Matt Rodman Heads PAPA, the Venerable Palisades

Matt Rodman and wife Rene in last year’s Fourth of July parade.  Photo: Joanne Reich

Parade/Concert/Fireworks Committee for 2nd Year

Matthew Rodman, who has lived with his wife Rene in Pacific Palisades for more than 20 years, is once again overseeing the town’s biggest annual party on July 4.

This is his second year as president of PAPA (Palisades Americanism Parade Association), which oversees the parade, concert and fireworks.

“The biggest surprise in my first year was realizing the number of amazing people required to make the events of July 4 a success,” said Rodman, who grew up in Brentwood.

Reflecting, he said “If I could change one thing, it would be the cost. We spend too much time fundraising hundreds of thousands of dollars needed to pay for City services, security, production and of course the amazing fireworks show.” The cost for the parade, concert and fireworks is close to $200,000.

“If every community member went to the website [palisades4th.com] and made a modest contribution, it would make a huge difference for the hard-working volunteers that work tirelessly for months to raise money,” said Rodman, who has a bachelor’s degree in political science and a master’s in public administration from USC.

Last year Rodman worked to combine the different websites for the Will Rogers Run, parade and concert onto one site. “Whether you’re a runner in the 10K, a parade enthusiast, or just want to spend the evening listening to music and watching fireworks, or all the above… we want you to have a seamless experience,” he said.

Rodman, who owns a real estate investment firm in West L.A., was asked why he agreed to volunteer for such a time-consuming job that begins in earnest in January when PAPA begins holding meetings.

“I appreciate the special community that is Pacific Palisades, and I’m hopeful that newcomers to our town learn to appreciate how this small community is very special within the greater city,” Rodman said. “I grew up attending the July 4th parade, and enjoy sharing that experience with my family.”

It goes deeper than that. Rodman was an Eagle Scout in Troop 117. “I learned that giving back to my community is more important than receiving. I live by this every day, and work hard to encourage others to do the same.”

Rodman received a Golden Sparkplug award from the Pacific Palisades Community Council in 2017 for his efforts to solve traffic problems at Paul Revere Middle School.

He praises his wife and two boys: Max, a baseball player at Palisades High JV baseball team, and Spencer, who was on the PPBA’s Pony championship team this spring.  “They’re all up early with me on July 4, setting up signs, and stay up late breaking down equipment after the fireworks.”

As Rodman goes out the door to yet another meeting about raising money, he’s asked what the one thing he wished people knew about PAPA.

“There are plenty of opportunities to volunteer,” he said. “We need volunteers for the parade, including teenagers to carry banners, parents to help at the bleachers, and grandparents to help coordinate the participants. We need help at the concert and fireworks, both at the front gate and helping some attendees get to the field. Volunteers still get to see the day’s events, and it’s rewarding to be part of the production.”

To volunteer, visit palisades4th.com.

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