President’s Welcome 2019
Each year at this time I write a letter about our outreach at the Carrie Estelle Doheny Foundation. The past year Terry Seidler retired from the Board. Terry has been a Board member for 25 years and her values and wisdom have greatly contributed to what Doheny is today. Thank you Terry for your presence with us. I also want to welcome Mary Ann Murphy to the Board. Mary Ann is an educator with experience in Catholic Education and numerous involvements in our inner city.
The primary mission of the Carrie Estelle Doheny Foundation has been to assist organizations that serve and empower the Poor of our Communities. We provide funding to 95 Elementary and High Schools that serve our inner-city. These grants help schools with their challenging budgets. Most of these organizations are affiliated with the Archdiocesan Catholic Church. We also fund after-school tutoring, sport and counseling programs. One of my favorites is our summer Campership Program where the youth spend a week at camp. For many, it is their first experience in the mountains or the seashore.
For adults and families without resources, we support downtown shelters that allow people relief from the streets. Examples are Alexandria House, Downtown Women’s Center, and the Union Rescue Mission. These shelters are among those we fund that assist our city‘s homeless problem that challenges us all. We also support food banks, soup kitchens, and community centers. St. Francis Center, Meals on Wheels, and Westside Food Bank are important sources of food and meals for the hungry.
The last area I wanted to cover is Prison Ministry. Our jails and prisons incarcerate but fall short in the area of rehabilitation. Presently almost 90% of prisoners leaving our jails will return. The Los Angeles Archdiocesan Detention Ministry and the Jesuit Restorative Justice Initiative have programs that address this problem. Visiting people in prison, making relationships, and encouraging further education help those leaving prison to begin life again. Homeboy Industries has a program for 200 plus men and women that addresses mental health, addictions, and relationship rebuilding. This assists people to get healthy, rejoin their families, and to get a job. These ministries have helped many to live loving productive lives.
This year 93% of our grants will touch the lives of the “Poor.” Growing up and driving the freeways to school I had little awareness of life in the Projects of our inner city. It has been an eye-opening journey with those we serve. This goes beyond our empowerment of “Them.” The real grace was what They give to Us. Parents working two jobs to educate their children, children becoming first generation graduates of high schools and colleges, and adults restoring their lives are truly inspirational. Our board and staff share in this hope and love as we work together. We feel very fortunate as we keep the vision of Mrs. Doheny alive.
Robert A Smith III