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Charities Join List of Needy : The weak economy forces social service organizations to find more creative ways to raise money. Some fear donations may never return to pre-recession levels.

June 12, 1992|MICHAEL ARKUSH | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Later this month, a Valley-based service organization will hold a golf and tennis tournament to raise money.

Normally, that is not a news bulletin. Staging a sports outing to support charities is common.

But these are not normal times. It is the Girl Scouts who are putting the tournament together. As the recession lingers and needs increase, cookies and calendars are no longer enough to subsidize the wide range of activities the organization sponsors for girls and young women.

"We need to broaden our scope," said Shelley Hammill, director of fund development for the San Fernando Valley Girl Scout Council, which is holding the event June 30 at the Sunset Hills Country Club in Thousand Oaks. "Things have changed."

The Girl Scouts are not alone. To compensate for the recession that has forced cutbacks in government funding and private donations, many social service organizations based in the San Fernando Valley must scramble to find new ways to raise money. And increased competition for dwindling resources among charity groups makes the task even more difficult.

For the Record
Los Angeles Times Friday June 19, 1992 Valley Edition VA Page 24 Zones Desk 1 inches; 30 words Type of Material: Correction
Photo Location--The caption accompanying a picture of United Way Vice President Patricia Murar in the June 12 Valley Life section had an incorrect location. The photograph was taken at the YWCA in San Fernando.

"Everybody is out there trying to increase their slice of the pie," said Patricia Murar, vice president of the North Angeles Region United Way in Van Nuys, which funds 61 Valley agencies.

Murar contends that local organizations may never fully recover from the effects of the recession. Due to cutbacks in the aerospace industries, which employed a lot of their donors, Murar said United Way puts more effort into smaller companies. "You have to identify the types of businesses that are doing well and go after them," she said.

But there is no magic formula. In 1990-91, Murar said, United Way raised $3.35 million from regionally based small companies; in 1989-90, the agency collected $4.6 million from similar sources. Small companies are considered to be those with 500 or fewer employees.

The situation is often more discouraging for groups smaller than United Way. According to Pat Kealy, president of Better Valley Services in North Hollywood, which aids homeless and disadvantaged families, fund raising has become "next to impossible." Kealy said his organization used to hold charity dances that raised about $10,000 but no longer attracted corporations willing to help sponsor them. To reduce overhead, the group has resorted to rummage sales that raise only $1,000 to $2,000 apiece.

Somehow, groups must find ways to operate with limited resources, Murar said. United Way, for instance, has begun shifting its emphasis to preventive programs. The agency may target more funds to educate single mothers to become better parents to avoid spending money later on drug rehabilitation programs. Another possibility is immunization for preschool children instead of eventually paying exorbitant hospital fees.

Sometimes a change in programs isn't sufficient. Over the last two years, Better Valley Services has cut its staff in half, from eight to four full-time workers--and the situation might get worse.

"From day to day, the staff doesn't know whether they will have a job next month," Kealy said. "I've already told them more layoffs are possible June 30. We're down to a lot of volunteers."

For now, the Women's Care Cottage in Van Nuys, which provides shelter for homeless women and their children, won't lay off any personnel, according to Cynthia Caughey, its executive director. But its four full-time workers have received vacation time instead of significant cost-of-living increases.

This summer, the group will embark on a major fund-raising effort that it hopes will raise $200,000. Caughey explained that it wants to pay for child-care services so women can find jobs.

But raising funds will not be easy.

"Fund raising used to be a hodgepodge of hit and miss," Caughey said. "That can't be the way anymore. We have to start looking at it as a science."

Organizations

The Executives' Assn. of the San Fernando Valley, a regional chapter of an international business networking organization, will hold its third annual golf tournament today at Knollwood Country Club, 12040 Balboa Blvd., Granada Hills. The tournament, which begins at 11 a.m., features a Texas Scramble format with teams consisting of four people each. Registration costs $65 per person and includes a golf cart and the tournament dinner 6 p.m. at the club. Call (818) 703-6161.

American Red Cross volunteer instructors teach cardiopulmonary resuscitation and first aid courses throughout Southern California on an ongoing basis. Courses are available on an individual, group or corporate-sponsored basis. Call the nearest chapter of the American Red Cross or the Los Angeles chapter at (213) 739-5262 for more information.

The American Cancer Society Discovery Shop, 23132 Valencia Blvd., Valencia, will holdan open house from 7 to 9 p.m. Wednesday. Visitors will learn about volunteer opportunitiesat the shop. Call Lisa Cohen at (805) 287-9088.

The Marianne Frostig Center Auxiliary's sixth annual fund-raising celebration, featuring Jiminy Cricket and other characters from "Pinocchio," will be held Sunday at Walt Disney Studios in Burbank. The event will include a screening of the 1940 Disney classic, buffet lunch, games, rides and the opportunity to meet and be photographed with Disney characters. Admission is $50, $25 children 2 to 16, children under 2 are free. Reservations required. Proceeds will benefit the Marianne Frostig Center of Educational Therapy in Pasadena. Call (818) 791-1255.

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