What is Giving in L.A.?

Giving in LA Giving in L.A. is a go-to source, an aggregator for strategies and points of view about trends and issues in giving, challenges for philanthropists and philanthropic organizations, tools and techniques for individuals or families, insights and opinions from experts, and more – all centered on Los Angeles County.

December 18, 2013 ~ 0 Comments

Protecting the Vulnerable: The Los Angeles County Elder Abuse Forensic Center

By Rose Veniegas

Imagine: Mrs. White, a 73-year-old widow with Parkinson’s, hypertension, diabetes and a history of stroke, is cared for by her son. She was admitted to the hospital after she fell down and lay on the floor for 36 hours before being brought to the emergency room by her neighbor.

Unfortunately, stories of elder abuse, both physical and financial are all too common in the city of Los Angeles where there are more than 380,000 elder individuals.

The Los Angeles County Elder Abuse Forensic Center (LACEAFC) is a multidisciplinary, multi-agency team of professionals that protects vulnerable elders and dependent adults from abuse and neglect. The team, comprised of a geriatrician, forensic neuropsychologist, Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office, LAPD, LA Sheriff’s Department, GENESIS mental health services, LA County Adult Protective services, Victim-Witness Assistance Program, Bet Tzedek Legal Services and the Office of the Public Guardian, meet weekly to review 2-4 cases such as Mrs. White’s.

Through support from Archstone Foundation and Unihealth Foundation as well as from CCF, the LACEAFC has secured the services of neuropsychologist Dr. Susan Bernatz.  Her involvement in the assessment of elder abuse cases has permitted the center to successfully prosecute more than 65 cases (16 cases still pending outcomes). In cases of physical abuse, the LAEAFC has increased the likelihood of successful prosecution by 300% while increasing the rate of prosecution in financial abuse cases by 9 times.

In short, Dr. Bernatz’ evaluations have become the cornerstone to the delicate work of determining whether an elder is cognitively capable of managing the situation they are in. When abuse has been established, the group works together to determine the best solution in order to help restore dignity and a quality of life worthy of the elder.

“The Los Angeles County Elder Abuse Forensic Center has been able to have a physician or neuropsychologist evaluate seniors who have been in abuse situations. As cognitive impairment is a risk factor for elder abuse, and

Dr. Homeier listens to the roundtable discussion.

evaluation of the victim is often crucial to understand their vulnerability and needs as well as to further investigate and prosecute the case. Our forensic neuropsychologist and her team have been instrumental in detecting cognitive impairment in many of our victims as well as reviewing medical records to determine the onset and extent of the impairment. These assessments have allowed the team to protect the victim, prosecute the abuser, and preserve the home/property or obtain restitution in many cases of financial abuse,” says Dr. Diana Homeier, director of LACEAFC.

The U.S. Administration on Aging’s National Center on Elder Abuse has cited studies suggesting that only one in 14 cases is reported to the proper authorities. With the multidisciplinary approach of the LACEAFC, the hope is that more cases will be reported and prosecuted.

The Los Angeles County Elder Abuse Forensic Center team.

Rose Veniegas is the health care program officer at California Community Foundation.

For more information about LACEAFC, please click here.

December 4, 2013 ~ 1 Comment

Pitch Perfect: Lessons Learned from Social Innovation Fast Pitch

New Earth founder, Harry Grammer at the conclusion of the Fast Pitch event.

By Yana Simone

At New Earth, we like to think we do good things. After all, our arts and education based mentorship programs that are designed to support teens transitioning from incarceration to life at home have yielded compelling results: Our recidivism rate is a mere 15% among 13-18 year olds while L.A. County has an 86% juvenile recidivism rate. We work with more than 700 youth per week in nine camps.

We also liked to think that we had a pretty good handle on how to communicate what we do here, until we began participating in the Social Innovation Fast Pitch competition and realized that many people were unclear about what we really do.

The Fast Pitch event is like speed dating in that each organization is given 3 minutes to demonstrate social impact, innovation and presentation efficacy in front of a panel of judges and an audience of our peers, donors and community members. The process leading up to the event is akin to marathon training: for two months we worked with our coaches to refine our message over and over again, until something clicked. We realized that what we needed to focus in on was our mission and that our best assets were the young people that we have worked with over the past ten years.

To give you an idea of how the Fast Pitch process helped to fine tune our messaging, here is our old mission statement: To offer artistic enrichment, educational programs and transition services that empower incarcerated and at-risk youth between the ages of 13-18 to begin a journey of self-discovery, releasing self-imposed and societal limits on their true potential.

Our new mission statement reads as follows: New Earth works with incarcerated youth to interrupt the patterns that lead them to becoming the next statistic. This is done through a series of innovative arts and educational based mentorship programs that nurture self-expression, stimulate positive growth and promote systemic change.

The new message has our organization’s name up front and center. It sets up the issue and provides our innovative solution. It ends on the note of systemic change, which is the ultimate goal of our organization.

At Fast Pitch, Alex, one of our students who was incarcerated for carrying a gun three years ago, gave a heartfelt account of how our program has led him from jail to college, and from guns to art. Our audiences want to hear from people whose lives we have changed. They want to connect a face with an issue; give them the opportunity by sharing those stories.

New Earth’s Harry Grammer and student Alex take in the moment at Fast Pitch.

After 30 minutes of intense, passionate and high-energy pitches in the shadow of the Shuttle Endeavour, the judges awarded our founder Harry Grammer the top prize, the $15,000 Judge’s Award. Additionally, Grammer received one of the Annenberg Audience Awards of $5,000, as selected via live text voting by the sold-out crowd of almost 600.

To find out more about New Earth, please click here or go to @newearthlife

To find out more about Social Venture Partners Fast Pitch, please click here

Yana Simone is the executive director of New Earth.

November 20, 2013 ~ 0 Comments

Delivering Care Where Care is Needed

More than 1,760 dental procedures were performed in 4 days

By Eva Brune, California Community Foundation

Earlier this month, CCF 2013 Unsung Hero Don Manelli and the Care Harbor team took over the Los Angeles Sports Arena and turned it into a clinic to deliver much-needed health services to close to 4,000 underserved and uninsured Angelenos. The preliminary data on the breakdown of services provided was impressive; the group delivered 2,730 medical procedures, 1,760 dental procedures and 1,293 vision procedures in just four days. Data is still being gathered on immunizations, women’s health screenings and preventive dentistry treatments provided at the event.

Perhaps more important than the number of procedures was the effort by the Care Harbor team to direct Angelenos to free or low-cost health care and coverage solutions as part of the overall health strategy at the clinic. Affordable Care Act education and enrollment specialists were on hand to help patients access the best coverage based on a series of 5- 6 key questions. More than 1,300 patients received consultations and 300 were enrolled in either Medi-Cal, CalFresh or Covered CA on the spot.

Also on hand were representatives from more than fifty community clinics. For patients who received diabetes, hypertension or other chronic or ongoing diagnoses, follow-up appointments were made with community clinics in their neighborhoods.

With a sophisticated wrist band system in place, patients did not experience the chaos and excruciating waits that are sometimes a part of emergency room care. For the patients who had short waits, the time was filled with educational opportunities. Patient education and consultations about dental hygiene, disaster preparedness, care-giver support and stress reduction were presented to the captive audiences.  Some 40 organizations provided prevention education resources.

According to Manelli, the idea of Care Harbor is to make a permanent change,  “This is not a glorified emergency room. While we do have the best physicians, dentists and all around care thanks to our volunteers, we are looking to provide people with preventative care and connect them to the coverage that they need to make that care sustainable.”

A patient selects eyeglass frames following an eye exam. More than 1,293 vision procedures were performed at Care Harbor 2013.

For many underserved Angelenos, finding healthcare solutions is overwhelming but Manelli sees Care Harbor as an opportunity to empower people, “Here people can take control of their health. We have simplified the insurance process, provide top notch care, but more importantly, we created an atmosphere of trust so that our patients feel comfortable coming in, getting the immediate care they need and then moving on to take care of themselves through follow-ups and preventive care.”

Care Harbor volunteer and representative of the Tzu Chi Buddhist Medical Foundation, Dr. Eugene Taw, skipped his organization’s twentieth anniversary to staff his organization’s mobile vision clinic and shared his view of the event, “I have found there is a good heart in America. Care Harbor is an example of that.”

Planning for the 2014 Care Harbor event is already underway. While the group feels it may have outgrown the Sports Arena, the main effort is to shore up the organization to be able to sustainably deliver effective care while continuing to refine the model. Other cities have already expressed an interest in hosting similar events while local partners are offering pro-bono services from designing innovative patient-tracking aps to promoting the event. The need for health care and education is great in Los Angeles, but innovative models such as Care Harbor are helping to define high-impact solutions.

If you would like more information about Care Harbor, please click here.

To read more about Don Manelli, please click here.