Every fall we spotlight a selection of professionals who are allocating a portion of their time to contribute leadership on behalf of important philanthropic causes. Whether enriching others’ lives through their activities in community-building, education, or humanitarian causes, here are some executives worth emulating.
Principal, Cresa Los Angeles
Mi Casa de Angeles
Board Member & Proud Father
Founded in 2009 by Thousand Oaks, Calif. high school sophomore Gabriella Brignardello, Mi Casa de Angeles is dedicated to improving the quality of education in impoverished areas throughout Peru. After visiting the country and seeing the hardships that children her age endured every day, Gabriella was inspired to create a nonprofit that would address poverty, chronic malnutrition, and lack of education.
My daughter, Gabriella, had the vision and dream for this organization as early as 10 years old, and I’ve watched her bring her dream to life, raising more than $1M, turning her vision into a nonprofit.
On giving back
Being the father of a girl who as a high school sophomore launched a 501c3 organization and four years later is breaking ground on a school for underprivileged children in Peru, has taught me the value of giving back and the importance of going above and beyond, giving everything you can to those in need.
Seeing my daughter – at just 22 years old – graduate from Stanford while simultaneously bringing her dream to life and building a community library and a school in Peru for almost 100 students.
George H. Brown
Partner, Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP
Boys & Girls Club of Metro Los Angeles
Vice Chair, Acting Board Chair, Executive Committee
Formed in 2015 when four area clubs (Willowbrook, Challengers, Bell Gardens, and Nickerson Gardens) merged, Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Los Angeles (BGCMLA) has a new CEO (see p. 60). Promoting academic success, healthy lifestyles, and good character, Boys & Girls Clubs of America was founded in 1860.
Since inception (December 2015)
I am a National Trustee for Boys and Girls Clubs of America (BGCA), and my law firm volunteered to handle numerous mergers and acquisitions for the BGCA Movement, on a pro bono basis. When a strategic decision was made to launch Boys & Girls Club of Metro Los Angeles to bring together several historical clubs to achieve scale and impact, I was asked to become its first board member, and happily agreed.
On Giving Back
We positively impact our communities when each of us contributes our skills, resources, and influence to make positive change. Changing life trajectories of our neediest youth makes our community more resilient.
Seeing two historic clubs (Watts and Challengers) and their boards make the bold decision to consolidate with Metro LA to help create the new organization has been a great accomplishment.
CEO & Roustabout, Two-Bit Circus
Dedicated to rescuing “waste” materials from manufacturers, T4T believes that certain trash is actually treasured by teachers, students, and artists. Rather than landfills, T4T turns these materials into inexpensive tools to support STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, mathematics) education.
Two years (one as president)
I first connected with (T4T.org Executive Director) Leah Hanes as we launched our STEAM Carnival. T4T had meaningful integration across our event and we started talking about more ways to collaborate.
On Giving Back
I’m a huge believer in the Japanese concept of Ikigai. It’s not enough to just make money. The world has a lot of hard problems that don’t respond to a business model and need philanthropy to help solve. Mentorship and learning are particular passions of mine.
Watching students in the huge creation zone at our carnival building a huge range of cardboard attractions from games to animals. It was incredible to watch the frenzy of creation.
CEO & Founder, BlackLine
California Community Foundation
Board of Directors
Driven by a desire to find long-term, systemic solutions addressing the root causes of the most pressing issues facing Los Angeles County, California Community Foundation (CCF) has granted more than $200M since 2000, helping to transform entire communities. Offering support in the arts, education, health care, and housing and neighborhoods, CCF celebrated its centennial in 2015.
My initial involvement was via an invitation from Tom Unterman, Chairman of the Board of the California Community Foundation (CCF) and BlackLine board member. What captured my interest is that CCF understands that many charities are small and don’t have the business knowledge on how to raise and utilize funds efficiently. CCF has a broad view on all the different nonprofits in the Los Angeles area and how the nonprofit landscape is organized and overlaps in a way that no other organization does. This allows them to work very strategically!
On Giving Back
All that we have is due to the grace of God and gratitude for our abundance is acknowledged and expressed through giving back.
Visiting charities that CCF is actively involved with and hearing the testimonials of people whose lives have been changed by those charities.