Category Archives: Charity

Grandpoint Bank donates $10,000 to U.S. Vets

U.S. Vets intranet

Members of our staff recently toured the Long Beach campus of U.S. Vets, an organization dedicated to helping veterans and their families make a successful transition to civilian life by providing housing, counseling, career development and comprehensive support. Our visit included the presentation of a $10,000 donation to the organization.

According to U.S. Vets, about 50,000 vets in our nation are homeless – men and women who have served valiantly for our country and now find themselves sleeping on the streets.

“Beyond the essentials, what I saw during our visit is that U.S. Vets is giving veterans back their self-respect,” says Darlene Esquerra, Senior Vice President & Community Development Office of Grandpoint Bank. “Everyone is treated with kindness by staff members and volunteers, who, in many cases, have had the same experiences as the veterans.”

U.S. Vets is the largest organization of its kind addressing the needs of homeless and at-risk veterans and their families in the U.S. Their Long Beach facility is located on 25 acres of former Naval housing and offers a variety of permanent and transitional housing – including a building for women veterans with up to two children and housing for homeless vets — dining facilities, community center, clinic, classrooms, recreational facilities and even an urban forest where residents can pick fruits and vegetables.

“Grandpoint Bank’s support of our programs across Southern California makes it possible for us to fill the gaps and really meet the unique needs of each one of the veterans we serve,” said Laney Kapgan, Vice President of Development and Communications for U.S. Vets. “With more service men and women coming home than ever before, this investment will help us continue to expand not only housing but also key employment and mental health programs for our veterans.”

Grandpoint was introduced to U.S. Vets through our Executive Vice President and CCO Mark Phillips, who struck up a conversation with U.S. Vets National Director of Programs, Larry Williams, on an airplane. Mark was so impressed with the program, he referred the information for consideration as a Grandpoint Bank Community Reinvestment Act-qualified donation. The rest, as they say, is history.

You can find more information about U.S. Vets on their website usvetsinc.org.

We’re proud to salute U.S. Vets for helping so many vets and their families, and we thank all the members of our armed services, past and present, for their dedication and selflessness.

screen-shot-2016-09-28-at-7-28-21-pm

fbtwitterLinkedIngp

Your Small Business Fairy Godmother: Pacific Coast Regional Small Business Development Corporation

Ross_David_portrait

At Grandpoint Bank, we’re proud to have many interesting people on our team, and interesting people like to get involved with interesting organizations. David Ross’ chairmanship of Pacific Coast Regional Small Business Development Center (PCR) is a great example.

David is executive vice president and chief credit officer of the Bank. In that role, he’s provided services to many Southern California businesses, which was part of the appeal for him with PCR.

“It’s important that people get the assistance they need to know how to run a business and everything that goes with it,” said David. Remarkably, the lion’s share of that assistance is available for free from PCR.

Knowing PCR’s good work was “worthy of support,” David first joined the board in 2012. During his tenure, the board and staff have reflected the same diversity of the predominantly minority business owners served by the organization, including women.

“Our board is a mixture of many backgrounds, which provides important perspectives,” said David.

Business owners, whether new to the game or serial entrepreneurs, can access training and consulting sessions focused on QuickBooks, social media, web design, business plan development, record keeping, legal matters and more.

PCR can also assist with business loans. If a business doesn’t qualify outright for a loan with its bank, that bank can obtain a government guarantee on that loan from PCR. PCR can also direct business owners to banks where they have working relationships, like Grandpoint Bank, if the owner is seeking a loan, with or without the government guaranteed loan assistance. PCR only loans directly through the Small Business Administration (SBA) loan program. More information about the loan assistance services provided by PCR can be found on its website.

Many small business assistance centers handle California guaranteed loan programs, but PCR is one of the few that has expanded its offerings to serve local business owners and aspiring entrepreneurs in the multiple ways they need support the most. For 40 years, PCR has been a tremendous resource for people throughout Southern California, and even statewide.

One remarkable business assistance program that PCR pioneered is the Business Interruption Fund. As most Los Angelenos know, LA Metro has been building an extensive light rail system. During the red line construction, many businesses were adversely impacted and lost significant revenue.

Subsequently, Metro put several million dollars into its budget to fund grants and selected PCR to manage the grant process. Small businesses demonstrating disruption impact are eligible for a grant to cover lost funds.

The Business Interruption Fund has become a model for the state and nation. The program’s manager was hosted by LA Metro at the national transportation conference in Detroit, and PCR was contacted by Israel, whose leaders are looking to start a similar program. PCR also sends people out through disruption areas to let business owners know about the fund and the educational programs offered through PCR.

We salute PCR’s and David’s work to reinvest in our communities and in people who are bringing their entrepreneurial dreams to life.

fdic

fbtwitterLinkedIngp

Grandpoint Bank Makes $500,000 Equity Investment in Clearinghouse CDFI

Clearinghouse CDFI

As a community-focused bank, we are committed to helping build strong, stable businesses that create jobs, provide services and support healthy communities. In keeping with that mission, Grandpoint Bank has made a $500,000 equity investment in the Clearinghouse Community Development Financial Institution (Clearinghouse CDFIscreen-shot-2016-09-13-at-11-07-51-am). This investment will help Clearinghouse CDFI continue to provide community development lending in underserved communities in Southern California and Arizona.

“CDFI has the expertise and experience to identify critical needs in low-income and distressed communities and to create responsive and innovative solutions that make a real difference in people’s lives,” says Darlene Esquerra, Senior Vice President and Community Development Officer. “This relationship made perfect sense for Grandpoint, since Clearinghouse CDFI offers economic opportunities in so many of the same markets that we serve. Our investment will benefit these communities while supporting our overall community outreach program.”

Grandpoint Bank and 49 other financial institutions are “impact partners” whose investments increase Clearinghouse CDFI’s capacity to continue meeting unmet credit needs. At September 30, 2016, the institution had total assets of $339 million under management.

“We are thrilled to welcome Grandpoint Bank to our list of strong community partners,” said Douglas Bystry, Clearinghouse CDFI President and CEO. “We appreciate their significant investment in Clearinghouse CDFI and their mutual commitment to revitalizing our local communities.”

Over the course of 20 years, Clearinghouse CDFI has funded $1.4 billion in loans for over 1,780 projects, which have created or retained more than 16,000 jobs and benefit over 1.4 million individuals.

“This partnership is exciting, and it is a perfect fit with our bank’s community reinvestment act (CRA) strategy to give back to our communities in ways that are truly meaningful,” says Cynthia Mendoza, Senior Vice President and Compliance & CRA Officer.

Recipients of Clearinghouse CDFI financing include community facilities, affordable housing, commercial real estate, and small businesses. Additionally, Clearinghouse CDFI is one of largest participants in the New Market Tax Credit (NMTC) Program, with over $473 million of NMTC allocation deployed throughout California and Nevada. The NMTC Program helps economically distressed communities attract private capital by providing a Federal tax credit to investors.

Visit the Clearinghouse CDFI website here.screen-shot-2016-09-13-at-11-07-51-am

screen-shot-2016-09-28-at-7-28-21-pm__________________________________________________________________________________________________

screen-shot-2016-09-13-at-11-07-51-amLinking to Non-Grandpoint Bank Websites
This icon appears next to every link that directs to a third party website not affiliated with Grandpoint Bank. Please be advised that if you click this link you will be taken to a website hosted by another party, where you will no longer be subject to, or under the protection of, the privacy and security policies of Grandpoint Bank. We recommend that you review and evaluate the privacy and security policies of the site that you are entering. Grandpoint Bank assumes no liability for the content, information, security, policies or transactions provided by these other sites.

fbtwitterLinkedIngp

Helping Concept 7 Give Gifts to Foster Kids is Part of Our Holiday Tradition

img_0996
Concept 7screen-shot-2016-09-13-at-11-07-51-am
is one of the wonderful philanthropic organizations Grandpoint Bank supports in the communities we serve. Through 40 years of exceptional services, shaped in response to the needs of abused and neglected youth and to the best practices of care, Concept 7, a fostering and adoption agency in Los Angeles, provides a continuum of family-centered treatment and support-related programs. Concept 7 offers services to over 1,500 youth and families annually.

Concept 7 was founded on the idea that effective programs to heal must include the seven concepts of rescue, recognition, relationship, responsibility, respect, resolution and renewal.

To celebrate the holidays, Grandpoint Bank’s Orange office has teamed up with Concept 7 again this year to purchase gifts for foster children. During the first few weeks of December, the Grandpoint team fulfills holiday wishes of many Concept 7 foster children, who range in age from infants to teens.

We invite our clients, friends and neighbors who would like to donate gifts to contact Concept 7 to design a giving program that fits your interests.

The Concept 7 staff can provide you with a detailed account of several gift ideas for each child in need, accompanied by their favorite stores and colors, as well as their clothing and shoe sizes so that donors can select the perfect gift to light up their holiday.

And if you can’t give now, Concept 7 and the children and families it serves are in need of gifts and support throughout the year. This includes a need for volunteers. Volunteers provide supportive services to augment the Foster Care and Clinical Services programs. Opportunities include tutoring, transportation, clerical support, mentoring, child care providers and social worker assistant.

Happy holidays!

Concept 7
(323) 838-9566
www.concept7.orgscreen-shot-2016-09-13-at-11-07-51-am

screen-shot-2016-09-28-at-7-28-21-pm__________________________________________________________________________________________________

screen-shot-2016-09-13-at-11-07-51-amLinking to Non-Grandpoint Bank Websites
This icon appears next to every link that directs to a third party website not affiliated with Grandpoint Bank. Please be advised that if you click this link you will be taken to a website hosted by another party, where you will no longer be subject to, or under the protection of, the privacy and security policies of Grandpoint Bank. We recommend that you review and evaluate the privacy and security policies of the site that you are entering. Grandpoint Bank assumes no liability for the content, information, security, policies or transactions provided by these other sites.

fbtwitterLinkedIngp

Grandpoint Bank Teams Up with Junior Achievement for JA Finance Park

Grandpoint Bank_FP Group_05192016

If you’re a Grandpoint client, you probably already know that we really enjoy providing advice and resources to help our clients’ businesses succeed. On May 19, a handful of Grandpoint professionals had the chance to spend nearly the entire day doing just that…only our “clients” were a lot younger than usual.

We worked with some of the 120 high school juniors and seniors of Lennox Academy↗ who were attending Junior Achievement of Southern California’s↗ JA Finance Park as they assumed the role of “adult for the day.” Through the Finance Park program, students are challenged to learn about and navigate the world of personal finance with some help from adult mentor volunteers.  Each mentor works with a small group of students after receiving training from Junior Achievement staff immediately before the Finance Park event.

The simulation exercise teaches the students about financial concepts like banking, budgets, careers, credit, debt, interest rates, income, investments, taxes and more. Our Grandpoint Bank team members were each paired up with about four students, and we helped them allocate the budgets they were given. The students’ challenge was to secure the goods and services they needed to support their fictional profiles. The students’ assigned personas include details about their fictional career, family situation, salary, credit score, debt, and financial obligations. With assistance from their mentors, they then use and manage their finances accordingly.

Grandpoint Bank_FP Candid 5_05192016In preparation for the simulation event, the students had taken part in a 14-lesson classroom curriculum, taught by their teacher. They had preparation courses focused on four categories: income; savings, investing and risk management; debit and credit; and budget.

The simulation takes place in a mini city, complete with branded stores and kiosks, donated by real-world companies.

Stretching their budgets was the biggest challenge for the kids we worked with, and it was a very eye-opening experience when they realized that it could be tough to live within their assigned means. They had to scale back their choice of housing, cars and incidentals. Realizing the costs and variety of utilities they needed to cover was another shock for them.

“We saw that this exercise really helps the students realize what their parents go through,” said Darlene Esquerra, one of our senior vice presidents and institutional banking manager. “You see the lights go off in their heads when they understand what it means to have to buy things for everyone in the family.”

Under the rules of Finance Park, the kids have to address each category of finance. “During the savings component, the kids learned to save some from each pay check, but they had to balance that with essentials like purchasing insurance for themselves and their family,” Darlene added.

Everyone at Grandpoint and its division banks have enjoyed the Junior Achievement experience so much, that we now participate with Junior Achievement in each of the markets where we operate banks, including Los Angeles, Orange County, San Diego, Phoenix, Tucson and Vancouver, Washington.

“We feel like this is a great investment in our communities and in the next generation,” said Darlene. “We’re also talking to Junior Achievement about expanding our partnership in the coming years.”

To learn more about how you can get involved with Junior Achievement, contact their Southern California office or their local office in your market.

screen-shot-2016-09-28-at-7-28-21-pm


↗ Linking to Non-Grandpoint Bank Websites
This icon appears next to every link that directs to a third party website not affiliated with Grandpoint Bank. Please be advised that if you click this link you will be taken to a website hosted by another party, where you will no longer be subject to, or under the protection of, the privacy and security policies of Grandpoint Bank. We recommend that you review and evaluate the privacy and security policies of the site that you are entering. Grandpoint Bank assumes no liability for the content, information, security, policies or transactions provided by these other sites.

fbtwitterLinkedIngp

Pacific Coast Regional – Help for Small Businesses and Entrepreneurs

PCR logo w name

If you haven’t heard of Pacific Coast Regional Small Business Development Corporation (PCR), today may be your lucky day. The organization’s dedicated staff, led by CEO Mark Robertson, want to help you and your business. They do this primarily by offering classes for small business owners and entrepreneurs and by helping small businesses get the loans they need to accomplish their goals.

PCR, located in the Koreatown neighborhood of downtown Los Angeles, offers each of their small business development center (SBDC) classes every one to two months throughout the year. Want expert instruction about business development or management? Legal or financing issues? Marketing? Accounting? Quickbooks? Check out the PCR website↗ to see the latest training schedule for these classes and more. The sessions are very reasonably priced and are taught by experts.

Perhaps you want a one-on-one consultation with an expert about your business plan or your social media strategy? Believe it or not, PCR offers business consulting services for free. All you need to do is set up an appointment, which you can do online.↗

PCR is also an invaluable resource if you’re thinking of applying for a business loan. If you can’t quite meet all of your bank’s lending requirements, PCR will work with one of its network banks, including Grandpoint Bank, to co-sign with the borrower. This is possible by virtue of the California Small Business Loan Guarantee program↗ (SPLGP)

As one of nine state certified Financial Development Corporations, and a U.S. Treasury-certified community development financial institution (CDFI), PCR can provide up to an 80% loan guarantee (or a maximum of $2.5 million) to the bank to help you get the loan you need.  Any small business has the chance to qualify as long as it meets the standard SBA definition of a small business. “PCR not only facilitates loans, but sometimes a loan will be contingent on the business owner taking classes offered at PCR,” said David Ross, PCR chairman and Executive Vice President and Chief Credit Officer at Grandpoint Bank. “While the loan may provide the boost, the classes provide instruction for long-term success.”

In addition to its federal CDFI designation, PCR is one of less than 100 State of California-certified CDFIs and the only SBDC in Los Angeles County with internal lending capacity.

As such, and thanks to a generous $500,000 grant made by Comerica Bank in 2006, PCR can make micro-loans valued at $25,000 or less on its own.

PCR can also access a revolving loan fund of $3 million from the U.S. Department of Commerce Economic Development Administration, which allows Mark and his team to provide loans of up to $650,000 to qualified applicants.

“We hope our customers will graduate into a regular banking relationship, but the services and small loans we can provide in the interim help them to do that,” said Mark. Truly a one-stop-shop for Los Angeles County small businesses, PCR’s newest program helps businesses located along transportation corridors experiencing construction disruptions. While the public transportation upgrades driving the construction will eventually be a boon to these area businesses, Los Angeles County Metro realized that small businesses in particular may suffer during construction, so they teamed up with PCR to find a solution.

As a result, Metro’s Business Interruption Fund↗ is a $10 million grant fund that can provide grants up to $50,000 for revenue lost due to construction. During the 10 months the program has been operational so far, 104 grants were made for just under $2 million total.  In addition, PCR reports that they’ve received calls from several other transit and utility authorities from around the state and beyond contemplating similar programs and seeking advice.

With so many valuable programs, Mark estimates that PCR helps approximately 1,300 small businesses each year. As you might expect, he’s gotten a good sense of what it takes to succeed in business.

“Having expertise in the field you’re pursuing and gathering the right team of necessary experts, is the most essential component,” he said. “Also important is a desire to work extremely hard, a willingness to sacrifice and adequate capitalization.”

If you’ve already found success in business but want to help others do the same, PCR offers two ways to volunteer. Bankers and financiers are always needed to participate on PCR’s loan committee to help review and approve transactions. Or, you may be able to serve on the advisory board to provide advice and support for PCR’s small business development center.

The Small Business Administration funds part of the small business development center, and additional funds come through class fees and corporate sponsorships.

“We’ve been a sponsor of PCR since Grandpoint Bank was founded,” said David. “I’ve also served on the PCR board of directors since 2011 and on one of their loan committees before that. I find it very fulfilling working with this organization and seeing the companies they helped launch that are still going strong.”

In fact, David is fortunate to have a great frozen dessert shop in his neighborhood that received a loan and coaching from PCR 15 years ago. It’s still operated by the same owner, and like so many other PCR clients, that owner is creating jobs and contributing to the Southern California economy.

We’re proud to be affiliated with PCR, and we encourage you to take advantage of their programs and share this information with others.

screen-shot-2016-09-28-at-7-28-21-pm


↗ Linking to Non-Grandpoint Bank Websites
This icon appears next to every link that directs to a third party website not affiliated with Grandpoint Bank. Please be advised that if you click this link you will be taken to a website hosted by another party, where you will no longer be subject to, or under the protection of, the privacy and security policies of Grandpoint Bank. We recommend that you review and evaluate the privacy and security policies of the site that you are entering. Grandpoint Bank assumes no liability for the content, information, security, policies or transactions provided by these other sites.

fbtwitterLinkedIngp

Grandpoint Bank Continues Partnership with Concept 7 to Give Gifts to Foster Kids

Concept7Concept 7↗ is one of the wonderful philanthropic organizations Grandpoint Bank supports in the communities we serve. Through 40 years of exceptional services, shaped in response to the needs of abused and neglected youth and to the best practices of care, Concept 7, a fostering and adoption agency in Los Angeles, provides a continuum of family-centered treatment and support-related programs. Concept 7 offers services to over 1,500 youth and families annually.

Concept 7 was founded on the idea that effective programs to heal must include the seven concepts of rescue, recognition, relationship, responsibility, respect, resolution and renewal.

To celebrate the holidays, Grandpoint Bank has teamed up with Concept 7 again this year to purchase gifts for foster children. During the first few weeks of December, the Grandpoint team fulfills holiday wishes of many Concept 7 foster children, who range in age from infants to teens.

We invite our clients, friends and neighbors who would like to donate gifts to contact Concept 7 to design a giving program that fits your interests.

The Concept 7 staff can provide you with a detailed account of several gift ideas for each child in need, accompanied by their favorite stores and colors, as well as their clothing and shoe sizes so that donors can select the perfect gift to light up their holiday.

And if you can’t give now, Concept 7 and the children and families it serves are in need of gifts and support throughout the year.

Happy holidays!

Concept 7
(562) 236-8200
www.concept7.org↗

screen-shot-2016-09-28-at-7-28-21-pm


↗ Linking to Non-Grandpoint Bank Websites
This icon appears next to every link that directs to a third party website not affiliated with Grandpoint Bank. Please be advised that if you click this link you will be taken to a website hosted by another party, where you will no longer be subject to, or under the protection of, the privacy and security policies of Grandpoint Bank. We recommend that you review and evaluate the privacy and security policies of the site that you are entering. Grandpoint Bank assumes no liability for the content, information, security, policies or transactions provided by these other sites.

fbtwitterLinkedIngp

Grandpoint Bank’s Tom Turner Joins Board of CASA of Los Angeles

image003Tom Turner, Grandpoint Bank’s Senior Vice President – Special Assets Manager, still remembers the smell of MacLaren Hall, the child protection institution where he was housed for part of his time in the Los Angeles County foster care system. After six decades in operation, MacLaren Hall closed in 2003, but Tom’s memory of it reflects the stress experienced by children who are removed from their homes and brought to an unfamiliar place. For Tom, it’s something he’ll never forget.

Tom has always been a go-getter, so he put himself through college by serving in the Army for three years and then using the GI Bill to fund his education. From there, he went on to build a rewarding career in banking.

That determination has carried over into other parts of his life too. Just as he’s a go-getter in his career, Tom’s not content to sit by and rely on others to make a difference for those in need. Tom saw the chance to step up and help children in the Los Angeles County foster care system; children to whom he can relate. He found that opportunity through CASA of Los Angeles,↗ which stands for Court Appointed Special Advocates.

casa_h_MontereyPark_CA_redblue_R_alt_rgb

Volunteers with CASA of Los Angeles advocate for safety, permanency and well-being for abused and neglected children. A CASA volunteer is often the sole consistent adult anchor for foster children. According to KidsData.org,↗ more than 20,000 children are currently in foster care in Los Angeles County.

Tom and his wife’s first involvement with CASA was through the organization’s Glamour Gowns and Suit Up event, which has garnered national coverage, thanks to CNN. Each year, hundreds of children in foster care and group homes in Los Angeles and beyond come to the top floor of the convention center to select dresses, shoes and purses (for the girls) or shoes, belts, socks and suit components (for the boys.) The dresses are donated primarily from nearby film and television studios, and the children can use the formal clothes for proms, special occasions or even interviews. Tom helped with event logistics and his wife Patricia volunteered as a seamstress. Both were at the convention center from early morning until 7:00 at night.

Tom wanted to give more of his time and efforts, though, and so that’s what he set about doing. After a half dozen formal interviews and phone calls, as well as a thorough background check, he was invited to join the board↗ of CASA of Los Angeles for a three-year term. In addition to serving as a board member, Tom is part of CASA’s finance committee, advising CASA about financial projections, budgets and more. He’s also an important example to the children who CASA serves.

“I want to give kids the confidence that they can do it, because I did it,” said Tom. “And, if there’s one thing I want potential CASA volunteers to know, it’s that most of these kids are in the foster system through no fault of their own and that their hearts are pure – pure, but in need of protecting.”

Tom is quick to sing the praises of CASA and its staff and volunteers. He’s happy to talk to anyone who wants to know more about how to help foster kids. CASA of Los Angeles is always looking for more advocates and volunteers. It also provides opportunities to sponsor and support events, as Grandpoint Bank has done, or to donate money directly to the nonprofit organization. Contact Tom at Grandpoint Bank’s headquarters office or visit the CASA of Los Angeles website↗ to find out more.

screen-shot-2016-09-28-at-7-28-21-pm


↗ Linking to Non-Grandpoint Bank Websites
This icon appears next to every link that directs to a third party website not affiliated with Grandpoint Bank. Please be advised that if you click this link you will be taken to a website hosted by another party, where you will no longer be subject to, or under the protection of, the privacy and security policies of Grandpoint Bank. We recommend that you review and evaluate the privacy and security policies of the site that you are entering. Grandpoint Bank assumes no liability for the content, information, security, policies or transactions provided by these other sites.

fbtwitterLinkedIngp

Mychal’s Learning Place – Seeing Opportunity in Developmental Challenges

 mychals-logo-V2 copy

When Grandpoint Bank’s Senior Vice President Ed Myska was asked to be on the board of Mychal’s Learning Place↗, he thought, ‘oh no, not another board position.’ Three years of board membership later, Ed raves about the work, leadership and vision of Mychal’s, as well as its founder, Ed Lynch, whom he credits and jokingly blames for convincing him to join the board.

Ed Myska says Mychal’s Learning Place has a fantastic, cohesive board that really cares about the students who are served and a skilled leader in board chair Suzanne Curtin. “I had a vision to start Mychal’s,” said Ed Lynch, “but you have to surround yourself with people who can make it happen.”

Ed Lynch founded Mychal’s Learning Place after losing his daughter, Mychal, who had physical and developmental challenges. Mychal was the light of Ed’s life, but one thing he could not give her was a program where she could have access to the same friendships, skills development and independence that so many people take for granted. Sadly, Ed never found somewhere he was comfortable leaving Mychal to spend time.

After Mychal passed, Ed devoted his life’s work to creating a place where individuals with developmental disabilities could fit in; a place that’s nurturing and caring and doesn’t see the disability. Now with two locations and more than 100 individuals enrolled in the learning centers’ programs, Mychal’s Learning Place has a sizable waiting list for its services. While the will and vision exist to offer resources to everyone, the organization is hampered only by the lack of funding necessary to expand.

“We receive 60 percent of our funding from the State of California,” said Ed Lynch, “but the rest comes from donors and our fundraising events.”

Next up for Mychal’s fundraiser events is the annual poker tournament↗ on the evening of October 17. Anyone can participate in the tournament, which is held at Mychal’s Hawthorne facility and is expected to attract approximately 80 to 90 players trying to outwit and outplay each other for a good cause. Mychal’s Learning Place art show↗ on December 5 is another popular fundraiser.

kitty-perch-logoWhile the kindness of friends and strangers is tremendously important to rounding out the Mychal’s Learning Place budget, Ed Lynch and his board got creative in finding a way to generate additional revenue for the organization while also helping to fulfill part of its mission: to teach useful life skills to the students enrolled in its programs. This is how Kitty Perch↗ was born.

After securing help from a professional designer who volunteered his time to refine the design of Kitty Perch and securing donations for plywood and carpet, Mychal’s Learning Place was able to integrate Kitty Perch – a double-platform climbing and clawing structure for cats – into its life skills classes. Students at Mychal’s learn a marketable skill in constructing and packaging the Kitty Perches, and the revenues help fund programs at Mychal’s.

People living in the Los Angeles environs might want to follow Mychal’s Learning Place’s Facebook page↗ to be among the first to see and track the soon-to-debut mobile coffee cart – made from a transformed VW bus. The coffee cart, which will travel to farmer’s markets, festivals, parks and more, will be staffed by two shifts of developmentally-challenged students from Mychal’s Learning Center, seven days a week, creating eight to 14 jobs.

The Mychal’s Learning Place founder envisions a world where developmentally disabled people are fully integrated into the community and workforce. At Mychal’s Learning Place, students ranging from school age to 30 learn useful life and employment skills like cooking, shopping, navigating transportation systems, managing finances, computing and more. Students even have access to job placement services.

A parent of one of Mychal’s Learning Place’s students supplied the following testimonial:

“All of these activities are doors that have opened to my son that are normally closed to special needs kids. What is even better, his mom and dad aren’t taking him to all of these places and hovering over him, which gives him the sense of independence teens of any ability crave and need.”

Services at Mychal’s Learning Place are provided free of charge to the students. “Probably 80 to 90 percent of our students’ families wouldn’t be able to afford these services,” said Ed Lynch. “It’s so important for all of our students to have access to our program, because too many developmentally-challenged people just sit in front of the television for lack of other resources instead of having the chance to become the independent people they want to and can be.”

With help from a Grandpoint Bank loan, Mychal’s Learning Place has a permanent 10,000-square-foot facility↗ in Hawthorne, complete with a gym, music room, art studio, kitchen and more. Ed Lynch and his board hope to find a permanent home for their Culver City facility as well, which is currently housed in space rented from a church.

Both Eds feel like their work with Mychal’s is “incredibly gratifying.” Ed Lynch says that he and his board are committed to solidifying the legacy of the Mychal’s Learning Place family and making sure it’s available to many generations of students to come.

As for our Ed Myska, well, he says that when it comes to fundraising and board member recruitment, he’s good at getting people to say yes.

If you want to make the Eds’ jobs a bit easier, you can find out how to donate or get involved with Mychal’s Learning Place here.↗

screen-shot-2016-09-28-at-7-28-21-pm


↗ Linking to Non-Grandpoint Bank Websites
This icon appears next to every link that directs to a third party website not affiliated with Grandpoint Bank. Please be advised that if you click this link you will be taken to a website hosted by another party, where you will no longer be subject to, or under the protection of, the privacy and security policies of Grandpoint Bank. We recommend that you review and evaluate the privacy and security policies of the site that you are entering. Grandpoint Bank assumes no liability for the content, information, security, policies or transactions provided by these other sites.

fbtwitterLinkedIngp