Woman’s Club Distributes Its Annual Grants:  $20,000 Awarded to 24 Local Nonprofits

Receipents of Woman’s Club grants were all smiles as they showed their checks.

Twenty-four local nonprofits received about $20,000 in grants at the annual Pacific Palisades Woman’s Club Awards Night on March 3.

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 fundraising events including its November home tour, a town rummage sale, a wine tasting and a fashion show.

In addition to making grants and allowing outside vendors and groups to use the Clubhouse facility on Haverford, the Woman’s Club also hosts a festive birthday party/luncheon every June for residents who are 90 and older and holds a free influenza vaccination clinic.

“The Grant Program is a mainstay of our club’s Community Outreach efforts,” President Nancy Niles said. “Through our fundraising efforts we are able to enhance the philanthropic work of numerous community nonprofit organizations.”

Grant chairs this year were Dr. Joanna Curtis and Margaux Glaser, who assemble, read the grants and distribute group names to club members. Individual members then vote to decide on grant recipients and the amount of money given in four categories: Arts and Recreation, Community and Charitable, Education, and Beautification.

“We always wish that we could fully fund every grant, since every organization is extremely worthy of grants,” Curtis said. “The work they do in our community enhance and enrich all areas. As a grant chair, I have to remain neutral. The grant committee reviews every grant to ensure that they meet our criteria and have followed the grant rules. It saddens me when we cannot award a grant.

“I do get excited when a new organization applies,” Curtis added. “I look forward to learning about them.”


Movies in the Park attendees were treated to a beautiful sunset before the movie started.

Accepting for the Los Angeles Youth Orchestra, which serves more than 120 students each season from Los Angeles, were Laura Kay Swanson and Fati Adeli. The money will be used for the partial cost of renting the Encino Community Center for 10 weekly Sunday rehearsals in fall 2020. Visit: losangelesyouthorchestra.org.

Andy Frew and David and Dominique Williams accepted for Movies in the Park, which will use the money to replace the projector bulbs and underwrite other expenses for the five movies that will be shown FREE every Saturday night in August at the Recreation Center. Visit: facebook.com/pages/category/Nonprofit-Organization/Movies-in-the-Park-Pacific-Palisades-159012677612069/

Palisades Art Association President Annette Alexakis said their grant would be used to help pay for guest speakers. Visit: paliart.org.

Daphne Gronich, Matt Rodman and Rich Wilken accepted for PAPA (Palisades Americanism Parade Association), the nonprofit responsible for organizing the Fourth of July parade, concert and fireworks show. The grant will be used to allow free admission for kids at the concert/fireworks. Visit: palisades4th.com.

Jewels Solheim and Martine Harley accepted the grant for YCL (Westside Ballet of Santa Monica), which offers ballet shows and educational programs to local public schools. This grant will be used to secure the rights for “Circus Polka” for its spring 2020 show. Visit: westsideballet.com.

Palisades-Malibu YMCA executive director Jim Kirtley accepted the award, which will be used to offer free sports performance training for all teen members.

Visit: ymcala.org › palisades-malibu


Aldersgate Retreat Center’s grant was accepted by Brenda Cowdrey, who said the money would be used to purchase furniture and planters for its new patio garden. Visit: aldersgateretreat.org.

Accepting on behalf of the Boy Scouts of America, Lee Harrison said its grant would be used to purchase a trimmer and mower as well as an extra line for the trimmer for Camp Josepho in Rustic Canyon. The items will be used to aid in brush clearance and maintaining a safe fire line. Visit: campjosepho.org.

The grant to the Erika Whitmore Godwin Foundation (Griefhaven) 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. The money will give scholarships for ongoing grief support groups for parents. Visit: griefhaven.org.

The grant for Meals on Wheels will go towards the purchase of meals that will be provided to clients living in Pacific Palisades. The award was accepted by MOW Executive Director Chris Baca and Ashley McGullam.  Visit: mealsonwheelswest.org.

Carol Sanborn accepted for the Ocean Park Community Center and the Pacific Palisades Task Force on Homelessness. This year’s grant will help fund the cost for the third year of services provided by OPCC to this community, which includes two outreach professionals (40 hours a week). The PPTFH’s approach to the homeless, which includes services, has been valuable to helping people off the streets. Visit: pptfh.org.

Palisades Alliance for Seniors, which was started in 2017 as a way to help seniors gather on a regular basis, has evolved not only into hosting speakers twice a month at the Palisades Branch Library, but also provides the chance to socialize through lunches. The grant will fund three different lunches, according to Steve Lantz and Ron Segall, who accepted the award. Visit: palisadesalliance.org

Voice for the Animals Foundation received a grant that will help fund the Elderly Companion Animal Rescue, Rehabilitation and Adoption program. Costs include spaying, neutering, vaccination and medical care associated with neglect and abuse. Visit: vftafoundation.org.

Pacific Palisades resident Celia Bernstein, the director of development for the Westside Family Health Center,  accepted the grant. The money will help fund its mobile program at Palisades Charter High School, which deals with reproductive health and sex education. The visit will be once a month during 2020-2021. Visit: wfhcenter.org.


Palisades Elementary received a grant for its Desgin Lab.

Better Angels counselor Julian Michael explained that the organization helps low-income students at Palisades High School. Started by a PaliHi grad who attended Harvard and has come back to help students, the program will use its grant to fund a biweekly test preparation class for low-income students for the ACT, as well as helping with study habits. Visit: bebetterangels.org.

Allie Torgan and Nicole Sheard accepted for Canyon Charter Elementary School.  This year’s money will be help purchase microscopes, slides, beakers, rock & mineral sets, and other science lab equipment. Visit:canyoncharter.membershiptoolkit.com/

Friends of Marquez will use their grant to fund a music program at the charter elementary school, which LAUSD no longer provides. Parents Danielle Fern and Alexys Buckner said the money will cover the cost of the music enrichment program for fifth graders, which puts on historical musicals. Visit:friendsofmarquez.com.

Palisades Charter High School representative Michael Rawson said the money would be used to repair a mosaic tile dolphin in the quad area of the school. The quad is the central gathering place for students and features a mosaic from the Class of 1995. Over the years the tiles have broken, and the mosaic is in need of cleaning and sealing. The school would also like to add the word “Charter” to the mosaic. Visit: palihigh.org.

Palisades Elementary P.E.P. representatives Erin Karish, Camille Schoenberg and John Gibbons said the money would be used for the Design Lab. The Lab provides a hands-on learning space where students use wood, metal, cardboard and other reclaimed materials. Visit: palielementary.org.

The Paul Revere PRIDE booster club will use its grant to purchase paint and supplies for art-based project, according to the parents accepting the award, who included Erin Karnish, Malika Mirkasymova and Fati Adeli. Visit: paulreverems.com.

The grant to the Lucas Scholarship Program (St. Matthew’s Parish School) will fund daily bus transportation for one week for low-income and underserved students to travel to the campus at St. Matthew’s. The LSP is a five-day S.T.E.M. workshop held for about 35 low-income middle school students. About 10-12 high school students who attended St. Matthews return as mentors/teachers.


Village Green is a private park located in the heart of Pacific Palisades.

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 and has for about 25 years. “Orchids bring joy and beauty to your life,” Vileisis said, noting that the money would be used to purchase orchids at wholesale prices from nurseries to be auctioned off at the annual fundraiser held at the clubhouse. Visit: malibuorchidsociety.org.

The Pacific Palisades Garden Club grant was accepted by Mary Schulz and Barbara Marinacci. Celebrating its 75th anniversary, the club is focusing its efforts this year on rehabilitating the gardens around Pierson Playhouse. “We’ve been working diligently to relocate plants and plantings,” said Schulz, who thanked local Boy Scouts for providing volunteer help. “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 (for the second year in a row) were Village Green board members Marge and Bob Gold. “Our park is the heart of the community and has been since 1973,” Marge said. “The park is 7,000 sq.ft. and has seven trees.”

The Village Green is a private park, maintained and sustained by a nonprofit. As Marge explained that the Woman’s Club grant would be used to trim the ficus trees, Bob wandered about on the stage with a gigantic pair of clippers.

“We plan to hire a professional to trim the trees, so this guy won’t have to do it,” Gold said. Visit:palisadesvillagegreen.org.

(Editor’s note: If the Bob and Marge Gold comedy team ever decide to hold a fundraiser, Circling the News will be the first to secure a ticket.)

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