By Jamie Johnson
The Foundation of Laguna Woods Village has been celebrating its 25th anniversary this year. The organization was founded in May 1997 and has been helping Village residents since then.
The silver anniversary is a celebration of the relationship between the foundation and the community, keeping alive the nonprofit’s motto, “Neighbors Helping Neighbors.”
“The most important feature of the Village is the sense of community, and the foundation strengthens the community by taking care of needier residents,” said Marcy Sheinwold, president of the foundation.
The foundation is a 501(c)3 nonprofit that financially assists residents who need extra help, for instance, with medical expenses and home utility bills. It is a “safety net for residents experiencing financial problems — it provides temporary emergency financial relief,” said Sheinwold, who has been working with the foundation for about eight years.
Over the past five years, the foundation has spent more than $1.2 million to help residents, she said, and over 95% of the funds go to services.
The foundation is the main funder for the Meals on Wheels program, an organization that delivers healthy meals to homebound older adults. Last year, the nonprofit helped fund over 80,000 such meals, Sheinwold said. Local food pantries also work closely with the foundation to ensure that those affected by low income or inflation have proper access to food and other services.
The foundation also provides medical alert devices, earthquake kits, transportation to local food pantries and more.
“Simply the fact that an entity like the foundation is here helps the community,” Sheinwold said. “Quite simply, it means that any resident confronting a financial emergency knows that there is a possibility of help.”
More recently, the foundation supported the Village’s COVID-19 vaccination efforts and helped fund a Fall Prevention Program in the Village.
The foundation’s board is run by volunteer Village residents, who work closely with Village Social Services to assess and establish who and what groups need help.
“The Foundation will hopefully grow to be more responsive to overall community needs and (will receive the) funding to ensure that growth will be provided,” Sheinwold said.
More information about the foundation’s achievements over the years, its fundraising efforts and ways to donate can be found on its website, foundationoflagunawoodsvillage.org.