Pacific Palisades Woman’s Club Hands Out $38,000

The happiest place in Southern California on March 6 wasn’t Disneyland, but rather the Pacific Palisades Woman’s Club, where grant recipients shared $38,000 that will be used for worthwhile causes.

Representatives of the 25 community and charitable organizations that were recipients of the grants first were treated a spectacular display of desserts that included cupcakes, bars and cookies, before receiving checks.

Woman’s Club president Cathi Ruddy welcomed everyone and said,“I am in awe of the many people who volunteer and contribute to making Pacific Palisades a better community and by hearing their ideas and the results of their efforts. It is a privilege to support you.”

Grant committee chairperson Joanna Curtis explained that once grants were received, they were reviewed and presented to the board. The general membership voted on the amounts given each applicant.

“I was truly inspired by each organization both in reading their applications and their presentations at Grant Night,” said Curtis. “I love how the members of the Woman’s Club came together to raise money to support our local community through 25 projects that touch the lives of every Palisadian.”

Representatives from 25 different nonprofits located in or serving Pacific Palisades received grants from the Palisades Woman’s Club. Photo: Bart Bartholomew


David Williams accepted for the Pacific Palisades Chamber of Commerce and said funds would be used for the annual Holiday Ho! Ho! Ho! “This has been going on for at least 50 years and we need to keep it going.”

Andrew Frew and Williams accepted for Movies in the Park, which will start its 15th year and is free to all residents. They explained it costs $11,000 just to host one movie and noted “The Woman’s Club has kept us going.”

Annette Alexakis said the Pacific Palisades Art Association will use the money to buy a projector to use for their programs, which take place the fourth Tuesday of the month. Bob Harter and Erich Haas accepted for the Pali Community Center Committee and money will be used for the bocce courts. The Park Advisory Board needs to raise $200,000 before they can receive a $400,000 grant from the American Legion. The Palisades Americanism Parade Association, represented by outgoing president Daphne Gronich, incoming president Matt Rodman and board member Rich Wilken, accepted the check. “This will pay for youth activities at the fireworks,” Wilken said. “This is the 70th anniversary of the parade, the 40th anniversary of the fireworks and the 10th anniversary of the concert. We greatly appreciate your support.”

Jim Kirtley, Executive Director of the Palisades-Malibu YMCA, said “We have a new teen fitness program that gives them free training. It’s a big undertaking, but this [check] will help out.”

Allegra Clegg, owner of Westside School of Ballet, said that every year the school treats about 2,000 kids, including about 1,000 kids from the inner city, to see The Nutcracker Ballet Suite. “This [money] will help with a new backdrop,” Clegg, a Palisades resident, said.

Roberta Donohue, a member of the Will Rogers Ranch Foundation, said “This nonprofit is dedicated to keeping Will Rogers’ memory alive. This money will be used towards restoring the barn.”

Harter and Haas accepted a check for Your Palisades Park Improvement Corporation. “The preschool room needs refurbishing,” Haas said, calling the program the best-kept hidden secret in the Palisades. “If we wait on the city it could take another 20 years.”


District Executive for Crescent Bay Josh Bryan accepted the grant for the Boy Scouts of America. “The lodge at Camp Josepho is an awesome landmark,” he said. “We’ll use this to refurbish the doors.”

Accepting for Cub Scout Pack 223 was Charles Curtis. “Thank you to the PPWC,” he said. “This will be used for a visit from the reptile family, which will include ‘hissing’ cockroaches and a hundred-year-old tortoise.”

Kevin McNulty and Chris Baca represented Meals on Wheels and not not only thanked the Woman’s Club for the grant, but also for their volunteer efforts in delivering meals. “A big shout-out,” McNulty said. “These women put the ‘boots on the ground’ and deliver to their neighbors in the Palisades.”

The Pacific Palisades Task Force on Homelessness/OPCC grant was accepted by Doug McCormick, Barbara Overland and Sharon Browning. They expressed thanks and said that there were initially 65 encampments in the Palisades and as people moved out it was imperative to clean them out, in an effort to prevent others from moving in. There are 20 encampments left to be cleaned out and the grant will help pay for it.

Palisades Alliance for Seniors, which started three years ago as a way of offering seniors lecture/meetings, and companionship, has now become a nonprofit. According to one of the founders, Karen Stigler, the money will be used to try a new idea— a buffet luncheon in April.

Ceilia Bernstein, a longtime Palisadian and director of development at the West- side Family Health Center, said, “This will help us fund reproductive health services.”


The local elementary public schools will use the funds for programs that the district does not support. At Canyon and Palisades Elementary School, the money will be used for teaching kids how to garden and about nutrition. At Marquez the money will be used to support music classes in first and second grade.

At Paul Revere Charter Middle School, the money will be used to support the fourth annual student film festival. For more information, visit

St. Matthew’s Parish School will use the money for the Lucas Scholar Program, which will bring underserved students to the campus in the summer for a five-day program.

Better Angels works with underserved students at Palisades High School, offering them free standardized SAT test prep.


Malibu Orchid Society president Birute Ann Vileisis said “Orchids bring beauty to your life.” The club meets in the woman’s club building the third Tuesday of every month and its big fundraiser will be on March 20. The grant will help fund that event.

Palisades Garden Club president Diane Goldberg said that its grant will help them update the landscaping around the Pierson Playhouse. “Theatre Palisades is a wonderful cultural asset, which opened 30 years ago,” Goldberg said and reminded everyone that the club’s annual garden tour will be on April 22.

Accepting for Palisades Beautiful were Barbara Marinachi and Christine Doty. That money will go towards the school garden at Palisades Academy (alternative school below the PaliHi stadium).

Marge and Bob Gold accepted for the Village Green, which is a private pocket park off Sunset Boulevard and Swarthmore Avenue. The park receives no city funding or public funding. “This money will be used to take care of the pear trees,” Marge said.

The woman’s club, which is also in the process of renovating its 63-year-old clubhouse, raises the majority of its grant money through its annual Home Tour and Holiday Boutique. The club also sponsors the Palisades Halloween Window Painting Contest, the town’s 90th Birthday party, a town rummage sale and a free influenza clinic.

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