Local Nonprofits Benefit When the Optimist Club Hands Out Grants from Will Rogers Race Proceeds

Annually, nearly 3,000 runners/walkers participate in the Will Roger 5/10K race. 
Photo: Shelby Pascoe

When runners pay the entry fee and run in the annual 5/10K Will Rogers Race, they help support nonprofits and other organizations affiliated with Pacific Palisades.

For the past 43 years, Palisades Optimist Club members have volunteered with registration on the day of the race and handed out water and T-shirts after the race. Days before the race, the Optimists hand out race bib numbers and pens to those who have registered.

Afterwards, when the race permit fees and other expenses have been paid, the Will Rogers Race Foundation, in conjunction with the Optimist Club, awards grants to local organizations.

In a June 25 letter to Race Director Brian Shea,  Optimist Club president Rick DeWeese wrote: “This letter is to thank the Palisades Will Rogers 5/10K Run Foundation for their generous $30,000 contribution to the Optimist Club of Pacific Palisades. Because of your thoughtful gift, the Optimist Foundation and Optimist Club Grant Committee are able to continue to provide grants to our various recipients.”

Those interested in receiving money must fill out an application, which is then reviewed by a committee. Optimist Club grant chairman Jody Marguleas has announced the grant recipients for 2020:

  1. Better Angels, Inc., a nonprofit that works with Palisades High Schools students and is dedicated to educating and supporting motivated, low-income students throughout the college application process, during college and beyond. (Visit: bebetterangels.org)
  2. Bryan’s Smile is dedicated to educating kids about addiction, drugs, self-esteem and consequences of poor choices. The nonprofit was formed after a tragedy suffered by a local family, in which their son was lost to an overdose. (Visit: bryanssmile.com)
  3. Golden Glove was founded to collect used baseball gear from local youth, who had outgrown it, and distribute it to young baseball players in lower economic communities.
  4. The Optimist Essay and Oratorical contests, which award monetary prizes to students. The grant also pays judges’ fees for the oratorical contest. (Visit: Palisadesoptimistclub.com)
  5. Optimist Youth Homes & Family Services, which provide individualized treatment, education and support services for children and young adults, who may have had trouble. (Visit: oyhfs.org)
  6. The Optimist Foundation, which annually provides two $2,000 scholarships to college-bound seniors from Palisades High.
  7. Marquez Elementary School Robotics works to get more children interested in STEM through science, engineering and programming. The VEX IQ Robotics program fosters lifelong skills.
  8. The Palisades Americanism Parade Association, which sponsors the annual Fourth of July celebration, as well as the evening concert and fireworks. (Visit: Palisades4th.com)
  9. Pacific Palisades Baseball Association receives money to help maintain the Field of Dreams at the Recreation Center and provide uniforms for a team of twelve.
  10. Palisades Enrichment Programs at Palisades Elementary funds additional teachers to significantly reduce class size, teacher aides, physical education, computer lab, drama and music teachers.
  11. Palisades High School donations include:The wrestling team, to help cover travel expenses and tournament entry fees for the spring and summer wrestling seasons; the Ambassadors, who volunteer in the local community with service event support, school tutors and any other aid they can provide; and helping to fund Career Day.PaliHi Special Ed requested funds to purchase power bars for students who arrive too late for breakfast and as rewards for its autistic spectrum students and special ed students.The Booster Club, which has supported the high school for 57 years, wherever financial assistance is needed, whether it be academic or athletic, received a grant. Visit: Palihigh.org.
  12. Funds were requested by the Presbyterian Church to support youth programs and the Optimist Club’s access to meeting rooms
  13. Roads to the Future, a visiting speaker series for Paul Revere Middle School students.
  14. The STAR Program, located at Palisades Charter Elementary, Marquez Charter Elementary and Canyon Charter Elementary, provides after-school care: no child is turned away. “These funds will be used to purchase four computers to continue to build on our LEGO Education coding lessons.
  15. The Village Green, a private park in the middle of Pacific Palisades that is open to the public, with maintenance entirely funded by private donations. (Visit: palisadesvillagegreen.org)

Marge and Bob Gold accepted a grant for the Palisades Village Green from Optimist Club member Peter Scolney last year.

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