WHY Donates $129,000 in Grants

Women Helping Youth (WHY) celebrated its 10th year by awarding $129,000 in grants to seven Los Angeles organizations that help kids in need.

Receiving money were Operation School Bell, which will purchase a new trailer enabling them to bring clothes to homeless and underserved children attending LAUSD; Mar Vista Family Center and Urban Scholar Academy will receive money for new computer labs for after-school enrichment programs; Harmony Project and PF Bresee will purchase passenger vans so that kids can travel through gang territory safely to attend musical enrichment classes; South Bay Family Clinic will purchase bilirubin analyzers and digital scales for its well-child program; and the Child and Family Center will upgrade two-way observation rooms with interactive communication technology to improve early-intervention mental health therapy.

19-WHY women + check

WHY was founded when Palisadians Jill Weintraub, Moira Tenzer and Debbie Schermer wondered how they could make a difference in the community. They came up with a simple concept: each person would give $1,000 annually to create a pool of funds with which to fund tangible projects to help children.

In 10 years, the group has donated just under $850,000 to 51 organizations and has grown to 107 members. The group is multi-generational, with many members joining on behalf of their daughters and moms.

“Our members tell us they enjoy discussing the grants each year with their daughters to share their perspectives with one another,” Tenzer said.

More than 20 women volunteer on the outreach, screening and monitoring committees. Prospective organizations are contacted in June to submit pre-applications. Based on eligibility, they are then invited to submit an additional application.

In March, members rank the order in which they would like to see the pool of money awarded and grants are presented at an April/May luncheon. A monitoring committee follows the grants for three years to ensure they are implemented as intended.

Women Helping Youth does not hold fundraisers and has no paid employees. Expenses are kept below five percent. Anyone interested in joining or applying for a grant can visit: womenhelpingyouth.org.

Left to right: Co-presidents Moira Tenzer and Jill Weintraub, Kathy Balzer (Operation School Bell), Mary Gwynn, WHY screening and WHY secretary/treasurer Debbie Schermer display the poster check given to Operation School Bell.

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