PCF Jumps to Relieve Nonprofits Serving Most Vulnerable Amid Coronavirus

In times of crisis, the Pasadena Community Foundation is ready to move.
PCF, which is dedicated to managing charitable assets and earmarking money to nonprofit organizations of all kinds, didn’t expect a deadly pandemic like coronavirus to become the crisis in question, but the Foundation was at the ready recently to distribute emergency grant funds. It has focused on relieving organizations serving seniors and distributing food and supplies to low-income individuals and families which will help fight the growing food insecurity amid economic and social distancing fallout from COVID-19.
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After Closing Doors, Noor Offers Free Soup to Seniors

Photo courtesy Noor
Noor staff prepares the distribution of its free, community soup recently. The premier events site is giving away vegetarian, hearty soups every Friday from 3-5 p.m. until it can reopen.

There’s nothing quite like soup for the soul, and during time of quarantine and social isolation, that rings true more than ever, Noor owner Robert Shahnazarian and his wife, Maggie, discovered recently.
The owners of the Pasadena-based premier event and wedding venue were recently faced with the painful task of cancelling all planned celebrations at its site and shutting down operations amid the “Safer at Home” order put in place throughout L.A. County and city of Pasadena. Like many small businesses, Noor had to furlough or lay off some employees until further notice, and that act cut deep.
They still had a large order of food perishables for an upcoming, event-filled weekend — before having to shutter its doors — and Shahnazarian eyed the remainder of his dejected staff, standing idly by. He had heard that seniors in the community, already challenged by isolation, were suffering further from food insecurity and social distancing measures, and not able to find what they needed at the grocers due to the massive hoarding seen the first few weeks of COVID-19 fears.
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Pasadena Humane Society Aids Pets During Crisis

Photo courtesy Pasadena Humane Society
A Pasadena Humane Society volunteer recently distributes food as part of its Helping Paws program, a pet food bank offering free food and supplies to animal owners in need. The nonprofit expects more people to struggle with feeding and keeping their pets amid the coronavirus fallout.

With the effects of the coronavirus trickling into every crevice of modern-day sustainability, the Pasadena Humane Society & SPCA is gearing up to help those it knows are most impacted in times of crisis: unemployed people and their pets.
Even those people who had been doing relatively well economically are expected to struggle financially because of the closures that were enacted to stem the spread of COVID-19, especially if they are part of the retail, restaurant, hotel or service industries. In times of hardship, people often need to abandon their rented homes and apartments with their beloved animals.
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Officials Brace for Possible COVID-19 Spike, Discuss Care Site Options

Photo by Mitch Lehman / Outlook
Pasadena’s Eaton Canyon Nature Center reported sizable crowds after government announcements directed people to stay home because of coronavirus concerns, but reminding them they could get out and walk.
As of Tuesday, local parks and trails remained open, although nearby cities announced closures due to overcrowding.

As occurrences of the coronavirus surged in Los Angeles County and California this week, local officials announced a doubling of Pasadena cases and expectations of a further increase, and said they are seeking alternate care sites should the patient load outpace the availability of beds as the health crisis worsens.
Huntington Hospital and the city are collaborating with local public health departments, as well as other hospitals, to identify possible sites to treat and quarantine patients, much like the county’s arrangement to use the Sheraton Fairplex Hotel in Pomona should the local health care system become overwhelmed.
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It’s Armory’s Nature to Mix Arts, Environmental Education

Photo courtesy Armory Center for the Arts
A PUSD 4th-grader studiously creates an image of what she has found along the trail during an Armory Center for the Arts field trip — part of the center’s Children Investigate the Environment program, a flagship partnership that has helped create environmentally conscious residents for 34 years.

On a crisp winter morning, Longfellow Elementary School student Milan Tate extended her hand, palm down, to gently sweep the overgrown buckwheat teasing the trail along the Lower Arroyo Seco as she followed her classmates — a surprisingly silent contingent of 10-year-olds — on a field trip with the Armory Center for the Arts. Continue reading “It’s Armory’s Nature to Mix Arts, Environmental Education”

Humane Society Fosters New Ways to Match People, Pooches

Photo courtesy William Kidston
Dia DuVernet, pictured with her dog Sueshi, joined the Pasadena Humane Society as president/CEO in June and plans to lead the nonprofit, founded in 1903, to the next level in animal welfare.

For families who’ve never taken the plunge, the idea of adopting an unknown shelter dog — with unknown experiences and behaviors — can be so nerve wracking that some simply go the puppy route, believing success will more likely result from raising a canine from scratch.
Well, the Pasadena Humane Society & SPCA has a new plan for nervous, potential new parents, giving them one more reason to consider adopting a four-legged forever friend from the preeminent animal welfare organization in the San Gabriel Valley and help save one of the thousands of homeless creatures that pass through its doors each year.
And if you’re not prepared to take on the responsibilities of a full-time dog owner, that’s OK, too. There’s still a way to enjoy the company of a furry companion and give a homeless dog a break from the stressful shelter environment.
The new sleepover program, in which volunteers take a dog home for two nights or more, has become a resounding success for families and pooches alike. Continue reading “Humane Society Fosters New Ways to Match People, Pooches”

CEO’s Talents Find Expression at Inner-City Arts School

Inner-City Arts President and CEO Bob Smiland has taken arts education for L.A. public school students to new heights, fundraising about 95% of the school’s $5 million budget.

It might appear to be out of place, the gleaming-white art school nestled in the heart of skid row and its ever-growing population. Nevertheless, Inner-City Arts has been a beacon of light for up to 10,000 children who pass through its wrought-iron gates each year, offering students from urban public schools the chance to explore their potential — and possible careers — through the arts, learning from top-notch professionals along the way. Continue reading “CEO’s Talents Find Expression at Inner-City Arts School”

Westmoreland Meets Its Students’ Learning Challenges

Westmoreland Academy Education Director Nicholas Pinto and Shawn Prokopec, managing director of the nonprofit Institute for the Redesign of Learning, are helping to bring cutting-edge technology and a research-based, specialized curriculum to students with autism spectrum disorders.

Scott and Maggie Jurgensen can recall the exact moment they realized that their daughter, Isabella, was in love with her new school, Pasadena’s Westmoreland Academy, owned by the Institute for the Redesign of Learning nonprofit organization. Continue reading “Westmoreland Meets Its Students’ Learning Challenges”

Villa Esperanza Works to Find Jobs for Special-Needs Adults

Villa Esperanza Services program supervisor Perla Moran (left) has helped Danny Chan find new purpose and confidence through his job at the Huntington Library’s noodle house, with support and advocacy from Villa staff and CEO Kelly White.

Before coming to Villa Esperanza Services, Danny Chan didn’t think he could ever work, feel smart or appreciated, or make good friends.
But Chan, 40, has learned this past year that anyone, at any age, can begin a new chapter. Continue reading “Villa Esperanza Works to Find Jobs for Special-Needs Adults”