$31,000 Awarded to 21 Local Nonprofits

Representatives from 21 groups received checks from the Palisades Woman’s Club. Woman’s Club President Robin Weitz is on the far right.

Woman’s Club Distributes Its Annual Grants

Twenty-one local nonprofits received about $31,000 in grants at the annual Pacific Palisades Woman’s Club Awards Night on Wednesday. The need was great and the recipients grateful as the Woman’s Club continued its long-standing tradition. Over the decades, the club has awarded more than $1 million in grants to various organizations, thanks to the success of its Home Tour.

The evening started with a dessert reception, while Marie Captain, a former Adderley School teacher played the piano. Vintage Grocers supplied meat and cheese trays; member Mary Dean provided ample plates of her homemade cookies and bars; and Sugar from the Heart donated gluten-free cupcakes.

Woman’s Club President Robin Weitz welcomed everyone and then turned the program over to Grant Chair Dr. Joanna Curtis.

“Reading the grant proposals gave me insight into the great work you do and the great work you do to improve the community,” Curtis told the recipients in four different categories: Arts and Recreation, Community and Charitable, Education, and Beautification. “With no further ado, let’s give out the money!”


Andy Frew accepted for Movies in the Park, which will use the money to replace the movie speakers and general expenses for the five movies that will be shown FREE every Saturday night in August at the Recreation Center. “Although we don’t have a full lineup, yet, the first movie of the season will be ‘Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire’ and the last movie will be ‘Black Panther,’” Frew said.

Palisades Art Association President Annette Alexakis said their grant would help pay for guest speakers and demonstrations. “We can really use this money,” she said. Visit: paliart.org.

Pacific Palisades Baseball Association’s Tripp Nassour said about its grant, “This means a lot. We are reconstructing the fields this year and adding scoreboards. This will go a long way.” Visit: ppba.net

Rick Wilken from PAPA (Palisades Americanism Parade Association), the nonprofit responsible for organizing the Fourth of July parade, concert and fireworks show, said “Thanks for supporting us over the decades. The day is the largest annual civic event in Pacific Palisades.” He invited all the groups present to enter a float in the parade and told them they didn’t need to look like a Rose Bowl float. “Cheesy and fun is fine.” Visit: palisades4th.com.

From the Will Rogers Ranch Foundation, Trudi Sandmeier, thanked the Woman’s Club and told them the money would go towards the newly revised school tours program, which brings kids up to the ranch. Visit:willrogersranchfoundation.org


In accepting on behalf of the Boy Scouts of America, Lee Harrison said its grant would be used for a tool kit and socket set. Those items will be used for maintenance and repair work at the historic Malibu Lodge at Camp Josepho in Rustic Canyon. Visit: campjosepho.org.

The Erika Whitmore Godwin Foundation (Griefhaven)’s award was accepted by its founder, Palisadian Susan Whitmore, who started the nonprofit after her daughter Erika died unexpectedly from a rare sinus cancer. Griefhaven is designed as a place for parents to share feelings about the loss of a child. “This is such a great town to live in,” said Whitmore, who noted how the nonprofit has expanded its focus. “We now include all losses. Our website receives more than a million visits a year.” Visit: griefhaven.org.

Meals on Wheels, which won a grant, also receives help from the Woman’s Club, whose members deliver meals on a weekly basis. MOW Executive Director Chris Baca said, “This grant will serve 18 people in the Palisades this next year.” He noted that an important aspect of MOW is the fact that when a delivery is made to an elderly or homebound person, this visit also serves as a check-up on the person. Visit: mealsonwheelswest.org.

Carol Sanborn and Doug McCormick accepted for the Ocean Park Community Center and the Pacific Palisades Task Force on Homelessness. Sanborn acknowledged the Woman’s Club efforts, saying “I know how hard it is to raise the money, but you touch every part of the community.” The PPTFH money goes towards the salaries of two social workers who do outreach for homeless individuals they encounter in the Palisades. Sanborn said that as of December 2018, 101 homeless individuals have come off the streets here. “Seventy-one have moved into permanent house, and we have cleared more than 85 encampments from the bluffs.” Visit: pptfh.org.

Palisades Alliance for Seniors, which was started in 2017 as a way of allowing seniors to gather on a regular basis, has evolved not only into hosting speakers twice a month at the Palisades Branch Library, but also provides a lunch once a month. Karen Stigler, one of the founders of the nonprofit, thanked the Woman’s Club and told them the Club’s annual birthday luncheon that they hold for residents of the town who are 90 and older was the inspiration for the Alliance’s birthday program. “People loved the 90th birthday celebration you do, but said they didn’t qualify,” Stigler said. Now, once a month, a birthday cake is brought in and the senior(s) is recognized. Visit: palisadesalliance.org

Gigi, the canine, may have stolen the Awards show. The nearly-blind dog, which was fostered and adopted by Mary Jane Wilcow, came up to the stage as Janie Crane explained about the Voice for the Animals Foundation. In addition to fostering and caring for abused animals, there is community outreach. The Flower District downtown was overrun by rats, but feral cats were trapped and spaded and now form the “working cats” program, which keeps the area free of vermin. Another area where “working cats” have been implemented is the Self- Realization Center. Visit: vftafoundation.org.

A mobile health center will come to Palisades High School once a month for the 2019-2020 year, thanks to a Woman’s Club grant. Westside Family Health Center Director of Development Celia Bernstein said the van goes to 10 high schools, providing kids with reproductive health services and sex education. The organization is expanding into the old LA Weekly building just off the 405 Freeway in Culver City. Visit: wfhcenter.org.


Better Angels counselor Helen Ho explained that her organization helps low-income students by providing testing aid. “This grant will fund a bi-weekly test preparation class,” said Ho, a Harvard University alumna, who noted that one student they helped last year had raised her ACT by nine points. Visit: bebetterangels.org.

Canyon Charter will use the funds to purchase art supplies, according to Leianua Anderson. “There are so many cuts in public schools to what people consider nonessential. . . but art helps students benefit in so many other academic areas,” said Anderson, who noted that all students have art once a week and celebrate the Masters.

Friends of Marquez will use their grant to fund a music program at the elementary school, which LAUSD no longer provides. Danielle Fern said that 270 children in transitional kindergarten through second grade receive music once a week because of grants such as this one.

Palisades Charter High School representative Michael Rawson said, “I feel privileged to be one of the recipients.” He explained that PaliHi exemplifies “a public education done right.” The money will be used towards removing rotten bookshelves in the library and replacing them with student work stations. “The campus was built in 1961 and it is showing a little wear and tear,” he said.

Palisades Elementary P.E.P.’s Erin Karish said the money would be used to purchase nonfiction books for the school library. “We are so grateful for the funds,” she said, noting that the library’s inventory is outdated. “The librarian said that kids who are having trouble reading gravitate to nonfiction,” said Karish, who explained said that a popular novel may have been read several years back by a peer, making the student feel they are behind. With a nonfiction, that is not the case.

The Paul Revere PRIDE booster club will use its money for student-led art projects. Artist and parent of four Elsie Sims explained that when her oldest went to Revere, she initiated a “Words to Live By” project which placed the sayings on the rain/shade barriers that connect the buildings. Next is a project to paint the retaining wall on the east side of campus. Fifty-two students submitted designs and 12 were chosen for the “Wall of Creative Voices.” Sims said that the kids “have a desire to make a difference, just like you do [the Woman’s Club].”


The Malibu Orchid Society’s award was accepted by Birute Ann Vileisis and John Delfino. The group meets the third Tuesday of every month at the Woman’s Club. “Orchids bring joy and beauty to your life,” Vileisis said, noting that the money would be used to fund the group’s annual fundraiser on Tuesday, April 16, when more than 300 orchids will be in the clubhouse. Visit: malibuorchidsociety.org.

The Pacific Palisades Garden Club grant was accepted by Mary Schulz and Barbara Marinacci. This is the 75th anniversary of the club, which is focusing its efforts this year on rehabilitating the gardens around Pierson Playhouse. “We’ve been working diligently to relocate plants and plantings,” Schulz said, noting they’ve had help from the Boy Scouts. “This grant will help pay for labor and plantings on the slope [below the theater].” Visit:pacpalgardenclub.org.

And finally, receiving the biggest laugh of the night were Village Green board members Marge and Bob Gold. In announcing the grant, Curtis said it was going to be used to prune the pear trees.  But Marge said, “No” –plans had changed. While Bob held up different visual aids, Marge said that the grant would be used to treat the three enormous tipus trees because “They get psyllids.” As she turned around to direct attention to the visual aid, she prompted Bob to turn the board, which contained a drawing of psyllid, lengthwise, because the way he was holding it, the insect looked dead. “If we do not treat psyllids, it gets sticky below the trees,” Marge said. (Editor’s note: Psyllids drop copious amounts of sticky honeydew, according to Four Seasons Tree Care.) Visit:palisadesvillagegreen.org.


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