As the “giving season” goes into full swing, longtime Palisadian and Coldwell Banker realtor Michael Edlen continued his philanthropic ways by donating $10,000 to the Los Angeles Fire Department Foundation. (Visit: supportlafd.org).
“They are trying to raise $700,000 so that 1,800 fire fighters will each have a last-resort portable fire shelter,” Edlen told Circling the News. “The other top priority now is brush-fire clearance tools: wildfire shovels and other items to help clear land more quickly. The specialized equipment allows firefighters to cut through brush and tree limbs and throw soil on flaming fuel with minimal fatigue.”
Edlen said the portable fire shelter is not a separate line item, but “If people want to specify for that purpose as I did, the LAFS Foundation Director of Development is Tara Gurlides (email@example.com or 310-552-4139).”
“This season I have been directing funds to the L.A. Fire Department Foundation for purchasing of equipment, that their budget does not accommodate,” Edlen added.
Edlen, who started his real estate business nearly 30 years ago, has donated more than $200,000 to various local organizations including the Woman’s Club, Palisades High School and other local schools and community beautification projects.
“My policy for many years has been to contribute a portion of our net commissions received to any 501(c)(3) organization a client specifies,” Edlen said. “If they do not specify any particular school or group, I direct a portion to an organization myself, often classrooms in schools in various areas of the country where their resources are much more limited, and needs are much greater for even basic supplies.”
Edlen was the main contributor from 2003 through 2017 to the Chamber of Commerce street maintenance program in the town’s main business district. This action was inspired in 2003 when L.A. City stopped providing trash-can maintenance and sidewalk, street and gutter cleaning in the village.
Edlen, whose office is located at Sunset and Carey, said: “It was not a pretty sight in our business district in the Village.”
The Palisades Chamber, under Arnie Wishnick (now deceased), set up a program to hire Chrysalis to provide street-cleaning workers. The funds were raised through donations from community members with Edlen carrying the lion’s share. For example, the cost in 2013 was $35,000 and he donated $7,000.
Edlen said last week, “My hope in letting people know of our philanthropic actions is not for aggrandizement of our team, but to inspire others to give more back to the community from which we derive our business. For many years our contributions were low-profile, but for the last 10 years we have been more visible in such efforts.
“I was very pleased when Tammy Pardee in the Venice area and Anthony Marguleas in ours began similar programs that provide support for so many people who can use the assistance,” Edlen said.