A keystone of support
The Rotary Club of Los Angeles Foundation is essential to LA5’s fundraising efforts. The Foundation enables the Club to garner the support it needs to improve Los Angeles and the lives of its citizens, as well as engage in impactful international service projects. It is one of the largest of its kind in the Rotary world.
The Foundation has always accepted and encouraged gifts of all sizes. Larger donations have been recognized in a variety of ways, including acknowledgement as a permanent Foundation Fellow, named scholarships, and other honors to serve as fitting tributes to a donor’s generosity.
The Foundation is a collection of the hopes and dreams of the club’s past and present members. LA5’s honors these funds by closely monitoring their investment performance and the purposes to which they are directed.
Children had free eye exams thanks to Rotary Eye Rescue in Bogata, Columbia.
Nancy Howard has quietly and diligently worked behind the scenes to ensure foundation growth and plays a significant role on club projects including Reading By 9.
The Legacy Circle
In July 2007, LA5 President Don Robinson inaugurated The Legacy Circle program to recognize the first 100 members of LA5 who name The Rotary Club of Los Angeles Foundation in their estate plan. This special recognition forever acknowledges these generous individuals as a Founding Benefactor of the Legacy Circle.
Contributions can be made anonymously or may be designated with a Legacy Circle symbol on the Rotary badge.
A few who made the Foundation possible
The LA5 Foundation has benefited from countless Rotarians. But a few major Foundation donors played essential roles in the organization’s success: Bob Gunzel, Courtland and Edna Barr, the Close Family, Victor Walch, Lew Coppersmith, and the Kirk Family.
Bob Gunzel was an active Rotarian and supporter of the Children’s Court. Bob also was a Paul Harris Fellow and a member of LA5 for 43 years. His large donation funds the Children’s Court Committee.
- Courtland and Edna Barr donated a significant sum to the Foundation and created the impactful Hill Barr Scholarship.
- Helen Close donated stocks that with careful management significantly grew the Foundation Endowment. The Close Family Scholarship provides approximately $100,000 each year to deserving students.
- Lew Coppersmith and his wife provided generous donations that are reserved for community service grants and international projects.
- Victor Walch generously supported the Foundation and also was a club president in 1988-1989, when he supported projects and grants including the D.A.R.E. anti-drug program, Junior Achievement, and Volunteers of America.
The Evelyn J. Kirk 2000 Revocable Trust provided a generous gift to the “J. Paul Kirk Scholarship Foundation,” which is administered by the Rotary Club of Los Angeles. The J. Paul Kirk Scholarship provides opportunities for many future college students to realize their educational goals and aspirations.
In addition to member contributions to the Club’s Community Service Fund, another fundraising event in conjunction with LA5’s annual Dodger Day was started by President Ken Chong and continued by President Alan Bernstein. This event established an exciting new method for members to give to the Foundation.
The support of these selfless and charitable Rotarians helped the Foundation thrive through both smooth and rough economic times. Without their significant gifts, the Foundation would not have become a major LA5 force for scholarships, financial stewardship, and ongoing success.
Helping children who need it the most
LA5’s Children’s Court Program is a funding source of last resort for children who are part of the court system in Los Angeles County. The Committee’s goal is to provide financial assistance for anything that a child needs for which there is no other source of support. The Committee receives requests from LA’s Children’s Court, social workers, and other children’s advocates.
In 1989, former club President John C. Westwater, along with fellow Rotarians, established the Child Victims in Court (“Civic”) Partnership, a public-private venture that supports the mission of the Children’s Court. They started with $250,000 in seed money and raised an additional $1.1 million from area businesses, foundations, and individuals, despite a recession.
LA5’s Children’s Court Committee started in 2005. It awards funding and, when needed, assists in procuring services or items, including school clothes, books, toys, dental work, college visits, letterman jackets, and computers. Specific examples of the Committee’s work include the purchase of a prom dress so that a young woman could attend her first prom, and procuring a uniform and equipment so that a young child could participate in sports.
LA5’s Children’s Court is a quiet yet powerful committee. It cannot garner much publicity due to sensitivity regarding the children. Nonetheless, it distributes tens of thousands of dollars and gives hundreds of children across Los Angeles hope that they can live a normal life and that someone cares for them.