The giving nature of the Coachella Valley is best seen in its hundreds of nonprofit organizations, volunteers, and benefactors dedicated to serving others and making an impact for the greater good. Collectively, they work to find cures, ease pain, and improve our quality of life — especially our most underserved communities.
At its 16th annual National Philanthropy Day in the Desert on Nov. 4, the Association of Fundraising Professionals’ California Desert Communities chapter will recognize six “philanthropic heroes who give so generously of their time, skills, talents, and financial support,” says National Philanthropy Day Day in the Desert event chairman Josh N. Zahid.
Since 2007, AFP has honored 88 individuals and organizations on National Philanthropy Day, according to the organization’s president, Kristin Bloomer. “Our members are committed to bringing forward the positive change necessary to build strong, vibrant, and healthy communities,” she says.
Outstanding Philanthropic Corporation
Justin and Lanay Berry grew up in the Coachella Valley and shaped their real estate business around their clients’ desire to aid local charities. Through Caritas Realty, they give 15 percent of their net commissions to their clients’ charities of choice. In Latin, caritas means “charity; love of humankind,” and this guiding value defines their mission. Their business has supported 30 causes as varied as Friends of the Palm Springs Animal Shelter, Mama’s House, Coachella Valley Autism Society, Martha’s Village, SafeHouse of the Desert, and the American Red Cross. Their donations exceeded $100,000 in five years by 2021.
One of the Coachella Valley’s most beloved philanthropists, Grundhofer died unexpectedly Aug. 28 in her Montana home. She and her late husband, Jack, moved to the Coachella Valley in 2000, with a passion for supporting local nonprofits with their wisdom and wealth.
Grundhofer was known for the countless hours and significant financial contributions she bestowed on Animal Samaritans, Mama’s House, Loma Linda University Children’s Hospital, AAP–Food Samaritans, Coachella Valley Symphony, United Way of the Desert, Joslyn Center, Eisenhower Desert Orthopedic Center, The Living Desert Zoo and Gardens, GirlFriend Factor, and others.
Outstanding Nonprofit Founder
Biggi founded Loving All Animals in 2008 after learning that the practice of euthanasia to control the animal population was rampant in Riverside County and throughout the country. She established partnerships with animal rescue organizations while sharing her goal of developing a “no kill” community.
She has created Super Pet Adoptions, launched spay and neuter clinics for stray dogs in migrant camps, and activated a Mobile Mutts limo to bring pet adopters to shelters. Having achieved her vision through dedication and tenacity, Biggi has saved the lives of countless animals and enriched the lives of the families who adopt them.
Outstanding Fundraising Volunteer
For more than 15 years, Westrick-Bomar has produced events, served on boards, and lent her marketing creativity to produce record-setting donations for local nonprofits. Her family inspired her desire to give back, and by age 9, she was performing in the March of Dimes shows to raise money for the Fight Against Polio.
Her career of working for the U.S. attorney’s office, leading a California attorney general’s campaign, and operating an executive search consulting firm gives her tremendous experience in helping to develop the fundraising events she supports, including Eisenhower Health Dolores Hope Auxiliary, McCallum Theatre Muses, ACT for MS, Loma Linda University Children’s Hospital, and Tools for Tomorrow.
BOYS & GIRLS CLUB OF CATHEDRAL CITY
Outstanding Youth in Philanthropy
More than 1,000 young adults have benefited from the Leaders in Training program since its launch 10 years ago at the Boys & Girls Club of Cathedral City. By focusing on skills and competencies necessary for success in today’s world, teens build self-confidence and gain work experience at local businesses while developing into aspiring leaders. Each year, 100 participants between the ages of 13 and 17 join the year-long program. They emerge with character values that prepare them for adulthood and inspire them to improve their community.
Outstanding Fundraising Professional
During his career in marketing communications, Daly volunteered at St. Vincent Meals on Wheels, where he helped launch Bone Appetit, a program that provides nutrition for pets of homebound seniors who were sharing their meals with their furry companions.
His genuine interest in helping others led him to the American Red Cross, Riverside County, where he has made a difference for local families since 2015. In his role as regional philanthropy officer, Daly also serves on the AFP board of directors as immediate past president and participates in the organization’s mentoring program.