Starting on Saturday, May 11, United Way volunteers teamed up with the National Association of Letter Carriers (NALC) to collect food donations in order to provide assistance to the millions of Americans who are struggling with hunger. The Stamp Out Hunger partnership is a nationwide effort which provides food to local food banks and nonprofit agencies that rely heavily on donations. With more than 50 million Americans living at risk of hunger, food banks across the country continue to experience record demand for emergency assistance.
Last weekend was just the beginning! All week long, volunteers have continued to lend a helping hand at the sorting center working to unload trucks, sort food and repackage it for delivery to pantries and UWGLA partner agencies. So far, 16 different post offices (that’s half of the L.A. area) have participated, 300,000 pounds of food have been collected, 8 semi-trucks have been filled and 600 volunteers have come out to help!
This progress is amazing, but there is still more work to do. This Wednesday, Thursday and Friday are all important days for sorting. To sign up for a volunteer shift (8am-12pm or 12pm-4pm), please visit http://laborcommunityservicesla.org/ or contact Margarita Chavez at firstname.lastname@example.org or (213) 985-1987.
We look forward to seeing you there!
On May 14, almost thirty United Way volunteers gathered at El Sereno Middle School to partake in the 2nd Annual Career Day. Volunteers from companies across Los Angeles spoke to more than 100 students, each over the course of 4 class periods. All sectors were covered – from acting to accounting – opening the eyes of students at this UWGLA partner school to a whole new world of possibilities.
Melanie Alvarez, an 8th grade student, spoke to the group about her experience last year. She read a letter that she had written for the volunteers, stating, “You all inspired me to stay in school and never give up on anything I hope to achieve… thank you.” It was a very touching moment for both her teachers and the volunteers.
Principal Dr. Frances Gibson, who is in her first year with ESMS, thanked United Way for its many contributions over the past 2 years. Detailing the various ways UWGLA volunteers have been involved, she told them, “You are all teachers today. Thank you for being here.”
Volunteers spoke to music, science, math and social studies classes for the next 3 hours and shared their feedback with one another over lunch. While some questions were entertaining (“Can you get us into the Staples Center for free?!”- a question posited to a security firm owner), others were serious – discussing Bachelor’s degrees, Master’s degrees and other educational paths that are important to forming a career.
Thank you VERY much to all our volunteers who participated! Your contribution cannot not be overstated. We hope to see you again next year for a new crop of students!
Click here to see photos from the event!
2013 United Way Career Day Volunteers:
Maria Audero, Partner, Paul Hastings LLP
Brian Brummit, Actor
Louis Castle, Police Sergeant/K-9 Handler/Instructor, Culver City Police Department (Retired)
Jessica Copenhaver, Vice President, Citi Private Bank
Josh Copenhaver, Vice President, Citi Private Bank
Jamila Fairley, Production Incentive Planning, Tax Manager, Fox Entertainment Group
Angela Fentimen, Media & Employee Communications Manager, Southern California Gas Company
Zulema Garcia, Partner, KPMG
Anthony Garrison, Interim Director, Asian Pacific Student Services, LGBT Student Services, Loyola Marymount College
Deborah Lee, Partner, International Tax, PwC
Ben Lewis, Area Sales Manager, UPS
Chad McKinsey, Musician
Susan McNulty, Occupational Therapist/Adjunct Professor, USC
Betsy Monahan, HR Director, ACCO Engineered System
Mabel Munoz, Program Officer, First 5 LA
Lisa O’Rourke, Executive Director, Marketing and Communications, Loyola Marymount College
Aimee Quon, Mechanical Integration Engineer, JPL
James Rock, Senior Manager, Assurant Services, KPMG
Natalie Seaman, Senior Account Executive, Wellpoint/Anthem Blue Cross
Carolyn Spaeter, Account Management Executive Consultant, Anthem Blue Cross
Le Tang Story Artist, Dreamworks Animation
Cynthia Torres, Senior Account Executive, UPS
Christina Ward, Executive Team Leader – Human Resources, Target
Austin Wheelon, MEP Coordinator, PCL Construction Services, Inc.
Jeff Zisner, President & CEO, AEGIS Security &
What were you doing before joining the United Way?
My background is in public interest law. Over the past decade, I have worked on issues related to land use, the environment, and international development. This work allowed me to share concerns with various decision-makers, from the Los Angeles City Council to the U.S. Supreme Court. Most recently I did this work through my consulting practice, Sustainable Vision Consulting. Before that, I was at the Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles, Strumwasser & Woocher LLP, and the Natural Resources Defense Council.
Why are you interested in working to end chronic and Veteran homelessness in LA County?
I care deeply about issues related to poverty and that passion has been a constant thread throughout all of my work. We have a wonderful opportunity to provide permanent supportive housing to some of the hardest to house and, in doing so, help improve individual lives and our community as a whole.
What are you most excited about in your new role as Program Officer?
Our Home for Good plan is incredibly effective and has achieved real, measurable results. I am excited to be part of such an inspiring initiative, with a talented team of people who believe in the work.
Do you have any hobbies that people would find unexpected?
I have many hobbies but will give you just three: (1) I go hiking every weekend in Griffith Park – I love seeing the mountains, ocean, and city in one large expanse; (2) I belong to two book clubs – we read books ranging in topic from mythology to world politics; and (3) I love to travel – my favorite destinations are Hawaii, Argentina, Morocco, and Turkey.
It’s been a pretty exciting year for the Home For Good Standards of Excellence so far, with a very successful symposium this past March, the formation of a strong steering committee to guide the implementation of the Standards, and now the launching of what promises to be an exciting series of free seminars to help build capacity throughout the community.
Today we are proud to present to you our Spring update to the Standards of Excellence. It represents the culmination of months work by our partners at CSH, Shelter Partnership, and many service providers who participate in the Standards workgroup meetings. It is based on recommendations and feedback we’ve received from the community since the Standards’ inception. And it will serve as a guide for understanding what the Standards are and why they’re so important.
Of course, the Standards are ever evolving, and we will continue to review and refine them as we move forward. We plan on sharing updates every quarter, so please look out for future releases.
What’s up next for the Standards? Aside from the upcoming seminars, we are currently working on creating the tools by which the Standards can be applied. Through our Steering Committee, we are exploring the ways in which the Standards can best move the community forward. And once we complete our initial set of seminar offerings, we will be providing opportunities for even more intensive technical assistance through our CQI trainings. So definitely much more exciting things to come!
Download the Home For Good Standards of Excellence: SoE Spring Edition
As part of its Standards of Excellence initiative, Home For Good will be hosting the first in a series of free day-long seminars meant to support service providers in their efforts to end homelessness. Provided in coordination with the Center for Urban and Community Services (CUCS) and Housing Innovations, these capacity-building sessions will provide an interactive opportunity for participants to learn about and share insights on successful strategies in serving those with the highest barriers to and highest need for housing.
Each session is approximately one-day long; sessions are offered on multiple days to accommodate participants’ schedules. Registration is required. Space is limited to four participants per organization; participants from the same organization are not required to attend the same session. Training sessions are meant for those that provide direct services and/or most closely manage direct service staff; please thoroughly review the course descriptions to ensure the most appropriate staff persons are registered. All sessions are free and available to any organizations that serve the homeless population, regardless of the sources of the funding utilized.
First Session: “Skills for Working with the Chronically Homeless”
Wednesday, May 29th & Thursday, May 30th, 2013 (start at 9:30 am and run throughout the day).
United Way of Greater Los Angeles
4th Floor Conference Center
1150 S. Olive St.
Los Angeles CA, 90015
To register click here.
The Standards of Excellence are a set of performance and quality goals for permanent supportive housing programs, emergency shelters, and outreach programs. An initiative of Home For Good, in coordination with CSH, Shelter Partnership, CUCS, and Housing Innovations, they are a list of the most critical outcomes necessary to effectively reduce and end homelessness, and are a set of best practices to which service providers should aspire. More information about the Standards of Excellence and Home For Good can be found at http://www.unitedwayla.org/home-for-good/
On Tuesday, members of United Way’s Emerging Leaders and Women Leaders presented their second annual Career Day at El Sereno Middle School in Los Angeles.
Representing organizations such as Anthem Blue Cross, the Culver City Police Department, Dreamworks, KPMG and PwC, professionals from the public, private and nonprofit sectors shared with hundreds of eager young students their tips for launching successful and rewarding careers.
Click here to see photos from the event!
Each year, we celebrate our top corporate, civic and community partners as well as our leading affinity group members for their efforts to Create Pathways Out of Poverty through fundraising, advocacy and volunteerism. Here is a list of those who are nominated for awards this year (winners will be announced at our Annual Philanthropy Awards on June 6th):
Model Campaign of the Year – Small to Midsized Company
- ACCO Engineered Systems
- American Girl
- Valero Wilmington Refinery
Model Campaign of the Year – Large Company
- East West Bank
- Jet Propulsion Laboratory
- US Bank
Outstanding Public Sector Campaign
- City of Los Angeles
- Los Angeles County
- Los Angeles Unified School District
Innovative Campaign of the Year – Private Sector
- Jet Propulsion Laboratory
Innovative Campaign of the Year Public Sector
- City of Pasadena
- Glendale Unified School District
- Palmdale School District
Outstanding HomeWalk Champion
- City National Bank
- East West Bank
- Parsons Corporation
- Southern California Gas Company
- Trust Company of the West
Outstanding Tocqueville Campaign
- Enterprise Rent-A-Car
- Ernst & Young
Outstanding Emerging Leader Campaign
- Enterprise Rent-A-Car
Outstanding Women Leader Campaign
- East West Bank
- AIG Life and Retirement
Outstanding Tocqueville Champion
- Michael Hausknost – City National Bank
- Chip Lightfoot – PwC
- Chandler Root – Merrill Lynch
Outstanding Emerging Leader Champion
- Amy Morales
- Eric Street – Enterprise Rent-A-Car
- Ben Lewis – UPS
Outstanding Women Leader Champion
- Nan Bouchard – The Boeing Company
- Patricia Hausknost – City National Bank
- Maria Audero – Paul Hastings
Outstanding Workplace Ambassador of the Year
- Magalene Powell-Meeks – Jet Propulsion Laboratory
- Terri Garcia – Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Company
- Reed Harris II – Neutrogena
- Carla Shobu – Nordstrom
- Adina Joy Hirsch – Northern Trust Bank
Spirit of Los Angeles Award
- Bank of America
- Edison International
- Enterprise Rent-A-Car
- Wells Fargo
100% Creating Pathways Out of Poverty Award
- Bobrick Washroom Equipment
Phoenix Campaign of the Year
- Automobile Club of Southern California
Miguel Contreras Labor Award
- International Brotherhood of Teamsters – Local 396
- Combined Federal Campaign of Greater Southern California
Outstanding Leadership Campaign
United Way Corporate Hero
United Way Community Hero
Outstanding Executive Champion
- Lt. General Eugene Tattini – Jet Propulsion Laboratory
On Tuesday May 14th, almost 30 United Way volunteers convened at El Sereno Middle School’s campus to talk to students about their careers and the paths they took to arrive where they are today. Mostly made up of United Way’s Women Leaders & Emerging Leaders affinity group donors, the volunteers came from a variety of professional sectors- from acting to accounting- and took time to answer questions about education, jobs, and personal passions. Thanks so much to our volunteers!
Nearly 100 of Los Angeles’ best and brightest young professionals recently gathered at the Edison Lounge downtown for United Way’s Emerging Leaders Spring Social to network and learn how they can help break the cycle of poverty in our community.
Last month, United Way employees from across the globe convened in Indianapolis for the annual Staff Leaders Conference to share ideas, celebrate accomplishments and see what lies ahead for the 126-year-old organization. Below, United Way of Greater L.A. Event Coordinator Bentley Coplin, a first-time attendee, recounts her experience.
When I received an invitation from my VP to attend the SLC, I couldn’t believe it. Within my first year of working for UWGLA, I was invited to participate in a worldwide conference focused on organizational leadership and transformation. What an opportunity!
Although I had no way of knowing exactly what to expect, the promise of worldwide connections, career coaching sessions, dynamic keynote speakers and a variety of learning labs was enough to pique my interest. I was on my way to Indianapolis and little did I know the greatest lesson I had to learn would greet me right as I walked in the door.
As the conference kicked off on a rainy Wednesday morning, I found myself sharing coffee with hundreds of new faces. A sense of clarity washed over me as smiles and warm welcomes were exchanged between newfound colleagues. Despite the distance and disparities which separated our local United Ways, we were all on the same team, brought together for the shared purpose of discovering how we could have a greater collective impact not just on our cities – but on our world.
Upon settling into our seats, we were greeted by United Way Worldwide President & CEO, Brian Gallagher. He honed in on this idea of collective community impact and the true potential of United Way to affect the greater good. After all, we are the largest nonprofit in the world. Why shouldn’t we have the largest impact on breaking the cycle of poverty, improving education or providing jobs to hardworking families? What’s stopping us?
I discovered that one of our greatest challenges is our history and a lack of public awareness about what type of role United Way is currently playing in our communities. Innovator. Strategic Partner. Thought-leader. Would you use any of these words to describe United Way? I sure wouldn’t have before I started working here. Fundraiser. Community chest. Payroll deduction. Sound more familiar?
For decades, this was true – community members poured money in, and United Way poured it back out to worthy nonprofit organizations who did the “real work.” In essence, we simply made it easier for you to give money to the organizations you cared about.
While there was value in providing this service, the focus shifted to the bigger picture – how to achieve the greatest good for the greatest number of people. And at the end of the day, money simply wasn’t enough to fix a broken education system or reverse the cycle of poverty. United Way recognized that. Although we still act as a community fundraiser and grant-maker, our added value lies in our collective ability to solve major problems in our cities, counties and countries across the globe.
How? By focusing on the most pressing issues and coming up with strategic, peer-reviewed, data-driven plans to tackle them. By getting corporate, nonprofit and government leaders around the table to make decisions and commitments with lasting value. By ceasing to be a risk-averse organization and advocating for policies which improve the lives of the most vulnerable individuals in our community.
It’s true. My United Way is an innovator, thought-leader and change-maker. That’s the message I want to spread across Greater L.A. and far beyond, and I hope you’ll help me. Because if there’s one thing I learned from my experience at the SLC, it’s that our strength comes from our collective power to affect the greater good. Together, we will transform lives — and our own lives will be transformed in return.