for those in need, while poverty is soaring amid enduring affluence nearby.

That was my take-away from an extraordinary event last week at Valley Presbyterian Hospital where more than 100 nonprofit service providers met with major Los Angeles-area funders, including the Weingart Foundation and California Community Foundation and experts in managing and operating charities.

It was timed for Thanksgiving and the start of the season of giving, to be sure. But more importantly, it marked a critical step, long overdue, to place the San Fernando Valley’s philanthropic identity high on the civic agenda. It serves as a call to action for communities throughout the Los Angeles County region.

Most of all, it was a recognition of the dramatic demographic changes that have transformed the Valley from being America’s quintessential suburb – the nation’s largest overwhelmingly middle class (and white) enclave – into what is now America’s quintessential urban core where the divide between rich and poor is deepening and middle class opportunity shrinking.

The contrast between rich and poor is stark, according to data culled from a 2011 study called “A Portrait of California.”

Residents of communities like Panorama City and Arleta have shorter life expectancies, much lower incomes, and much higher rates of diabetes. One-third to half of adults lack high s chool diplomas, and a third as many have college degrees than communities like Woodland Hills.

On “average,” the Valley remains comparatively affluent, but as Bill Allen, head of the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corp. and former head of the Valley Economic Alliance, noted:

“This valley is made of distinctly different communities. There is significant wealth along the foothills of this community. But there are significant challenges with poverty along the Valley floor, particularly in the Northeast Valley. … Participation in the labor force is critical for both physical and psychological health. Losing a job undermines well-being, erodes self-esteem and can chip away at our very identity.”

That was not news to participants in the conference Hiding in Plain Sight: Engaging Philanthropy With San Fernando Valley Nonprofits, an event organized by Valley Council of Governments head Robert Scott, Valley Economic Alliance leader Ron Wood, Valley Community Foundation head Peter McCarty, and Valley Nonprofit Resources Chairman Thomas Backer, among others.


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16 Responses to My Thanksgiving Column: Holiday philanthropy is vital in time of cutbacks

  1. anonymous says:

    I’m curious to see if the increased taxation of the wealthy will negatively impact donations to worthy causes.

  2. David Barron says:

    Well said anonymous. But of course, we both know the wealthy will pick-up and leave to a more business friendly city or country, enriching their economy, not ours.
    I hope the uninformed voter will quickly stumble upon our comments and learn that these self serving officials just keep offering their vote for sale by giving away our tax dollars just to keep themselves getting reelected.

    FPPC 1351703

  3. Wayne the Independent-Liberal says:

    Thousand Oaks has a 7.25% sales tax rate. It will be 7.50% because of prop 30. L.A. will have next year a 9.25% sales tax! That’s because there are too many stoopid fools that vote in these already-phony elections!
    But finally some good news–KEVIN JAMES OPENED A VALLEY MAYORAL OFFICE!!! He was going to operate near Downtown, but finally found out the VALLEY VOTE may get him a run-off spot (provided the stoopid voters find out ONLY HE REALLY IS AGAINST THE SALES TAX INCREASE.)
    Garslutti and Dog-Perry also have opened Valley campaign offices (of course to be closer to those they will lie more to.)
    If you’re staying in the Valley and DON’T vote for Kevin next year, A mental exam should be mandatory! Garslutti and Perry and the 13 other criminals Downtown just kicked in the DOUBLING of all your DWP power rates—look carefully at your new bills this month and next…
    Botton line—Walter Moore would of fought this, Kevin WILL fight it. Hopefully a very LOW voter turnout and a very HIGH PISSED OFF VALLEY HOMEOWNER voter turnout will happen next March.
    Have a “Crummy” Thanksgiving (In honor of Joe Crummy who is guest hosting on KABC radio this week.) Wish KABC would hire the guy full time.

    • Rita-of-Sunland says:

      BIG WAYNE! (I love it when you go down to city hall and give the council GRIEF. And I heard you on John&Ken’s “Moist Line” a coupla weeks ago.) Kevin James was IN STUDIO on McIntyre’s show earlier today and what a pleasure it was to hear those two talk L.A. politics. I highly recommend you start attending the mayoral debates—- there’s no better ticket in town for sheer, unbridled entertainment!

  4. ex-valley says:

    Ron, how about admitting that these “dramatic demographic changes that have transformed the Valley” have drastically reduced the quality of life in the Valley?

    As a result, I and my charitable contributions (United Way, various art institutions, etc) decamped to a much nicer locale. I still get phone calls once in awhile asking for donations (kept my cell phone number) and my answer is that my charity is local to my new hometown.

  5. Wayne the Independent-Liberal says:

    Cyber-Monday! Don’t GIVE to OTHERS–give TO YOURSELF!!! Screw the poor—-YOU ARE THE POOR! HA HA HA!

  6. teddy says:

    You made a good point, David Barron. We must get out the vote
    in March (election day 3/5/13). It must be successful.

    My family me drove me to Disneyland for Thanksgiving. On the freeway
    we passed many “suburbs” that must be allowed to secede from Los
    Angeles – this city is a disaster – more than 400 square miles –
    whoever heard of such a thing?

  7. teddy says:

    I forgot to say that Saqlvation Army and The First United Methodist Church
    on Sherman Way at Fallbrook are where I give everything, money, food, toys, books.

  8. West-Wesson says:

    Anybody but Garcetti.

  9. Wayne the Independent-Liberal likes these quotes: says:

    “My family me drove me to Disneyland for Thanksgiving. On the freeway
    we passed many “suburbs” that must be allowed to secede from Los
    Angeles – this city is a disaster – more than 400 square miles –
    whoever heard of such a thing?”
    HA HA HA HA!!!!!!!!!!!
    HA HA HA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Catch KABC from 9pm to 12am tonight and tomorrow: LEO “THE LION” TERRELL is on! Tilden is taking a public speaking course at the Malibu Inn this week, he’ll return to get his weekly rent check…

  10. Wayne the Independent-Liberal likes these quotes: says:

    FARTCETTI and How so many suburbs of L.A. should SECEDE!
    KABC 790 AM from 9pm to 12 am—catch Leo “the Lion” Terrell. Tilden is off taking a public speaking course at the Malibu Inn this week…

  11. Wayne the Independent-Liberal likes these quotes: says:

    Fartcetti? WTF? Oh….that scumbag…never mind.

  12. Wayne the Independent-Liberal likes these quotes: says:

    Leo Terrell tonite 9pm to 12am—KABC 790 am radio. He’ll take your calls for the 3 hours, like the old days on KABC. Maybe FARTCETTI will call in to make the case why he should be mayor of L.A? He’s done such a great job, makes his daddy real proud, right? I’m sure there’s a seat in Congress if he loses to Cruella-Gruella….

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