The Association of Fundraising Professionals CA, Desert Communities chapter recognized six valley humanitarians at its 16th annual National Philanthropy Day in the Desert (NPD) on Nov. 4.
Chairman Josh N. Zahid underscored their individual efforts: “NPD honors our philanthropic heroes who give so generously of their time, skills, talents and financial support to develop a positive shift necessary to build strong, vibrant and healthy communities.”
Emcee Patrick Evans from KESQ welcomed the sold-out crowd of 600. First to be recognized was Outstanding Fundraising Professional Brian Daly whose comments exuded the spirit of the event. “Everybody in this room is changing the world with giving hearts,” he said. “We are all making a positive impact through L-O-V-E.”
Daly’s nonprofit career began with St. Vincent Meals on Wheels, where he launched the Bone Appetit program to feed pets of homebound seniors. Since 2015, Daly has served as regional philanthropy officer for the American Red Cross, Riverside County, where he makes a meaningful difference for local families every day.
Boys & Girls Club of Cathedral City Leaders in Training (LIT) accepted the honor of Outstanding Youth in Philanthropy. The LIT program has guided more than 1,000 teens to adopt character values to improve their community. Last year, LIT worked with Toyota engineers to build mobility vehicles for children with lower extremity disabilities. Featuring hand-operated gas buttons and a safety harnesses, the six vehicles were gifted to United Cerebral Palsy and Variety - the Children’s Charity.
Ramiro Inda and Christy Quintanilla attended on behalf of the 100 teens in the program. “I would have never dreamed in a million years that my friends and I could make a vehicle to help and excite other children,” Inda said.
Named Outstanding Philanthropic Corporation, Caritas Realty is led by Justin and Lanay Berry who aid local charities by redistributing 15% of their net commissions to their clients’ charity of choice. In Latin, "caritas" means “charity; love of humankind,” and this guiding value defines their mission. Their business with a purpose has donated $150,000 to support 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 American Red Cross.
“Every charity we have donated to has changed us,” Justin said. “We look forward to contributing more to our valley’s most important resources.”
CJ Westrick-Bomar Esq. was commended Outstanding Fundraising Volunteer, saying: “I want to applaud all the volunteers here, you deserve this award for the remarkable work that you do.”
For 15 years, Westrick-Bomar has tirelessly produced events, served on boards and lent her marketing creativity to yield record-setting donations for local nonprofits. Her family inspired her lifelong desire to give back, and she began performing in March of Dimes shows at age 9 to raise money for the fight against polio. Westrick-Bomar has supported Tools for Tomorrow, Eisenhower Health Dolores Hope Auxiliary, McCallum Theatre Muses, ACT for MS and Loma Linda University Children’s Hospital.
High praise and loving accolades rose from friends of Lindi Biggi upon her introduction as Outstanding Nonprofit Founder. Overwhelmed with emotion, Biggi asked the crowd: “If you have room in heart and your home to give love to a foster animal who really needs love, please do so. And also, be prepared to be a ‘foster failure,’ as I have been 18 times!”
Biggi founded Loving All Animals in 2008 after learning that the practice of euthanasia to control the animal population was rampant throughout Riverside County. With her ambitious goal of developing a “no-kill” community, she formed partnerships with animal rescue organizations, created super pet adoptions, established spay and neuter clinics for stray dogs in migrant camps and transported pet adopters to shelters in a Mobile Mutts limo. Vision achieved, Biggi has saved the lives of thousands of animals and has enriched the lives of the families who adopt them.
A moving tribute to Patti Grundhofer, recognized posthumously as Outstanding Philanthropist, was presented by her friends Jan Ray, Dennis Flaig-Moore, Zahid, Kristin Bloomer and Jan Hawkins.
Described as vivacious, passionate, gregarious, sincere and a loyal animal lover, Grundhofer donated intentionally, getting involved with each project. Her boundless generosity supported 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 and The Girlfriend Factor, among others.
NPD Sponsors included Learning Different Alliance, Jack Alotto and Dale Smith, H.N. & Frances C. Berger Foundation, Peggy Cravens, Create Center for the Arts, Saks Fifth Avenue, Bank of America, Biggi, Desert Care Network, Eisenhower Health, Hot Purple Energy, Joslyn Center, Loma Linda University Health, Regional Access Project Foundation.
A special thanks go to exclusive TV Media sponsor KESQ News Channel 3, magazine and virtual media sponsor Palm Springs Life and newspaper and digital media sponsor The Desert Sun and LOCALiQ.
Theresa Maggio is the business development director of The Competitive Advantage, a full scope business development and revenue generation marketing firm in Palm Desert. She proudly serves as the PR writer for the Association of Fundraising Professionals CA, Desert Communities Chapter.
This article originally appeared on Palm Springs Desert Sun: National Philanthropy Day celebrates valley gamechangers